This summer in Dublin, Inspirefest 2015 will celebrate equality and diversity in STEM – and now, following the marriage referendum result, we’ve one more big reason to party.
Inspirefest is a sci-tech event with a twist: the majority of the speakers are not white, male and straight. They are a diverse set of thought-provoking international leaders in the sci-tech sector.
June sees the first of what is planned as an annual summer festival that celebrates leadership, innovation and diversity in the STEM sectors.
“We’ve taken a leap of faith here because diversity is at the heart of our values at Silicon Republic, and we want to transform how sci-tech events are organised worldwide,” said Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea, the driving force behind Inspirefest.
Changing the ratio
“We know we can get thousands of people into a convention hall to see international leaders in science and technology offer inspiring talks. But can we do the same when more than 70pc of those speakers are women, and we have a spread of ethnicity, sexual orientation, background?” asked O’Dea.
“Well, if the interest so far is anything to go by then yes, we absolutely can.”
Inspirefest 2015 will see some 2,000 STEM professionals gather in Dublin in June at a unique celebration of science technology and innovation.
Confirmed speakers at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre include Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Shelly Porges, astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, MakeLoveNotPorn founder Cindy Gallop, Spacehack.org founder Ariel Waldman, Recode co-executive editor Kara Swisher, Techmums founder Dr Sue Black, Giant Spacekat co-founder Brianna Wu, Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups Niamh Bushnell and Bletchley Park researcher Kerry Howard.
Science, tech, music, film and fun
Following the daytime events, an evening fringe festival will take place in the historic surrounds of Merrion Square Park, showcasing the best in alternative Irish music alongside an impressive spoken word marquee with panels featuring GLEN, Women for Election, WITS and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.
Inspirefest will also host the Irish premiere screenings of The Computers, The Illusionists and Code: Debugging the Gender Gap.
The festival will wrap up with a free outreach event on Saturday, 20 June, with coding workshops, and maker and hardware sessions for children and adults.
We don’t need another Silicon Valley
Inspirefest will build on the groundwork Silicon Republic has laid in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) over the years, and start a new future where people from all backgrounds have a chance of being the next innovator.
While many will tout the idea of ‘Silicon Ireland’, O’Dea believes this country should not try to emulate Silicon Valley too closely, lest we end up mirroring its historic gender imbalance.
“We see a natural inclination in the STEM sectors here in Ireland toward inclusivity and openness, and we want to tap into those roots and grow something big,” she said.
“We can make Ireland a world-class case study of the remarkable innovations that will come out of greater diversity in STEM.”
Inspirefest 2015 takes place from 18 to 20 June in Dublin, connecting professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Tickets are on sale now at a special late-bird price of €499, as well as discounted tickets for bootstrapped start-ups and students.
To celebrate Ireland’s historic Yes to marriage equality, we are releasing a limited number of 2-for-1 Late Bird tickets for our Siliconrepublic.com readers. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Inspirefest 2-for-1’ and we will send you a special code to purchase your tickets. Offer ends midnight May 31st. First come, first served!
Dublin Pride image by Daniel Dudek-Corrigan via Flickr