So many people I talked to over the last few days at the outstanding Tech Inclusion conference came away wanting more, more, more. After going to a diversity-friendly conference like this, it’s reallllly hard to go back to the typical overwhelmingly-male, overwhelmingly-white tech conference where the myth of meritocracy rules and social issues are off the table. The good news is that there we’re starting to see more and more conferences with a similar attitude and feel.
So here’s a short list of other conferences that you might also enjoy. None of these are exactly the same as Tech Inclusion, but they’ve all got the same inclusive, positive energy and sense of excitement. Check ’em out – and if you’ve got other recommendations, please leave them in the comments or tweet them to me at @jdp23!
Alterconf (“Let’s talk about Diversity and Inclusion) is a traveling conference series organized by Ashe Dryden that provides safe opportunities for marginalized people and those who support them in the tech and gaming industries. The next one is in New York in December; stay tuned for more cities in 2017. The list of past speakers (with video available for many of the talks), gives an idea of the outstanding range of topics.
Open Source Bridge (“the conference for Open Source Citizens”) is a 100% volunteer-run conference that’s been going strong since 2009 with a very strong diversity focus. Held in Portland, typically in mid-June. It’s more focused on development and design than some of the other conferences, with a lot of discussion of community organizing and the business of open source as well.
Lesbians Who Tech (“The Community of Queer Women In & Around Tech (and the people who love them)”) has a San Francisco Summit in late February, and a New York event in September. One of the highlights of last year’s event included a discussion with Edie Windsor, who in addition to being the plaintiff in a key marriage equality case is a former programmer and manager at IBM! There’s also an excellent hula hoop competition.
Open Source and Feelings, in Seattle in July, is about the intersection between software and the humanities, how we engage with the communities we’re a part of, and the deliberative crafting of culture into what we want it to be. Nicole Sanchez’ opening keynote on inclusion got this year’s conference off to a fine start, and Tammarrian Rogers talk on how to contribute to projects without coding was another highlight.
Women Who Tech‘s Startup Challenge is a pitch competition, with an innovative crowdfunding aspect. The first one was held in San Francisco this June; winners included Sirum, Blendoor, ClearVest, Entry Point VR, and bluDiagnostics. Applications are opening in November for the Women Startup Competition Europe.
Also published on Medium.