So much good at AfroTech Festival 2018

Afrotech Fest 2018

When I first heard about Afrotech festival, I was impressed with the idea. I’ve always been in the minority at tech conferences. Its been so common that I just don’t (try not to) think about it. Its very common for tech events to try and encourage more women to be involved but even with gender diversity its poor to bad. Calls for racial diversity tend to end up falling on slightly deaf ears. Its not always unwillingness but it does have a slight effect, and makes you think… should I be here?

In actual fact the only times I have been in a tech event where the dominate people weren’t white males has been the girl geekdinner events. For example last week Sunday I was a girl geek tea party with all women and myself, I felt comfortable enough and hopefully everybody else felt the same (there was no indication to suggest any issues).

Its very rare when I haven’t been in the minority, especially around tech. At Afrotech fest, for the first time I was in the racial majority although interestingly a minority in gender.

I was giving one of the two keynotes and I’ve posted the slides and thoughts in a previous post. The other keynote was given by Ade Adewunmi who talked about similar issue I brought up.

Afrotech Fest 2018

The festival ran over Friday & Saturday. It felt more like a unconference with clear tracks. The sessions were varied with topics ranging from An introduction to cryptocurrency to What the Matrix can teach us about Diversity & Inclusion. There were panels for example The Good and Evils of Machine Learning. All the sessions focused on a slightly different view, for example the machine learning panel included lot about algorithm bias and transparency. Issues which directly effect the lives of minorities.

Afrotech Fest 2018

Another great thing beyond just the make up of the people was the diversity of personal backgrounds. There were developers, artists, people working in law, etc, etc. There was also a youth track on Saturday afternoon (which I obviously didn’t attend) it was great to see young people wondering around like you see at Mozfest.

I was impressed with everything especially the 6 black female organisers and lots of helpers, who made everyone feel at home in Richmix. The festival was very welcoming to those not from the black community with everybody was respectful alongside the lines of the code of conduct. Its also the first time I’ve had to agree/sign my presentation and keynote will not break the code, something others should do.

I had a great time, learned a lot and even my non-technical sister took away something. The conversations I had were great and look forward to the next one.

Little update

Myself and Ade Adewunmi are on BBC Click briefly talking about Afrotech Festival.

Afrotech Fest is a two-day tech and digital festival in the UK by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage. It explores the intersection of technology, the arts, history, news, activism and representation. In particular Afrotech Fest aims to provide a platform for people across a variety of backgrounds to imagine a future free of the present biases whether conscious or unconscious. Click talks to Ade Adewunmi and Ian Forrester about Afrotech.

Afrotech Fest 2018 keynote: Diversity and the joy of being different

Ian Forrester at Afrotech 2018

The slides are now public on google drive (unusual but I do tend to create and edit them on google slides to be honest) and of course in the usual place of my slideshare presentaion. Its a long one but I could do it with all the videos a tad over 30mins.

They are thought provoking and full of references to some excellent research worth reading and digesting.

Massive thanks to the organisers and the audience for bearing with me through the keynote of 106 slides…

Continue reading “Afrotech Fest 2018 keynote: Diversity and the joy of being different”

Harry and Meghan good for black culture?

Suits TV show backdrop

I’m anything but a royalist and rarely care what the royal family are up to, but I did hear the news that harry & meghan are going to get married. Yes even I saw that news, although I first heard about they were actually an item only few days earlier while listening to The Nod podcast from Gimletmedia,

In the podcast, the panel ask if Meghan & Harry getting married is good for black culture or not; This might sound weird to many people but let me give you a couple of scenarios.
Barack Obama, good for black culture or bad? I would say its a yes but I understand the debate. While, Bill Cosby is not good for black culture. You get the idea!

So is Harry & Meghan getting married forwarding black culture or doing damage?

Well worth a listen as I don’t think the announcement was made till way after the podcast?

BONUS: A Royal Good For The Blacks

BONUS: A Royal Good For The Blacks
Is the relationship between American actress Meghan Markle and the UK’s Prince Harry good or bad for Black culture?

Starkey and his insane and racist ranting

I’ve not really said much about the English Riots but I almost missed my friends wedding due to the riots, so I wasn’t best pleased anyway. I saw some crazy sites from my flat which overlooks quite a bit of Manchester and a retail park which included a JD sports.

The media reaction was insane, almost as insane as the actual riots… But on my way back from London from my friends lovely wedding, I saw a message from my ex-wife saying I had missed the outrage of David Starkey on BBC’s Newsnight. I didn’t think much about it but just before we recorded Sunday nights Techgrumps, Tom send me a link to the actual section of Newsnight. I’ve included the youtube link just in case the video goes away on the BBC site.

What I saw had me spitting blood for minutes…

Historian David Starkey has told BBC’s Newsnight ”the whites have become black” in a discussion on the England riots with author and broadcaster Dreda Say Mitchell and the author of Chavs, Owen Jones.

He also hit out at what he called the ”destructive, nihilistic gangster culture” which he said ”has become the fashion.”

I hardly ever use the word racist but I really can’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. Shocking absolute shocking… if it was me, I’d say he was inducing racism and he deserves the dressing down he’s getting.

I called him something very nasty on techgrumps but you know what although I don’t really like using the word because I know it really really upsets certain people, I can’t think of a stronger word to sum up my thoughts…

How dare he, this is the type of comments I expect from someone very ignorant and uneducated in a pub somewhere not from an educated man. As one of the other more sane guests said, it never going to useful to do the whole us and them thing but seriously when he started to quote from Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, I literally had to pause the stream. Then he went on make these absurd (even for a drunken and uneducated) statements…

“What has happened is that the substantial section of the chavs that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion,”

“Black and white, boy and girl operate in this language together. This language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has intruded in England. This is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.”

I think someone said it somewhere but there’s no doubt, race relations have been set back all thanks to this ****!