Over the past few years, I’ve been part of the organizing teams for many events and because of my work in social media and podcasting I regularly find myself in discussions about other events and the community. I often hear that participation is noticeably skewed towards white males, aged thirty through fifty, that there isn’t enough cultural diversity or women represented. In fact, I have at least twice been told that I don’t do enough to include multiculturalism and women in the community.
The community and its events are inclusive. Anyone who wants to attend is welcome. Invitations to participate are implied. Invitations to speak or submit speaking proposals are open. Oddly, some women and individuals from different cultural backgrounds that have expressed their concerns have never submitted speaking proposals to the events I’m involved in. I respond by requesting they submit proposals and make the effort to increase multicultural and female participation. There’s only so much the community organizers can do and I can assure you that we have made efforts to reach out to the under-represented.
The Canadian Podcast Buffet was created as a resource and meeting place for the community. We don’t define who’s in the community, only that it exists for all to join and contribute. Podcasters Across Borders was created to bring the community together in a single physical space. We don’t decide who comes, only that the event is organized and those willing to sign-up and travel to Kingston can be part of the scene. Speaking proposals are welcome from everyone. I know that the same is true of the PodCamp movement — events are planned and invitations to participate are open.
Andrea and I have been talking about this lately because planning for PAB2009 is about to ramp up. The PAB community has been built on word of mouth which emanates from CPB. If you feel that we need more people from a particular country, cultural background or gender, it’s up to you to help increase that representation by spreading the word and inviting the people you feel the community will benefit from meeting and listening to.
Communities thrive when they are made up of mixed opinions and backgrounds. Make sure you help create the environment in which we can all grow.