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PyCon AU was held in Melbourne again this year and I had the pleasure of being on the organizing committee. While my only responsibility at the conference was to work with the awesome sponsors of the conference I did feel a little stressed the first day. This wasn’t helped by the committee chair Richard Jones coming down with gastro the night before the conference. However the treasurer Ryan Kelly stepped up and calmly took the reins for the first day as Richard recuperated. So I didn’t get to as many talks as I would have liked and spent a lot of time in the hallway track [1].

I still did see some talks worth talking about. First of all both of Trey Hunner’s talks Loop Better and Comprehensible Comprehensions deserves mention. It is testament to his abilities as a speaker that while very thoroughly covering some fairly newbie topics he remained engaging even for seasoned veterans such as myself.

The Saturday keynote was by Pip Cleaves who talked us through the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. Python is one of the blessed languages students learn in the new Australian national curriculum. It is for this reason that PyCon AU has a Python in Education track. Pip was an amusing speaker but unfortunately I had to pop out before the end and deal with a sponsor banner.

Katie McLaughlin keynoted on the Sunday morning and talked about dealing with failure and anxiety. It was a highly personal talk which she handled with aplomb and rightly got a standing ovation at the end. It is testament to the community surrounding PyCon AU that Katie could feel safe standing and telling her story.

You may have noted that both keynotes were by women. Take note other conferences, build a safe and welcoming community around your conference and diversity happens! Worth noting was that for the first time this year we ran childcare on site. This was managed by Clare Sloggett and was a welcome addition to a conference running over a weekend.

A couple of other talks I saw and enjoyed:

I have a few talks I still want to watch:

It was great having the some of the Biarri Brisbane team down at the conference this year. I don’t work with most of them much any more so it was great spending time with them for an extended period. A couple of the Brisbane ladies kindly escorted me to the PyLadies breakfast. This meant I got to experience what most ladies in technology deal with all the time, being one of only two of your gender in the room at a technology event.

Lastly I have to call out the lunches as food was fabulous. After not running lunches last year and running dinner instead it was a welcome return and what a return it was!

[1] The hallway track is chatting with your fellow attendees in the hallways.