DjangoCon Europe 2015 — The Boy Band Conference
The announcement for DjangoCon Europe 2015 — as the conference itself — was vast. A six day conference, including an open day, open and free to the public, three days of “conference talks”, two days of code sprints, workshops and code clinics. Furthermore, yet another DjangoGirls event. The organizers also took up the cause of making the most diverse, accessible and social responsible DjangoCon ever. And, from my perspective, they succeeded! The team around Daniele Procida organized a memorable conference that around 350 people attended. Thank You!
My Trip to Cardiff
My trip to Cardiff wasn’t my first time in the UK, but it was the longest. All the times I have be to UK before, were shorter. And all these other trips were way rainier that this time.
My plane left Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) on May 30th at 6am, quite early in the morning. On the plus side, I already met Erik Romijn, another Django committer, at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) for our flight to Cardiff Airport (CWL). Interestingly, our airline, KLM, overbooked the flight and was offering 250 EUR to the first person that would take a later flight.
On both, the flight from TXL to AMS and after the conference from CWL to AMS, KLM served sandwiches. And these sandwiches perfectly aligned with one of the policies of the conference: social responsibility.
The conference and all related events took place at Cardiff University (a huge thank you for being involved!) and Cardiff City Hall.
Especially Cardiff University conveys a sense of good old British university life. The stunning building, with its many small corridors and corners, served well for the DjangoGirls workshop, putting everybody back into (or forward to) their university life.
Right next to Cardiff City Hall, the National Museum Cardiff was host for the conference dinner. I can’t really remember what the meal was called, but I know, it was really good and tasty.
Cardiff’s landmark is its castle (Welsh: Castell Caerdydd). It “was built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd-century Roman fort.” [Wiki]
The conference itself was great. The organizers encouraged people that hadn’t been on stage to give a presentation in front of hundreds of people. And it worked quite good. I’ve seen many first time speakers and I was one myself, talking about “Forms are static — No, they aren’t” and my first Django third-party app django-dynamic-forms
The opening keynote by Baptiste Mispelon was a story of “how he tackled burnout by traveling around Europe, eating Welsh cakes, pierogi and stroopwafel” [DCE15]. The entire story made out of Emoji, his favorite language. Nothing even close to programming or code, but an insightful and honest statement of a common problem in IT.
This topic, to listen to yourself and to your friends and colleagues around you, was also supported by the wellbeing service of Cardiff University that offered free sessions for everybody who wanted to talk to somebody and get some recommendations or ideas.but
But even more surprising — at least to me and likely many others in the audience — was Russell Keith-Magee’s lightning about his illness. Thank you for being so open, trusting us with your story and get well soon :)
Another talk I specifically want to mention here, is the keynote from the second day by Ola Sendecka: Into the rabbit hole, about a girl Alice in Djangoland. But the most impressive about this talk was not the content (that was great and correct), but the hand painted images.
There were plenty of other talks I enjoyed a lot, because they explained something difficult in a simple way (Ana Balica: Demystifying mixins with Django), because they showed something outside Django’s normal use case (Dafydd Evans: CAMEL, the Cardiff Maths e-learning project), or because they showed once more that computer science, and computer security in particular, is hard (James Bennett: The net is dark and full of terrors).
As already announced, the organizers wanted everybody to feel welcome. And an important support for people with hearing disabilities were the live transcripts by Sheryll Holley and Hilary Maclean, that are now public for everybody to read.
The most important part of the entire DjangoCon, though, were the two One Direction concerts on Friday and Saturday evening after the conference. About 110 000 fans and visitors were expected. That is a third of the population of Cardiff:
The article image (group photo) is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Patryk Zawadzki.