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Chris Burgess

Thinking about future societies, living in the present. Humane web techno-generator for social change orgs. Believes in stories. Dunedin, NZ

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In a few weeks NZ will have it’s second (I think?) PHP conference. The topics look good and it’s one of a few opportunities for NZ PHP developers to get together and learn. I saw a post on a mailing list promoting it today, and thought this would be a good opportunity to get together with other NZ developers and share some knowledge. (I know a few local developers through Codecraft, but it doesn’t feel to me like there’s a community of PHP devs in Dunedin.)

So - I headed over to the site, and checked out the speakers page to see what was on the cards, and I found myself thinking twice about going. I opted not to jump on the early bird pricing after all (I’m not saying I won’t still go).

I reflected a while before posting this, because I’m not confident that it’s for me to speak on diversity at conferences when I’m white & male, and I’m not confident it’s my job to look at a set of headshots and count gender or race. I’m genuinely unsure about this tension; if I’m silent then I may be tacitly enabling the status quo; if I speak out am I “white knighting” or denying someone who is more directly affected by lack of diversity the chance to speak?

I am OK with sharing my feels (even if/when I’m wrong), and I’m a human goddamnit, and when I look at the speakers page like that, I boggle at how un-representative of humanity a group of 22 people could possibly be after someone flys them to NZ from around the world.

I guess this makes me really appreciate the great work that conferences I’ve attended in the last twelve months (Kiwicon, NetHui, OS//OS, DrupalSouth, DevMob) have done towards keeping diversity in mind when they are organised, and I’m intrigued to see how Kiwi PyCon 2015 (same weekend!) will do on the same front. Maybe I’ll diversify myself to a Python conf instead.