Dewey award – thanks and puzzlement

Like Chip, my friend and co-organizer of SaveMuniWireless.org I was one of ten nominees for the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, which is given out annually at the SXSW festival. This year’s winner was Roger Steele, for his work at Manchaca Elementary School.
The award nomination was gratifying but rather puzzling. I received a cryptic email message explaining to come to a room at SXSW at 4pm on Monday. The biographical information they had was partial and not-quite-correct. There was moving memorial testimony about Dewey Winburne, and nominees were called up to receive plaques.
I am glad that Austin makes the effort to find and reward people who are doing community service. People like Chip embody an ethic of community service that is distinctive and good about Austin.
If the group organizing the awards wants to strengthen community service in Austin, perhaps they could organize get-togethers where current and past nominees can meet, network, and find opportunities to bolster their work.
Perhaps there could be a website to highlight community projects on an ongoing basis. If there are common interests, perhaps a Yahoo group or forum could provide ongoing communication.
I have no idea who organized the awards, so I’m not even sure where to forward these suggestions.

3 thoughts on “Dewey award – thanks and puzzlement”

  1. “I’m honored,” she said, “puzzled and very possibly, somewhere deep in my psyche, slightly annoyed, yet honored nonethelsess.”
    And the crowd roared. 🙂
    Congratulatons, in any event. I’m amazed anybody understands what you do to award you for it, but having watched you singlehandedly beat back scores of corporate lobbyists on behalf of the public good — it was evildoers from the motion picture lobby, in 2003, before SW Bell ever thought about banning muni wireless — I can attest that you deserve any public service award proffered your way, and much more.
    Buena suerte, amiga,
    Scott

  2. The Dewey Windburne awards are part of SXSW, so comments and suggestions should go to Hugh Forest (hugh at sxsw dot com).
    Dewey was the driving force behind SXSW Interactive. He worked at the American Institue for Learning, where he taught teenagers what now would be called “digital skills”. He produced an addiction laserdisc which won awards and garnered national attention. One award was at the Intermedia Conference in 1993 in San Jose. That year, a small Austin company called Human Code also won an award for their work with NASA. This was in the early ’90’s, when everyone was reading New Media Magazine and trying to decide between Mondo2000 and Wired, before the Mosaic browser.
    Unfortunately, Dewey died of an overdose while sniffing glue in the mid-90’s, whether or not it was intentional is open to debate. It was tragic and we all lost a great friend. This was before the dot com growth in Austin.
    If he was living, I’m sure he’d be blogger, podcaster, and/or video blogger. He was a connector and everyone in town knew him. Dr. Kozemetsky gave him an office in the Technology Incubator and would meet with him every Friday to pick his brains.
    Award candidates are nominated by people in the industry, so someone knew of your work.
    Joel

  3. Hey Adina!

    Funny — I was googling around trying to find a list or some kind of press release about this year’s Dewey Award, and I find this post. (I nominated someone this year, and saw Chip at the ceremony.)

    So, yeah, it’s a scrappy little award for a scrappy little community.
    😉

    Another person who’s usually involved is Monica Roesch, who posted calls for nominations this year on Refresh Austin (Google group).

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