FAQs - Eclectic Tech Carnival

What is the attitude of /ETC?

  • /etc is skill-sharing: we meet to share what we know and learn what we don’t know
  • /etc is free software and open hardware: we want everyone to have the possibilty to use, study, share and improve technology and thus explore personal and collective freedoms
  • /etc is DIT (Do It Together): we like to build our own tools together as a form of empowerment and emancipation
  • /etc is community: we don’t compete for who is more skilled or acknowledged, we want everyone to be better together
  • /etc is feminist: we believe that humanity has still much to learn from feminism, and feminism has still much to do for humanity

Why the name /ETC?

/etc is a directory of the linux file system. In this directory, called /etc (short for etcetera) are all the important configuration files for your computer (hostname, hosts, networks, programs or processes). We asked ourselves, “If we were part of the linux file system, what would we be?” The /etc directory seemed the best place for a carnival of ideas and then the name Eclectic Tech Carnival (or /ETC for short) was born.

Why a feminist tech carnival?

We believe that a feminist meeting is necessary to subvert the male/female separation of skills, to be independent of the experts and so-called authority figures, and to make time to learn things from each other with a DIT (Do It Together) spirit. We want to know how for example to fix our own bicycle, car or computer and how to share knowledge by being helpful and respectful at the same time. We want to break though the white male dominance of technologies, and make spaces where those with little resources can feel confident and share techniques. We think computers and technical skills are not only vital tools for troubleshooting everyday life, but also help to build community and can be a lot of fun.

How is /ETC different from other hackmeetings and technology events?

There are many tech events that aim to increase the numbers of women, femmes, and ethinc minorities, which in the past have been excluded from the tech industry. But we don’t believe that identity diversity of big tech companies’ CEOs, or more gender diversity in supporting the capitalist system to sell more technology, is going to produce an egalitarian society. We want more feminists creating alternatives to those companies. We want more feminists knowing about technology so that they can challenge the system producing that technology.

Who can participate?

You do not need any special skills to participate, except an attitude of sharing, listening and giving space to others to learn as you would like to for yourself. The context of the /ETC changes from one event to the next, and it reflects the local community which provides the venue(s) and hosts each event in collaboration with the wider collective. Presenters and workshop organizers can decide whether their specific session within the /ETC is open to only women, no men, or open to all, and this information is communicated on the website and during the event. About 2 months before an /ETC, the organisers send out a call for proposals of presentations, workshops and events to be organized by women and female identified, transgender and queer persons.

Who organises the /ETC?

The /ETC is a gathering, organised by volunteers who work locally and online to plan and prepared for the event. During the event additional volunteers and all the participants collaborate to make the /ETC happen (helping with logistics, translations, tech, documentation, keeping the space clean, preparing meals etc.). Since 2001, the network of feminists who help organize the Eclectic Tech Carnival or /etc has grown both far and wide. We are an eclectic bunch.

What workshops will there be?

The workshops during the carnival vary from technological to cultural and social skills, including workshops on installing, using and managing hardware and free software, web design, creative activism, discussions on alternative uses of technology and art and many other practical workshops depending on the proposals that are received. At past /ETCs there have also been workshops such as botanology, healing and cooking.

Where does the /ETC happen?

The /ETC is always in a different part of planet Earth. When one is being organized you will find all the info on this website and via the mailing list. You can see past locations in the archive page.

When will the next /ETC happen?

As the /ETC is a self-organised event, it happens when the community has the energy and resources to organise it. Sometimes it has happened annually, sometimes less often. As soon as dates are decided for the next /ETC, it will be announced on the website and the mailing list.

What is the story behind the /ETC?

A group of women from all over (and who had inicidentally met in Amsterdam) were sitting on a train to Brussels on the way to a feminist tech event. The year was 2001. One said, “I have an amazing idea.” The rest raised their unplucked eyebrows with curiosity remembering the last idea she’d dreamed up had led to the creation of the Gender Changer Academy. The idea materialized with the first /ETC in Pula, Croatia. The challenge was to create a safe space for women to disrupt traditional gender biases which started to appear in the 90’s in the tech industry, while before that women in computing were plenty and succesful. And let us not forget that it was weaving that led to the first computer programs. So as a group of women interested in tech things and who liked to play with it, and knowing there were other women who were also interested, we got together. We claimed that “women and technology” was a deeply politicized and political concept.

Where can I read more about the cultural context which brought the /ETC together?

  • Genderchangerswebsite: http://genderchangers.org
  • “Things Can Break” (in English with German and Spanish translations): http://eipcp.net/transversal/0707/derieg/en
  • Indymedia article “Hackerinnen in Linz”, 2007 (German): http://de.indymedia.org/2007/07/187623.shtml
  • Wintercamp 2009 with video interviews: http://networkcultures.org/wintercamp/2009/03/08/genderchangers-wtf/
  • /etc 2009 Istanbul website: https://etcistanbul.wordpress.com
  • “Gender and Open Source” - article by Clancy Ratcliff: http://culturecat.net/node/889
  • Response to Ratcliffe’s article by Mairin: http://mihmo.livejournal.com/6071.html
  • Women in Open Source - panel discussion at the 2005 O’Reilly Open Source Convention: http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/os2005/view/e_sess/7039
  • “Getting in touch with the feminine side of open source” - article by Jay Lyman (link doesn’t work anymore):
  • A discussion and response to the above article: http://lwn.net/Articles/146663/

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