Warm. Open. Diverse. Welcoming. Inspiring.
Those words go some way towards summing up the three fantastic days of keynotes, lightning talks, skill-ups, breakout discussions, workshops, and networking that comprised the first-ever CarpentryCon held at University College Dublin. This event drew an audience of more than 110 people from right round the globe.
After a welcome from the CarpentryCon Task Force, the event kicked off with Valerie Aurora’s keynote, Focus on Allies, which taught us all some new strategies to support diversity and inclusion. As James Baker tweeted, “I didn’t expect #CarpentryCon2018 to start with a keynote on inclusion and diversity and targets and ally skills, but it sets the scene beautifully: not just “We have a CoC” and move on, but an hour on how we can understand, improve, and action the CoC as a community.”
A story circle icebreaker followed before we all descended on the fantastic morning tea provided by the UCD caterers. The food was outstanding all through CarpentryCon, as was the local support from Dr. Norman Davey and the local UCD volunteers.
The Carpentries’ Executive Director Tracy Teal’s talk The State of The Carpentries brought us all up to date on where we are post-merger, highlighting that “You Belong in The Carpentries”. She also kicked off the new virtual listening tour. Greg Wilson’s Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Ike Quebec keynote on how to leave brought some audience members to tears, while Desmond Higgins’ recap of CLUSTAL development was a funny and informative dash through the pre-GitHub, pioneer days of software sharing. Anelda van der Walt’s keynote It Takes a [Global] Village brought the whole African Task Force on to the stage, and highlighted not just the spread and reach of The Carpentries, but also the transformative power this community has on people’s lives and careers.
In between the four keynotes, there were skill-ups, breakouts, lightning talks, posters and birds-of-a-feather. These sessions were all suggested, prepared and run by members of the community and highlighted the variety of topics and skills our community wanted to share and learn. New initiatives were launched, discussions took place about local communities and sharing ideas, and several sessions focused on professional development. The full list is available here and updates from individual sessions will be coming soon! We hope other Carpenters will post reports - we will tweet those when we find them.
The final feedback session generated both tears and laughter as attendees shared personal stories of what CarpentryCon had meant to them (They got a CarpentryCon T-shirt for their contributions. Didn’t get a shirt? You can buy one here). There was a lot of hugging as people reluctantly packed up to leave.
Huge thanks go to the CarpentryCon Task Force, ably steered by Fotis Psomopoulos and Malvika Sharan. The other members were Mark Laufersweiler, SherAaron Hurt, Ivo Arrey, Danielle Quinn, Tracy Teal, Erin Becker, Elizabeth Williams and me. See the repo for the full list of people who worked on it.
I feel privileged to have been part of the Task Force that helped build CarpentryCon, and to have led sessions there, but most of all I feel lucky to have been there and felt the power that belonging to such a great global community provides. For those who weren’t able to attend, check out the Twitter streams for @carpentrycon and #CarpentryCon2018, and also check out Bérénice Batut’s great pictures.
If they make you feel inspired, think about joining the Task Force to build the next CarpentryCon, or to help build regional CarpentryConnect meetups to bring the spirit of CarpentryCon back home.
Sponsors - Thank You !
The Carpentries are eternally grateful to our leading sponsor, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, our two supporting sponsors, Mozilla, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the other sponsors who came on board to support the conference and to provide gifts and travel support.
We need to report back to those sponsors, which is where your feedback is so important. Please give feedback on sessions on Day One (Wednesday), sessions on Day Two (Thursday), and on the Friday workshops. This will also give useful information to the CarpentryCon Task Force on what worked well and what might need some fine-tuning for next time.
Finally here are some tweets that sum up the power of CarpentryCon.