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 lead to the creation of the Gender Changer Academy.
Since 2001, the network of women who help organize the Eclectic Tech Carnival or /etc has grown both far and wide. We are geographically some-what diverse and we have varied experiences and expertise in computing, technology, art and activism. We are an eclectic bunch. Since the northern summer of 2002, we (or some subset there of) have succesfully organized an anual Eclectic Tech Carnival.
A carnival of exchanging computer-related skills, ideas and art. By women and for women.
To connect, to network in real life. The global village has come at the price of community. We are interested in tech things and like to play with it. We know there are other women who are also interested. There is little opportunity for us to get together. And there is even less open space for women to learn new skills. It is especially hard for those with little resources to make a start.
We want to change that!
We want to help women feel confident enough to ’hack’ their own way into northern and male domination of digital technology. We can do it!
We want to help women learn to use Free/Libre and Open Source Software.
Why the name /etc?
Well, /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 and its networking (hostname, hosts, networks). 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.
The next /ETC is from sunday 3 september to sunday 10 september 2006 in Timisoara, Romania
The /etc 2005 was held in Graz, Austria in collaboration with ESC.
The /etc 2004 took place in Belgrade, Serbia in collaboration with Zene na delu (Women@work).
The /etc 2003 was held in Athens, Greece.
The /etc 2002 was held in Pula, Croatia.
We are all volunteers. We rely on donations and accept them with glee ;-)
In 2004, we received funding from HIVOS for the /etc in Belgrade. This year we received some funds from mamacash.
The project is a collective action. We think computers and technology are not only vital tools in today’s world, but also a lot of fun. We want it to be fun for those who come to the carnival. If you would like to come to the carnival or to facilitate a workshop, please contact us or fill out our registration form.
By using and teaching others to use Free/Libre and Open Source Software we have more freedom and control over our work and projects in whatever we do, be it activism, art or technology or a combination thereof. "Free and Open Source" basically means that the code that makes up software or applications is not kept secret. Users and programmers have access to the "source code". This allows the community of users to adapt, modify and improve the software itself - sometimes at an astonishing rate.
We believe that to be independent of the experts and so called authority figures you need to be autodidactic and DIY. Fixing your bicycle, car, computer. In fact women are already very technical. They use sewing machines, weave, spin and knit (it was weaving that lead to the first computer programs).
There will be communication barriers, a good metaphor for ICT. We will become Information and Communication Tweakers in order to break these barriers.
By asking what women want and what they have to offer we strive to be inclusive. Please contact us if you are interested in the carnival.
It will be okay to break things.
It will be exhausting.
Come join us!
Documentation of past /etcs is available on this site.