AdaCamp , 2014 Bengaluru

ADA Camp 2014 @ Red Hat Bengaluru:

“Each Time a Women stands up for herself without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands for all Women” – Maya Angelou

Yes we are talking about Womanhood and the identity of her existence, perspectives of her own, the patriarchal hand cuffs which deny her a free hand to live as a human being and her right to be treated as one. No this isn’t intended to be an activists blog, but its intended to write about a form, a structure, a movement, a style, a feeling and lastly with more emphasis, an initiative called “Ada” .

ADA was founded in Jan 2011 and is a non profit feminist organization aimed at increasing and leading women participation in open technology and open culture. For now its well understood the important role of women not just in building society but as key contributors to development and technology. Thats where we are women in open technology and culture. The focus areas for ADA are: increasing women percentage in Open technology which is sadly 2% now, anti harassment policy on conducting conferences which is gained momentum and used in other conferences too, teaching ally skills workshops to all gender to help women in open tech ,with over 2 million people trained so far and the most sought after conference by any women in Open technology the ADA camp.

This year there were 3 conferences hosted at Portland (Oregan), Berlin (Germany), Bangalore (India.) Probably some good karma landed me at the ADA camp Bangalore and as a Red Hatter allowed me to me to be a venue host for the camp.

So here’s the  event coverage:

22nd and 23rd Nov, a warm Red Hat board welcomed the delegates to the first ADA camp in Asia at the Red Hat Bangalore office. It succeeded a cordial dinner reception on 21st Nov Friday.A lot of women struck conversations over dinner and were already charged for the “unconference style” sessions to follow for the next 2 days.

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The first session however was scheduled on the “Imposter Syndrome” which was very well put up and raised curiosity among attendees. Some great work by ADA on that : http://adainitiative.org/what-we-do/impostor-syndrome-training/.

A room full of ladies something I only saw after my Alma mater days. There were around 45 ladies attending the conference

Meanwhile the participants were asked to submit lightening talks for the day with not more than 90 seconds to deliver and one slide to present.

Post Lunch sessions started with the lightening talks and the actual execution of schedule for the Unconference style started. Attendees proposed talks and the remaining marked the session which they’d like to listen. There were four sessions slots scheduled for the next 1 day with half a day reserved on the last day to be used for hand on or workshops. There were four session running parallely at each of these slots and the participants could be on and off as per their topics of interest. Thats again a fantastic testimony  to being Open and respecting choices with freedom.The best part was each session had a moderator a gatekeeper a time keeper and a note taker. Session notes were circulated to attendees for participants who could attend all the parallel sessions.

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Few key sessions covered were : Introduction to Information Security, Design 101, Using technology and feminism for empowerment in local community, gender violence online problems and strategy,Castism and racism in Indian Open stuff, Augmented reality big data, why open geo maps are better than google maps, Hacker school, OPW and GSOC, Women in Mozilla, Contributing to Open source projects.

Such content rich and open discussions sparked and ignited more passion of being a woman in the open source technology.

Some awesome lightening talks included: Technology and gender based violence,How I am in Open Source,WFS India,eTekkatho Digitial Library Myanmar,Ubiquitous Computing,Feministic approach to technology,Diaspora.

The best part was 90 seconds to be fair to the topic covered was a test to the speaker and all went good!

And some enriching workshops on: Digital Security,Open Hardware, Mozilla Web-maker and a crafts workshop too!

It was hard to believe that a completely unscheduled conference had such an awesome program made by the attendees in just 30 minutes. Nothing could be more open and encouraging than this. Kudos to Alex Bailey and Sukhi from ADA to drive the wonderful unconference schedule with such perfection that it looked superbly planned. I am sure the attendees would drive such unconference sessions in their communities once they hit back.

Some very thoughtful things in the entire conference were the wall of compliments, a clear passage marked in case of emergency in the conference room, photography consent through forms and lanyards, a handmade schedule on the wall, the time keeping for lightening talks, the quite room for resonating what you just learnt, session notes, and the informal group dinners, timely delicious snacks and food breaks,an ADA alumni list, regular housekeeping announcements and off course the swags:).

All put together was a unique ADAian experience.

On Behalf of Red Hat I thank ADA camp organizers for considering to host the first ADA camp in Asia @ Red Hat. Red Hat is more than happy to support the cause of encouraging women in Open source. The Women’s Leadership community at Red Hat also encourages the participation of Women in Open Source and has launched a Women in Open source award from 2014: http://www.redhat.com/en/about/women-in-open-source. Please nominate and pass on the baton.

I can say this conference was the most truly touched feminist endeavor I have ever witnessed or thought of. An inspiration to last through.

Long live the cause and great is & would be the result.

Some key future events and resource links that can be looked at, which came from the attendees:

 

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