What a difference a year can make. In July I celebrated my one-year anniversary with Silicon Flatirons, which provided an opportunity to reflect on all that our community has achieved together, and also to look forward to what’s next.
Elevating the debate surrounding technology policy issues remains a pillar of our mission. We believe in the importance of community and bringing people together from all backgrounds and areas of expertise, with an emphasis on promoting intellectually honest, respectful, and meaningful engagement that is approached with integrity and is accessible for all.
Since early March, the pandemic and related restrictions prevented us from convening in-person events, but we made great strides to transition to virtual event offerings. Over the summer we hosted several virtual panels, many of which offered free CLE credits for attorneys. Earlier this month we broadcast a panel discussing COVID-19 and Electronic Health Data and on September 17th we’ll share the newest iteration in our Crash Course series, focusing on Data and Borders in a Post-Privacy Shield World.
We are proud to announce our 2020-2021 event and conference lineup, promising stimulating conversations throughout the academic year.
Among an exciting list of initiative conferences and roundtables, we’re also continuing our focus on CLE content for attorneys, as well as a new entrepreneurship competition to highlight challenges faced by businesses responding to the threats of COVID-19. We’re also launching our new conference series – Topics on Law and Technology (TILT), which will step into the space of the annual Silicon Flatirons flagship conference that takes place in February. TILT will emphasize interdisciplinary consideration of pressing topics that combine themes from across each of our initiative areas.
In addition, we’re announcing that our full roster of events for the 2020-2021 academic year will be hosted virtually. This is the best way to keep our community safe and healthy while providing space to consider the big issues. By committing to a virtual platform early, we can invest the necessary time and resources to provide the best experience for our community members, including our students.
While we won’t see each other in person, I believe we have found exciting ways to bring people together and continue to provide the high caliber programming that defines Silicon Flatirons. This has required some new ways of thinking about events, including the line between personal and professional spaces and how to ensure an inspiring, respectful experience for all.
Preserving the Hallway Track
As a former regular on the conference circuit, I know that a big aspect of coming together is the intellectual collisions that can happen outside of planned programming. These chance meetings have been made more difficult by the transition to virtual spaces, but they’re no less significant. We are therefore exploring virtual platforms that can make space for the unexpected introductions and conversations that cannot be pre-orchestrated.
Respect for Context
Silicon Flatirons respects the obligations and priorities of home life and family, whether biological or chosen. This is particularly important in a virtual environment. For speakers, networkers, or others who join us on camera during our events, we want to let you know that we welcome children, pets, and others from your household during your participation in any of our public events. We also support anyone who may need to pause their participation in an event due to the need to respond to events at home.
Inclusive Virtual Spaces
As we’ve done with our in-person events, we’ll be enforcing the University of Colorado Boulder’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment in our virtual spaces. Anyone who is shown to violate this policy will be promptly removed from the event. In addition, with respect for everyone’s privacy, we are prohibiting screenshots of other attendees during networking events.
Commitment to Accessibility
We continue to improve the accessibility of our events for all participants. We are connecting with resources on and off-campus to ensure that both our live and pre-recorded events are captioned and that we have resources available for speakers as well as attendees. We will maintain and expand this commitment even as we hope to eventually transition back to in-person convenings. If there is an accommodation that would make your experience better, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
Please take a moment to view our event and conference lineup or visit our website for more details on upcoming events, register to attend, or find more ways to engage, network, and support Silicon Flatirons and the work we do.
Amie Stepanovich, Executive Director