GeekBeacon Festival was our global, online conference , held February 18th & 19th 2022. Our two-day conference was a fundraising event to benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the AbleGamers Foundation. The EFF is on the front lines of the battle for digital privacy and free speech, involved in legislative fights around censorship and surveillance. AbleGamers Foundation is an organization dedicated to combating the social isolation faced by those with disabilities using videogames and gaming.
DAY ONE - Open Source, Open Culture and Data Ownership
Day one of GeekBeacon Fest was our technology track to benefit the Electronic Frontier Federation. Our speakers included Daliah Saper, founder of Saper Law, who gave a presentation on legal considerations for software developers. We were introduced to the concept of public goods funding by Wm Salt Hale, and explored decentralized social networking via the Fediverse with der hans. We had a presentation from Andrew Gracey on the need for building empathy in the devops industry, and Johnny Wu talked to us about Handshake (HNS) as a way to decentralize the internet. The first day of GeekBeacon Festival also featured a privacy and data ownership panel discussion with Sean O'Brien, Matt Farina, Dahlia Saper, der hans, and our very own Nixie Pixel. Don't worry if you weren't able to catch all the geek goodness live: you can check it out here!
Day Two - Accessibility and Mental Health
Day two of GeekBeacon Fest was our mental health and accessibility track to benefit the AbleGamers Foundation. The presentations included a review of Emotions Anonymous (EA) website with board of trustees member Colleen Coyne, and a look at setting healthy boundaries in fintech with Geoff Shearer.
Speaker Ilkka Pirttimaa introduced us to Blindsquare, an innovative, accessible GPS for the blind. Dr. Anthony Bean showed us how he uses geek culture to help clients and their families in his therapy practice, Geek Therapeutics. We had the privilege of interviewing Paul Lemm and Thaddeus Podtepa of Ebon Sky, a fully blind game development studio that produces high quality audiogames for the blind community.
Brian Fairbanks, developer of Lost and Hound, spoke to us about the importance of accessibility in gaming. Day two of GeekBeacon Fest also featured a roundtable discussion on creator mental health and burnout, with Nixie Pixel, Dr. Anthony Bean, Mark Watson, Dom Esposito, and Malik Forté. If you weren't able to join in on the experience, that's alright: day two is available for viewing here!
GeekBeacon Festival's success was a collaborative effort, and a lot of that effort was from our talented hosts! Nixie Pixel was joined by Novanta, SoldierKnowsBest (Mark Watson), Thunder McFadden, Dom Esposito, and ShinyTechThings. Their energy and charisma carried us all through from one event to another. It was our first conference and an amazing experience for us here at GeekBeacon! We received some excellent feedback from viewers and participants, and we're getting ready to put it into practice.
So ready, in fact, that we're excited to announce GeekBeacon Fest will be back for a one day event this Fall! We'll be seeing some of the great hosts and speakers from our first event and welcoming new ones. In addition to our foundation of open source, open culture and tech, we'll be adding a self-reliance track. At GeekBeacon's upcoming fall event, we'll be exploring tiny homes and sustainability, exploring neurodiversity, and checking out what's new in game development!
To stay up to date on everything GeekBeacon and get the quickest updates about our upcoming festival follow our Twitter. We also invite you to join our Discord server for community events, game nights, and more!