The power of convening to build community is immeasurable. To broaden the ocean exploration community, Open Ocean held events at several scales to bring together groups and individuals who may not have interacted previously, and who have historically been excluded from the field.
Open Ocean hosted two major events at the Media Lab in 2018, Here Be Dragons and the 2018 National Ocean Exploration Forum: All Hands on Deck. Both events included panel discussions, as well as hands-on demonstrations and workshops focused on engaging participants more fully than speakers alone. The connections that were made during these events have indeed transformed the community, some stories of which have been documented in the All Hands on Deck Report.
In 2019, the Open Ocean Seminar Series was convened in person to introduce deep sea exploration topics to MIT Media Lab students. In 2020, the series quickly became virtual due to COVID-19, a change that allowed us to invite a broader community of people from around the world. We also shifted our focus to discuss new technologies, deep sea issues, and capacity building approaches for deep sea exploration.