Ada Initiative news, July 2012: AdaCamp DC, Wikimania keynote and West Coast meetups!

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The Ada Initiative in July: AdaCamp DC, Wikimania keynote and and West Coast meetups!

July was a great month for the Ada Initiative, with our second AdaCamp held over two days in Washington DC for 100 attendees. Discussion topics included fighting impostor syndrome, Geek Moms, Women Editing Wikipedia, Fandom, Feminism & Social Change, Soft Circuits, Job Seeker/Were Hiring!, and Feminist Hackathons.

Immediately following AdaCamp was co-founder Mary Gardiner’s very successful “Fostering diversity” keynote to the Wikimania conference, and the following week we held the first Ada Initiative meetup, in San Francisco, meeting many of our key supporters and donors in the area, followed by a meetup for Google employees the following day.

To all our donors and supporters: thank you for your support in July, making all this possible!

In July’s news

AdaCamp DC: building community and fighting burnout and impostor syndrome

I started camp wondering what open source tech shared in common with gnomes, to discovering the wonderful GNOME project which encourages women to learn code and create their first patch”. Talk about shock and awe :0. Im leaving with new tools like IRC, bug trackers and mentor lists…” – Leslie Birch

AdaCamp is an unconference for women in open technology and culture and the people who support them. 100 people attended the second AdaCamp on July 10 – 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Attendees came from at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US.

It was AWESOME. I arrived at AdaCamp well aware that I am currently burnt out and have difficulty setting boundaries, but I had no idea… how many other women have experienced similar issues and therefore have useful advice. I feel as if Ive returned to my regular life with dramatically increased motivation and clarity. Thank you!” – Anonymous

We ran over 65 sessions over 2 days. Session topics included Hands on Hacking, Geek Moms, Women Editing Wikipedia, Burnout and Lifehacking, Fandom, Feminism & Social Change, Soft Circuits, Job Seeker/Were Hiring!, and Feminist Hackathons, to name just a few. In total, over 40 of the sessions were documented on PiratePad.

If you couldn’t make it to AdaCamp DC, but are interested in attending future AdaCamps or other Ada Initiative events, please subscribe to the Ada Initiative blog or subscribe to Ada Initiative email announcements.

The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible. Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation. Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

Mary Gardiner’s Wikimania keynote: Fostering diversity

Photo of Mary Gardiner keynoting Wikimania (3/4 shot)

Mary Gardiner keynoting Wikimania, © Alejandro Linares Garcia, Creative Commons BY-SA

On July 12, Ada Initiative co-founder Mary Gardiner gave the opening keynote to Wikimania 2012, the world’s largest conference for Wikipedia and related projects. Over 1400 people were in attendance, including several hundred people attending the co-located Tech@State conference. The keynote was part of articles in Slate, The Verge, and Wikinews.

The title of the keynote was Fostering diversity – not a boring chore, a critical opportunity.” In it, Mary described how various social change movements around the globe increased diversity in their ranks, and what they gained from it. While the Wikipedia community is not first and foremost a social change movement, free access to the sum of all human knowledge” is an almost unimaginably strong force for social change, and many Wikipedians see their work in that light. Diversity is an important part of that goal; as Mary puts it, To incorporate the sum of human knowledge you have to incorporate the sum of humans.”

Mary outlined several ways to improve diversity. People often fear that creating communities for underrepresented groups within a project leads to isolation and drop-outs, when the opposite is true. The more you encourage people retain parts of their identity that are important to them, in my case as a woman, the more you enhance their other identity as a Wikipedian.” Extending invitations specifically to underrepresented groups, such as the GNOME Outreach Program for Women, is effective for many reasons. It is the Wikipedia community that has the power that to reach out to the powerless rather than the other way around.”

The video is not yet available, but the slides are available from Wikimedia Commons and the Wikinews story includes extensive notes from the keynote as well as audio-only recordings.

Selena Deckelmann’s first month as Consulting Director of Development

Selena Deckelmann

Ada Initiative advisor and open source expert Selena Deckelmann joined us as Consulting Director of Development from July 1.

Selena has worked on a huge number of projects in her first month with us including developing our plans for funding mix and reviewing our fundraising strategy; reviewing our fundraising materials; helping us prioritize our programs; and connecting with our donors and discussing our programs and our path from here with them. It’s been amazingly helpful to have Selena focussed on the organization’s long term plans while we worked hard on AdaCamp DC and our other events in July. Thank you Selena!

Meetups in San Francisco and at Google

On July 16, we held our first Ada Initiative meetup, in San Francisco. Ada Initiative co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora, and Consulting Director of Development Selena Deckelmann enjoyed meeting old and new Ada Initiative friends.

Mary and Valerie also met some of the Ada Initiative supporters among Google employees the following day at lunch on Google’s Mountain View campus. Thank you for all your thoughts on our work, and thanks again for your generosity, your donations in 2011 collectively made the Google employee gift-matching program our second Bronze sponsor!

Ada Initiative advisors in the news

In addition to Mary’s Wikimania keynote, two of our advisors also gave keynote talks in July!

  1. Sarah Stierch gave a keynote entitled The Visual Experience – Gender and Ways of Seeing Wikimedia” at Wikipedia Academy in Berlin; and
  2. Alex “Skud” Bayley’s keynote was “What’s Next? From Open Source to Open Everything” (for which, see her 2011 blog post on moving from open source to “open stuff”) at the GNOME Users And Developers’ European Conference (GUADEC) in A Coruña.

During her trip to GUADEC, Skud also launched a new open source project for home and community gardeners gathering information about planting times, seed sources and other resources.

Francesca Coppa was a radio guest on Heresay Culture on Stanford University’s KZSU-FM. She was also interviewed for Thanks to fan fiction, we get Harriet Potter and erotic Twilight, in the Kansas Star Ledger and Original Fiction In All The ‘Shades’ Of Fandom on NPR’s Morning Edition.

At Wikimania, Sue Gardner gave her customary overview of the Wikimedia Foundation’s activities: “Wikimedia Foundation: The Year In Review and The Year Ahead”, her slides are available from Wikimedia Commons. Sarah Stierch also made several appearances at Wikimania, including her 10 Women in 10 minutes hack-a-thon and the Wikimedia Community Fellows panel.

Sarah Stierch was successfully nominated to become an administrator of English Wikipedia with over 200 Wikipedians supporting her nomination.

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