AlterConf lands in Dublin for online diversity discussion

3 Aug 2016

At just two years old, AlterConf – which promotes inclusivity online – has already become an international movement, with Dublin next on its list.

Created by programmers disillusioned with how little progress was being made in creating a safe space for techies and gamers online, AlterConf’s popularity has proven remarkable.

With events coming up in Cape Town and New York, 6 August will see the ‘travelling conference’ descend on Dublin’s DogPatch Labs for its first Irish event.

Future Human


Life online

Providing safe opportunities for marginalised people and those who support them in the tech and gaming industries, AlterConf’s series of talks from the likes of Anna Wilson, Alyssa Ross, Ariane van der Steldt and creator Ashe Dryden deal with the full scope of life online.

By highlighting the powerful voices and positive initiatives of local community members, the event aims to build hope and strengthen the community’s resolve to create safer, healthier spaces for everyone online.

The conferences go beyond the limited definitions and basic discussions of diversity to create a deeper, more nuanced conversation.

“As a programmer myself, I was seeing some beginnings to the conversations around diversity and inclusion, but I felt that the conversation was being artificially limited to a 101-level,” said Dryden.

“I wanted to create a space where any marginalised person could talk about their experiences, their work, and their ideas for the future of the industries.”

Covering the bases

Better yet, Dryden wanted a conference where greater needs were met – providing sign language interpreting, live captioning, free childcare, healthy meals inclusive of dietary and religious restrictions, hosted in accessible buildings, with accessible public transportation, and tickets priced on a sliding scale.

The result is AlterConf, which has seen 15 events hosted since 2014, with Dublin lucky number 16.

“This is the first year that AlterConf has really pushed outside of North America,” said Dryden. “Dublin was selected because of local interest, as well as its role in the technology industry in Europe.”

Running throughout Saturday, with tickets still on sale, discussions around difficult topics like online harassment, language choices and the general online community will see almost a dozen talks take place.

“Online spaces need to be tended in much the same way that offline ones do – setting expectations, holding people accountable for their behaviour and growing trust in participants,” said Dryden of creating a solid, safe online community.

Advancing the discussion seems a good place to start.

Dublin image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic