Posts Tagged ‘pycon’

The Diverse People of PyCon UK


I met the Irish, the Greeks. I met the Django Girls, the Trans*Coders, the Posters. I met the teachers, the testers, the gamers. I met old friends, I tended acquaintances hoping to grow them into friendships, and I made new friends.

Diversity is good.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a diversity problem. By “we” I mean the programming community. One could spend an entire career and meet only white middle class straight cis men. If you have the opportunity, try and avoid that.

To quote Rachel Evans summarising the PyCon UK attendance: 300 delegates on the main track, 55 Django Girls and TransCode, 30 scientists, 40 teachers, and 100 children; 20% women.

I’m glad someone is watching (and I would encourage the newly formed PyCon UK Committee to appoint a diversity officer, to watch on a formal basis). And I’m pretty sure that Rachel is right, this is better than many parts of the tech sector. My own experience is that professional interactions are > 95% with other men. And of course gender is just one small aspect of diversity, and male/female is just one aspect of gender. So, the non-white, the trans, the gay, all under-represented.

That is why I agree with Rachel that there is still room for improvement, and that Belinda Parmar is right to point out that it’s another dude fest. I was in that hall and it certainly had more “dudes” than the morning before when the ranks of dudes were swelled by our allies Trans*Code, Django Girls, and teachers. On a positive note, the dudes have turned up to see one the the Django Girl organisers, @helenst, present her experiences on Managing Mocks.

Daniele Procida’s keynote was about how in the Open Source world power is left lying around for the taking. Whom you pay attention to is a small example of that power. Stop going to talks by white middle class straight cis men, stop reading my blog, and start paying attention to the diversity that your community already has. Foster it. Fund it. And don’t worry, the poor downtrodden white cis man will still have plenty of opportunity to give talks and plenty of people listening to them.

I think PyCon UK is doing great. I went to see the science track, the education track, Trans*code, DjangoGirls. And once I’d done that, the so called “main” conference didn’t seem so main any more.

Return to PyCon UK


PyCon UK 2015 is the UK’s Python conference. Held again in Coventry. I didn’t go last year, in fact I have missed a few years and this has been my first PyCon for a while.

This year we are without John Pinner. I was sad to hear of his death earlier this year. John brought me to the Python community. When I turned up to the first PyCon UK way back in 2007, 10 minutes before I was due to give a talk, John made me immediately feel welcome. The efforts of John Pinner and The Committee have always made PyCon UK a rewarding and invigorating experience. I’m drinking from the very splendid conference mug, which has a lovely quote from John Pinner back in 2006, before the first PyCon UK:

What we really need to do is set up a UK Python conference.

Thanks John.

PyCon UK 2015

For me the conference is about the community: the people attending, the committee, the “do”-ocracy spirit. Conferences can be stressful on a personal level what with new places, hundreds of people you don’t know, strange food. It didn’t take me long before I was relaxing a bit and chatting to new friends. I think the Python community is very welcoming, I know I’m not the only one who thinks that, and I hope everyone attending is able to share that spirit.

It was pleasing to see old friends (all a bit older!), and very pleasing to make new ones, particularly the Python Ireland people enthusing about the upcoming PyCon Ireland. Yet again there was not enough time to meet all the interesting people that I wanted to, but I think that will always be true.

One of the more endearing memories for me was when the daughter of Zeth, in a moment of inspired parenting, manged to get the microphone in the plenary session and was merrily shouting “MAC ADAPTER! MAC ADAPTER!”, clearly pleased to the moon and back to get the attention of 400 or so PyCon UK attendees :).

Thanks to the committee and the volunteers, past and future!