What conference should I go to?
September 21, 2016 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Please give me ideas for (design/creative/freelancer/feminist) conferences in 2017 that meet my requirements below. Anywhere in the world is fine. Your personal anecdotes count double.

Right now I've just got 99u on my list — it's a bit expensive but seems worth it, based on the lineups and attendees.

- Nothing overblown and conceptually thin with nothing to say, however you want to judge that
- No all-male speaker lineups, no all-white speaker lineups
- Not tech-focused, not exclusively web design, nothing that's just a certain software or programming language
- I'm into entrepreneur/self-employment topics but "entrepreneur" to me doesn't mean "blowhard aspiring billionaire" so I'm NOT interested in Silicon Valley, VC funding, angel whatevers or IPOs.
- Attended by people who might want to be friends with me: I'm progressive, queer, lowkey goth, under 40, politically active but not very social media active

I want to spend under $500 for a 1-day conference, $1200ish for 2-3 days.

Bonus points for conferences that are:
- led by a bunch of badass, powerful, inspiring women
- have some sort of friendly ongoing community

About what I do, if it helps:
I am a self-employed graphic designer and project manager. Despite being a designer, I never do websites or anything interactive. I also never do branding or advertising. I work with doctors, scientists, policymakers, bureaucrats and other jargon-riddled people in the NGO and public sector and help them translate their work or their intentions into simple and clear visuals. I do a lot of visualizing strategic plans, mission statements, new innovative programs, etc, so it's more about visual conceptual thinking than just making stuff look well-designed.
posted by 100kb to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This might be a good question to pose to the WomenWhoStartup group on Slack.
posted by yoga at 3:08 PM on September 21, 2016

I've only been to The Story once, but it was lovely. Not a traditional conference with stands for walking around etc. - more of a day of speakers followed by everyone going to the pub afterwards, so maybe not the biggest networking event in the world.

There's nothing on the website yet about 2017 but you can see previous speakers to give you a feel for it. It interprets the idea of telling stories in the widest possible way, so ticks the 'creative' box, may or may not be of use from a tech point of view: I'm not sure how much you're after conferences that will move your career ahead vs a pleasant day out with a nice, quirky, friendly selection of people, but The Story is definitely the latter.
posted by penguin pie at 3:51 PM on September 21, 2016

consider NACIS! it's a cartography conference, but the people are really really lovely, you would probably learn and be able to share lots about communicating information, and there's lots of interesting discussions.

also lots of female involvement - the current president is a woman.

2016 is in colorado in a month, and i believe Montreal is 2017.
posted by bellbellbell at 11:03 PM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Short notice, but a friend of mine runs Affect, which is 10/7-8 in Portland, and it sounds pretty great: https://affectconf.com/
posted by Erroneous at 11:47 AM on September 22, 2016

Oh, and AlterConf is reputed to be pretty great too: https://www.alterconf.com/
posted by Erroneous at 3:35 PM on September 22, 2016

BullCon2016 just happened. I've never been but I enjoy Dziura's writing and, from afar, it ticks some of your boxes.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 3:32 AM on September 23, 2016

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