Conferences 2017

We salute those type conference organisers who decided to use their 2017 chapter as an opportunity to improve their speakers lists towards gender equality and we can’t wait to see this dedication inspire the ones that are still failing to keep pace.

In order of percentage of female speakers:

59% Ultrafett, DE – Bielefeld (c)
56% Typism, AU – Gold Coast (c)
54% (+4%) Typographics, US – New York City (c)
50% (+10%) Encontro de Tipografia Conference, PT – Faro (c+p)

49% (+6%) TypeCon, US – Boston (c+p)
46% (+8%) Rencontres Internationales de Lure, FR – Lurs (c)
44% FEED (Foro de Edición e Deseño), ES – Santiago de Compostela (c)
43% ESAD, Everyday Reading, FR – Amiens (c)
34% (–2%) ATypI, CA – Montréal (c+p)
33% Dia Tipo, BR – Curitiba (c)
33% FURE – Future of Reading, DE – Muenster (c)
32% ISType, TR – Istanbul (c)
31% (–2%) BITS, TH – Bangkok (c)
31% Tipografilia, MX – Ciudad de México (c)
29% (–6%) TYPO Berlin, DE – Berlin (c+p)
29% (+5%) Granshan, AM – Yereven (p)
26% Typo Day, IN – Sri Lanka (p)
25% Face/Interface, US – Stanford (c+p)
25% Typotage, DE – Leipzig (c)
24% AGI Open, FR – Paris (c)
22% Dia Tipo, BR – Rio de Janeiro (c)
22% Letrástica, MX – Guadalajara (c)
21% Dia Tipo, BR – Brasilia (c)
17% Typo Day, DE – Hamburg (c)
17% (+7%) TYPO Labs, DE – Berlin (c+p)
13% (0%) Kerning, IT – Faenza (c)
8% Typetersburg, RU – St. Petersburg (c)

[This list is not exhaustive but a crop from the conferences we attended. If you know of one that’s missing, feel free to add it in the comments. For the %%%, we counted the persons listed on the speaker pages of the respective conferences. Changes from the previous year are in brackets, for the conferences that were part of our 2016 tally. The conference organizers’ speaker selection process is also noted: (c) Curated; (p) Proposal-based; (c+p) Curated and proposals.]

If you don’t find your conference in the healthy top section, not all is lost. Karolina Szczur compiled a very handy list of New Year’s resolutions for tech conference organisers. We whole-heartedly agree with Karolina’s list, and wanted to share her ideas, with a few small alterations, with the type conference community:

1. Start inviting more fresh voices. It’s fine to have a curated event with well-established speakers. This can be balanced with new people who also have great ideas and vast knowledge, instead of setting an exclusionary precedent of fame and exposure.

2. Resist the urge to speak at your own conference. Having committee members as speakers gives the impression of a biased selection process.

3. Be very clear about the Call for Speakers process: How to apply, when deadlines are, and what speaker reimbursements include. People who cannot afford to travel are driven away by lapses in transparency. Example: 2018.cssconf.com.au/call-for-speakers

4. Bring conference costs down by offering a range of sponsorship benefits such as: diversity tickets, speaker sponsorships, recording, audio, et cetera. Ask sponsors for scholarship tickets. They will agree more often than you think. Run an opportunity program for underrepresented groups and those who can’t attend without financial help. Challenge the status quo of who can be in type. Example: 2018.jsconfau.com/scholarship

5. Make your event as accessible as possible. Often it doesn’t cost much. Invest in transcription, accessible venues, gender-neutral bathrooms, pumping and family rooms, and be sensitive to dietary needs. Have an accessibility statement. Example: 2018.jsconfau.com/accessibility

6. Research, write, and enforce your own Code of Conduct. Using a ready-made one can be more dangerous than not having one at all. It is important to be familiar with your own practices. Consider designating one or two approachable organizers as points of contact for attendees who may wish to report a problem. Designate an anonymous reporting box for attendees who may feel uncomfortable reporting problems face-to-face. Read: medium.com/@fox/when-a-code-of-conduct-becomes-harmful-1d4e737ff7aa

Organizers have the power to set tone for the collective culture. You can do something to make your conference more inclusive, reach a wider audience, and have a greater impact on the community.

2 Comments Conferences 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.