Last week, sixty-two people from around the world joined us at a castle for the very first Teach Úll. A sort of mini-Úll retreat, we did some deep work and self-reflection through a series of workshops and discussions as we explored the Apple inspired theme The Pursuit of Excellence.
To give you an idea of the impact it had, here’s what some people had to say:
‘I realised this is the first time we have had anyone else really take care of us in a long time.’
‘I just keep asking myself what I’ve done to deserve to be here.’
As organisers, this is the kind of feedback we dream of getting. We know that Úll has the potential to be a rewarding experience for all. However, we also know that the cost of attending Úll can be out of reach for many. It also means that we miss out on the contribution of a more diverse group of attendees.
This year, we offered a ‘pay what you can’ option that would be run on a lottery basis. We would do our best to find some sponsorship so that at least a few of these people could attend. We had two very generous donations from individuals towards diversity tickets and thought we would try find a few companies to contribute a small amount to get a fund together.
That’s where MacPaw stepped in. Having partnered with MacPaw in the past, we knew their ethos and philosophy complemented our own. What we weren’t prepared for was that they would step up and offer to sponsor five places without any hesitation. You see MacPaw recognise the potential impact even a small conference like Teach Úll might have for someone. Oleksandr and Julia from MacPaw — who joined us at Teach Úll — want to open doors in the tech industry in a meaningful way and that means giving more people more opportunities for employment, for education and for participation in conferences like our own.
The direct impact of this meant we were able to offer places to all seven of the people who applied through the pay what you can scheme- no lottery required!
We can still do better. We need to hear from more women, people of colour, people with disabilities, people from the LGBTQIA and other underrepresented communities at Úll. And we want to actively encourage people to apply to speak and to attend.
The Úll Diversity Scholarship Programme
Inspired by MacPaw and our kind private donors, we are pretty ecstatic to announce that we will be launching the Úll Diversity Scholarship Programme. The scholarship will cover the cost of attendance, travel and expenses to and from Úll or Teach Úll. Once tickets open for 2019, you will be able to apply for a scholarship to attend a conference. Anyone can apply, however, we will prioritise people who are part of a minority community and/or people who are typically underrepresented in this sector. If we have more suitable applications than funding available, places will be awarded on a lottery basis.
We are giddy with excitement about the potential impact this could have on individuals and on Úll as a whole. If you share our excitement and want to help us create a more inclusive Úll, you’ll be able to make a contribution to our Úll Scholarship Fund through our Úll and Teach Úll ticket pages. After each conference, we’ll do a post on the amount we raised and the number of places offered and accepted.
Thanks again to our Teach Úll partners, MacPaw and to everyone who joined us for a magical few days at Markree. We couldn’t have done it without you.
We hope to see even more of you in 2019.
Paul & Aoife ❤