While in Washington DC last July, I had the very great pleasure of attending AdaCamp
, an unconference* about women in open technology and culture organized by the Ada Initiative
. AdaCamp was a real eye-opener. It was thrilling to meet dozens of other people who were interested in fan/remix culture as part of a broader (conscious or unconscious) movement towards open culture, and I walked away with so many ideas that it kind of made my head explode and I still haven't gotten past part one of my conference write-up
In short, it was fantastic, not in the least because the organizers had explicitly invited people from fannish backgrounds and created a very welcoming atmosphere. That enabled us to launch right into talking about fan culture and open stuff without any of the non-fannish people questioning whether we belonged at a "techie" unconference. Any fan who's even vaguely interested in open stuff should have the opportunity to attend an event like this. Your head will explode and it will feel great.
Fortunately for all of us, the Ada Initiative is holding a donation drive
right now to bolster their long-term finances so they can organize more AdaCamps in as many different locations as possible. DC was the second AdaCamp. The first took place in Melbourne, and the organizers are hoping to branch out to Europe and India.
Holding AdaCamp in such disparate locations is the only way to really attract the sort of diversity that the Ada Initiative says it wants to achieve. There were travel grants to help attendees with the costs for AdaCamp DC, but even then, the number of such grants is always limited and they're rarely sufficient to allow people from truly far away to reach the conference. I only managed to attend because I was a panelist at another conference in Boston and my plane ticket to the US was already paid.
I'll be living in Europe next year and I want to go to AdaCamp
If you can, please consider donating
so AdaCamp can happen somewhere near you. You want to go!
I'll post again when the next edition is announced. Donating is absolutely not required if you want to attend, by the way, and they'll waive the conference fee if it's keeping you from participating.
*An unconference is a conference where attendees decide what they want to talk about on the spot instead of speakers arriving with prepared remarks. The format has its downsides, but it's wonderful for making everyone feel enough at ease to contribute what they want to say.
**In general, the more energized I am by something, the less capable I am of sitting down and writing about it. In related news, I've decided to put data gathering and analysis on the back burner for a few months and work on communicating better about my research. Yeah.