Working towards inclusivity


Edcamps are a relatively new phenomenon. (If you're still wondering what all the fuss is about, this post by M.E. Steele-Pierce should help. The videos and resources on the edcamp.org site are pretty great as well.)

Because they are participant-driven, these gatherings represent opportunities for growth and connection that may not always exist at a more traditionally organized, hierarchical conference.

And yet.

Unless we are intentional and deliberate in our work, we run the risk of creating spaces that duplicate previous limitations.

Help us make upcoming edcamps the best that they can be by adding your thoughts about how to create a genuinely inclusive edcamp environment.
Nothing is missing. You just haven't added it yet.

Planning/Organization:
Seek a diversity of perspectives and experiences when reaching out to would-be presenters/facilitators.
Consider the barriers to participation that might be inherent in your chosen space or time frame. Do what you can to lower those barriers. Be clear with potential attendees about the barriers that remain despite your best efforts.
Read post-event reflections from other events.
Think about what you would want your #diversityscorecard to look like at the end of your event (thank you, @arvind& @TheJLV)... then work backwards.

Promotion:
Think critically about who you're reaching out to as you invite participants.
Are there channels of communication available to you that you're not using?
Are there existing groups of folks who have expressed an interest in education in the region that you're not connecting to?

Opening remarks:
Will your edcamp start with some "housekeeping" notes? What kinds of guidelines will you offer attendees in terms of their participation? Will you encourage folks to employ "the rule of two feet"? Will participants be encouraged to speak to their own practice, and from their own experience? What else?

Backchannel radar:
During the event, can participants be assured that someone on the organizing team will be "listening" for any challenges/ concerns that arise?

Might there be organizers who would be willing to take on an explicit "listening shoulder" role during the event?

Often a small group of people dominate the questions. How should we (or should we at all) encourage diversity amongst the "asking" group? (via @arvind)

See also the NEA's Diversity Toolkit page.
Read Susan Schardt's piece on "Serving the Whole Public" (Susan Schardt is the executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio)

Check out Erica Mauter's (aka @swirlspice on Twitter) great collection here:
http://swirlspice.com/how-to-ensure-a-diverse-tech-event/

And see this post from @GeorgeOnline:
Proposal: Inclusion = 1 part yack, 2 parts hack

Look at the work others have done in this space... for example, here's @sljournal's statement on diversity and inclusion:

Our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientation.

To that end, we're actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors through our in-house development of events, open calls for proposals, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve.

This is an ongoing process. We are talking to our program chairs and committees, participants, and organizations about this goal and how they might help us achieve it. Here are some ways you can help us build a more diverse event experience:

• Recommend appropriate speakers and/or program committee members to the event organizers

• Before the event, encourage potential session facilitators to consider proposing a session

• Suggest ways that the on-site experience can be more welcoming and supportive, free from intimidation and marginalization (email us at slj@mediasourceinc.com)

• Share your ideas and best practices for how we can realize our vision (email slj@mediasourceinc.com)

We value diversity in the communities we bring together, and we welcome your contributions to bringing balanced representation of the richness of our collective human experience.


Final section derived from a conference diversity statement licensed by O’Reilly Media, Inc. under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.