This is a contributed post by participants in the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC) Unconference.

Read our prior posts in the series:

 

Diverse & Inclusive Events and Conferences

Written by Kasia Rachuta

At the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC) Unconference in November 2017 in New York, one of the topics that came up was organizing inclusive and diverse events and conferences. How to organize such an event? Is there a checklist? Is it hard? We decided to build on work begun by the NumFOCUS DISC Committee creating a cookbook for organizing inclusive and diverse events, with the aim of encouraging and supporting such events.

You might be tempted to think that organizing diverse events is difficult, and we are aware that for a first-time organizer, the prospect may be overwhelming. That’s why we marked some of the items in the cookbook as “low-hanging fruit” (red apple emoji 🍎)) — things that have relatively high impact with low effort. We also marked high impact items (green tick box ✅ ) that take more effort to implement.  Not every suggestion needs to be implemented — a steady improvement from past practices with a goal of moving towards greater inclusion over time is good progress.  

Not every suggestion needs to be implemented — a steady improvement from past practices with a goal of moving towards greater inclusion over time is good progress.  

It is worth noting that this cookbook will help you organize a diverse and inclusive event, but it isn’t necessarily a guide to organizing a good event. We don’t talk about budgeting, scheduling tracks or A/V capabilities. We also include links to other resources that may help you.

Our guidebook attempts to touch on all aspects of diverse events, as follows:

 

Organizing committee

This is where diversity starts! Without a diverse organizing committee, making an event diverse and inclusive may be more difficult.

Venue Selection & On-Site Services

This section talks about considering people with mobility issues as well as disabilities;