Most conferences come into town like a hurricane and have no interest in creating a space that is safe or accessible for all. It’s mainly a get whatever you can get model and be satisfied with it. Complaints might be noted but are never really improved on.
AlterConf is aiming to change that and raise the bars for how conferences are held. They provide safe opportunities for marginalized people in tech and gaming industries and those in the community that want to offer their support. It is their hope that by shining a spotlight on voices less heard and fostering positive initiatives from community members, it will help pave the road for communities to create safer and healthier spaces for everyone in that community.
Sessions focus on deeper conversations about the topics presented and will offer a range of speakers delivering their personal views and critical analyses of tech and gaming culture. Philly Geek of the Year 2015 award winner, Ather Sharif, has submitted to be a speaker for AlterConf. And if you’re interested in being a speaker, you can submit an idea for a topic as well. Don’t worry if you’ve never led a talk at an event before, one of the amazing aspects of the conference is that they will provide the support to help you work on your presentation.
Philadelphia is still in the early planning stages of having it’s own AlterConf, which is being hosted by Ashe Dryden, a programer, diversity advocate, author, and community organizer. But thanks to the ambitious Angie Hilem of Heighten Social, who is an ambassador for the Philadelphia chapter, this conference could be prove to be an astounding success. In her daily work, she bridges the gap between the good a company is doing and the world that should know about it, so she’s a perfect fit for AlterConf.
The conference is looking for help in various areas to make it happen. The site says applications are due by February 5, 2016 by 12:00 AM but this will be pushed back.
They need to find a venue that is accessible to people of various disabilities, near public transportation, includes captioning and signing services, has designated all gender bathrooms, has a menu that everyone can order from, and offers free child care.
They need freelance photographers, bloggers, and sketchnoters. All work will be paid for and you don’t need to be professional to apply, just a strong interest in sharing your skills for a great event. AlterConf strongly believes in supporting marginalized people who are often assumed to take on unpaid work for the experience.
They also need volunteers to help ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved.
As soon as AlterConf is a reality in Philadelphia, tickets for the event will be pay-what-you-can from $0 – $100. The conference does not make a profit, all money made from this event will be given back to the community.
Want AlterConf to happen in the city of brotherly love? Visit AlterConf to submit an application. We can’t wait to see what the Philadelphia community brings to the table. Also check out their site to see previous AlterConf’s to get an idea of what speakers in other cities have brought up.