Location: Ryerson Student Centre (55 Gould St., Toronto, ON)
Date/Time: Saturday, January 21, 2017 (10am-6pm, followed by a post-conference event)
Aces and/or arospec people are often isolated in our home communities. Events like full-day conferences are valuable opportunities for us to come together, talk about important issues in our lives, and meet people who share our experiences. For many of us, just meeting other aces and/or arospec people is a unique and life-affirming moment. Even though Ace Toronto has regular social events and discussions, a conference is something very special!
There have been 2 different ace conferences in Toronto organised by outside groups:
- In June 2014, AVEN’s Project Team held the second “International” ace conference” in Toronto for World Pride.
- In June 2015, Asexual Outreach hosted the first “North American” ace conference in Toronto
Now it’s our turn! Ace Toronto is organising our very own (un)conference for January 2017.
- Who is this conference for and what is it about?
The Ace Toronto conference is for people who are on the ace and/or aromantic spectrums or questioning whether they might be, and for their friends, partners, and family.
The goal of this conference is to create a space for more in-depth conversations among ace and/or arospec community members.
The conference is *not* specifically a space to educate non-ace/non-arospec people about asexuality and/or aromanticism. (If you are interested in an educational workshop or training for your organisation, please e-mail us at email@example.com and check out our upcoming public workshops. If you are a member of the media, non-profit staff or a researcher/student researcher, check out our info for professionals.)
- What is an (un)conference anyway?
The format of this conference will include set programming in the morning (e.g., workshops, panels, etc.) and both set programming and “unconference” spaces in the afternoon with programming decided day-of. Check out the description and schedule of set programming.
If you are interested in leading a discussion or workshop during the unconference portion, you can either make arrangements ahead of time (e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org) or just speak of day-of.
We will also have a post-conference open-mic and board-games “coffee house” social event in the evening. More information here. (No registration needed for the post-conference social.)
- So… does this have anything to do with “anti-oppression” stuff?
Ace Toronto recognises that social context matters, and we acknowledge and oppose many systemic barriers and forces of oppression. We aim to proactively create a space that is welcoming and inclusive of ace and/or arospec community members who are often left out or othered. This conference is therefore a politicised space.
We invite all conference attendees to read Ace Toronto’s full Mission Statement.
- How can I be sure my boundaries and privacy are respected?
We ask that people follow our Respect Guidelines, which include things like respecting people’s identities, pronouns and experiences, and doing your best to avoid/challenge things like racism, heterosexism, ciscentrism, etc. And, to *not* photograph anyone without their explicit consent.
We also have colour-coded stickers (blue, yellow, red) to help people communicate their comfort-levels around other people approaching them for conversations. We ask that people respect each other’s needs for privacy and choices about being photographed.
- How will this conference be otherwise accessible to people who want to attend?
Ace Toronto is deeply committed to creating an accessible, inclusive space where attendees will be comfortable and able to participate fully in the conference. In order to accomplish this, Ace Toronto is ensuring that attendees accommodations are met.
We recognise that barriers to accessibility come both from the space itself and from how people treat each other within that space. We already plan for the following things to be in place at this conference:
- ASL interpretation
- Wheelchair accessible space (elevators and ramps; doorways that people can navigate, etc.)
- All-gender washrooms
- Accessible food provided (make sure to list your needs on your registration form)
- Scent-free space requested of all attendees (& provision of unscented soaps in the washrooms)
- check out our Scent-Free Guide
- Respect guidelines in place
We ask that if you require accommodations not listed above that you let us know.
For more details about conference accessibility, check out our accessibility page.
- What about financial accessibility?
This conference is a “pay what you can” event with a suggested donation of $5-$30 to help cover some of the costs of the conference. *** NOTE: No one will be turned away for lack of funds. ***
You can register for the conference here.
We are also trying to co-ordinate billeting (for attendees from out-of-town who need a place to stay for the night) and carpooling. For billeting, please make sure to register by January 8th.
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any travel bursaries at this time.
- Where is the money coming from to make this event possible?
The space for the conference was generously provided by our space sponsors: RyePRIDE.
Ace Toronto is an unfunded, grassroots community group. Most of the money for this conference will come from private donations, which is why we need your help! Please spread the word about our Fundraising Site. (Since we are not a registered charity, we unfortunately cannot offer tax receipts.)
The money from Registration forms and the Fundraising site will go towards covering the costs of the ASL interpretation, food, and other supplies needed to make the conference run smoothly (approximately $3,500– about $2,750 for ASL interpretation alone).
If you are a representative of an organisation that might be willing to support our conference fundraising efforts, please check out out Information for Organisations. We can offer valuable training for staff and/or volunteers in return for financial support.
- What about media, non-profit staff or researchers/student researchers attending the (Un)Conference?
The (Un)Conference space is primarily and internal ace and/or arospec community event. The (Un)Conference is not geared toward meeting needs of outside organisations, nor is it about educating non-ace/non-arospec people about asexuality and aromanticsm.
- Anyone attending the (Un)Conference (either partly or fully) in a “professional” capacity (e.g., media, non-profit staff, researcher/student researcher, etc.) should identify themselves to the conference organisers ahead of time.
- Any professional/media/researchers who wants to collect information must make arrangements in advance with the conference organisers, and may be denied approval.
Please check out the Information for Media, Non-Profit-Staff and Researchers/Student Researchers.