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Conference website: http://secularwomenwork.org/
Minneapolis, MN – Several atheist groups are coming together to launch an ambitious new conference for activists, and they’re using Kickstarter to make it possible. The Secular Women Work conference will be held in Minneapolis this August 21–23 and features accomplished activists Lauren Lane, co-founder of Skepticon; Mandisa Thomas, founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc.; and Desiree Schell, union organizer and host of Science for the People. Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of exclusively women and genderqueer speakers.
Minnesota Atheists associate president Stephanie Zvan explains why. “Most activist work is unpaid, and unpaid work is traditionally ‘women’s work.’ That means it’s often undervalued, particularly as skilled work. When we set out to create a conference that focuses on building the skills of activists, inviting women to share their expertise was a natural step.”
Using a Kickstarter campaign to sell conference tickets also sets this conference apart from the growing field of atheist conferences. This is the first atheist or skeptic conference to raise funds this way. The campaign launches today, and tickets will only be available through Kickstarter, at least to start.
“I would love it if we sold all our tickets though Kickstarter,” said Chelsea Du Fresne, who also organized the Skeptech conference the past two years. “I think we can. I’m excited about this conference, our speakers are excited, and I think our audience will be as well.”
In addition to conference tickets, which organizers say will be transferable, the Kickstarter offers t-shirts, custom SurlyRamics jewelry, and advertising space as backer rewards. The campaign will end February 19.
The Secular Women Work conference will be heavy on skill-building and problem-solving workshops, with panels and speakers covering specialist topics. “If I could have a whole conference of nothing but workshops, I would, but they convinced me other attendees might want some time to rest,” laughed Monette Richards, director of Secular Woman.
All workshop leaders, panelists, and speakers will be seasoned activists themselves. Additional speakers are expected to be announced during the Kickstarter campaign.
The conference is a joint project of the Minnesota Atheists; University of Minnesota Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists (a Secular Student Alliance affiliate), and Secular Woman.