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Introducing the PyCon Hatchery Program

PyCon is known around the world as the Python community’s premier event, attracting people from 39 countries. Outside of the main track of talks, PyCon is home to a growing number of additional events such as Young Coders, the Education Summit, Language Summit, Poster Session, among others. The conference strives to be globally representative by promoting diversity and inclusion through these additional events and outreach programs.

Our community works to meet these goals year on year. In the past, we have received requests to add events to PyCon but have not had the resources to make them work. Although we are still limited on staff resources, we are proposing a stepping point that may lead us in the right direction.

What is the end goal?

We want to support our community and enable them to add events to PyCon that are important to our community. The long-term goals of this program are to support and grow sustainable events that will become a recurring part of PyCon itself or find a home as a stand-alone event in the future. Events that may be of specific temporal interest are also welcome, but will generally be given lower priority.

Our end goal is to continue improving our community through inclusivity and diversity efforts as PyCon is well suited to be a leader in driving this. We are responsible for the largest public event in the community, have the highest notoriety for a Python conference, and can bring in the most funding to support these efforts directly. Beyond our own work, other international conferences, regional conferences, and local user groups tend to take inspiration from the conference.

How do we plan on reaching our goal?

The long-term goal is to have a Working Group that can receive, review, and select proposals to add new events and programming to PyCon US.
We propose to begin the process of forming a “hatchery program” for tracks, summits, demos, etc which share and fulfill the mission of the Python Software Foundation.
Some core ideas of such a program are:
  • An established process to receive applications to the program
  • Clear benefits and commitments to selected applications
  • Guidelines for the rubrics by which applications would be reviewed and selected
  • Conditions for the “graduation” or  "termination" of such an incubated program
    • What are the criteria for Success? What can the PSF do to help successful tracks spin off into their own conference or become a permanent part of PyCon.
    • What are the criteria for Failure? How do we gracefully end unsuccessful Tracks?
  • A Working Group to both develop the program, promote the program, establish the process, and select applications for inclusion.
We imagine that such a program would be beneficial for PyCon and for the Python community at large. It opens the doors for the community to help us understand and support their concerns and best work towards the mission of the Python Software Foundation in a manner which is fair to all applicants.

What steps are we starting with?

At the 2018 conference, we have assigned one room equipped similarly to other PyCon events for the hatchery program. It will take place Friday, May 11 through Sunday, May 13.

Beginning October 24, we will accept proposals for the hatchery program through January 3. We have created an ad-hoc group of the Conference Chair, three PSF Board of Directors, and two community volunteers to review the proposals this year. For more information on the CFP see https://us.pycon.org/2018/speaking/hatchery/

After a review process, we plan to announce accepted proposals early in February 2018.

Why this starting point?

We want to gauge your interest for this type of program, so we are starting with this trial version rather than waiting for a fully developed program to be developed and launched blindly in 2019. We are also interested to see how many proposals we will get that have potential to become their own “spin-off” events at PyCon. If we see that we cannot fill three days worth of content with incubator tracks, we will assess the trial and decide if we want to continue this process in the future.

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