[FOSDEM] encouraging diversity

Deb Nicholson deb at eximiousproductions.com
Sun Nov 1 17:50:10 CET 2015

Hi Daniel,

> It is all very well to talk about the Code of Conduct and negative
> situations, but what about approaching things from the other direction,
> creating positive situations?

I like your idea of pushing from the positive side at the same time.

> Does FOSDEM have any policies, resources or budget to actively encourage
> participation from people who are not white males, for example, to pay
> travel grants for female speakers?

If funding is available or can be found, I believe it makes sense to
publicize those opportunities here.

> Does anybody keep track of any third-party sources of funding that could
> be helpful for bringing speakers and participants from groups that are
> under-represented?  I've heard that Google offers some funding for
> example[1] and it would be good to encourage women to apply for this.
> Some other ideas that come to mind:
> - Offering some sort of public speaking seminar, aimed mainly at people
> from such groups who haven't had a lot of experience, on the Friday
> before FOSDEM.
> - Pairing first time speakers with an experienced mentor some time ahead
> of the event.
> - Offering some kind of reward to the dev-room that does the most to
> encourage diversity (e.g. giving the dev-room a guaranteed place or
> bigger room for 2017 or giving the dev-room managers input on a
> main-track selection in the following year)

A low-cost way that each dev room could consider to make sure that first
time speakers 1) know they are welcome and 2) receive a bit of support is
to run IRC office hours to help people with their submissions. We did this
at SeaGL (http://seagl.org/news/2015/07/15/IRC.html) and it helped us
attract new speakers and get more submissions that were better suited for
our event. All you need is an IRC channel, a shared email address and a few
volunteers who can help potential speakers with their submissions.


> Regards,
> Daniel
> 1.
> https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/edu/scholarships/google-travel-and-conference-grants/
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