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Sarah Jones | 27 February 2019
The all-colourful, disco-fantastic University of Melbourne Midsumma Pride March crew
Midsumma pride march CC-BY by Sarah Jones 
It’s fitting that this year’s IDCC conference kicked off for us with a trip to gay pride with our DMPTuuli colleagues from Finland. IDCC19 was our first venture into the Southern Hemisphere so we switched braving the ice and snow for some 40 degree heat and Melbourne hospitality. Inclusivity and diversity was a theme we continued from last year’s conference, so it was great to see such a strong celebration of that from our partners, the University of Melbourne, before we even began.
The conference programme had a richness that reflected the cultural diversity of Australia and strong mix of communities attending the conference. In particular there were fantastic tracks on indigenous data, creative arts curation and community engagement. A healthy number of archivists were present (yay archivists!) which enhanced the discussion on the role of the curator to emerge from Chris Kenneally’s keynote and talks like Anne Gilliland’s on human security informatics.
We continued some of our practices at IDCC19. Last year we trialled a new approach to session chairing, inviting females to run sessions and allow women to ask the first question where feasible to increase the diversity of discussion. This year we broadened that criteria out to ensure we had a mix of genders, ethnicities, countries and disciplinary backgrounds represented. Inviting non-native English speakers and early career researchers to chair was important to us. Our belief is that if the community leading discussion is more representative of the audience at large, a wider proportion of that audience will self-identify and speak out too.
And we also tried some new things. One of these were the collaborative session notes suggested by Nancy McGovern in light of iPres experiences. While they weren't universally adopted, several attendees did a sterling job of noting sessions which helped me for one overcome the FOMO of three parallel tracks. They’re definitely one to trial again.
The other major new activity was the unconference. This was an unstructured, unscheduled event that was collaboratively programmed and run on the day according to the interests of those who were there. It was slightly daunting to run, and I was hugely grateful for the support of my magnificent seven partners in crime. Some sessions were incredibly focused – AusPreserves followed up a general morning discussion by scheduling a programme of events for the year and Cal Lee helped a small group install and trial bitcurator. Others were broader discussions, which were no less valuable and served an important knowledge-sharing and educational function, but lacked some of the concrete outputs I had hoped for. I had grand visions for the FAIR session to map the recommendations coming out of various international reports to converge on a set of global pointers, but hadn’t done the prep for this. If I do happen to prep before the next unconference, you may see a more dogmatic side of me so we can deliver the task I have in mind.
Having rallied hard for Kevin to accept an unconference despite never having attended one and having zero experience in running such an event, I feel hugely gratified that this came off and received lots of positive feedback. There is definite room for improvement, but it feels a very good fit for allowing the ideas and connections from the conference to have some space to breathe and develop before we all fire headlong into the backlog awaiting us in the office. It was really pleasing to see people connecting and sharing at a much more intense and meaningful level than during the main conference days.
2019 is also a celebration year for the DCC. We’re 15 years old this March and had a birthday coffee break on the last day with some fantastic digital curation lifecycle model cake and DMPonline cupcakes by the fabulous bakers of Melbourne Uni - Kirsten Wright and Donna McRostie. We had a slideshow of IDCC through the years playing during coffee and the conference was even graced with its own digital curation song. Watch the video, read the lyrics and sing along!
Melbourne has set a high bar so there are big boots for Natalie and the DRI team to fill when we venture West to Dublin next February. They have the luck of the Irish with them though so it’s sure to be another date to pencil into your diary now.