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Karolina Szczur

Summary #

CSSConf and JSConf Australia were a not-for-profit conferences providing a platform for learning and connection for the design and developer community. Both were a part of a well-established, high-quality JSConf and CSSConf event family. As a Director, my high-level job was determining how the events should feel to the attendees and putting that vision into action to create a successful event.

Designing an event #

Running a conference is very much like establishing a brand—the experience is best when it’s cohesive, and echoing the values we set for how it should feel (welcoming, safe, fun, inclusive, informative, casual). Those themes ran through every aspect of design, creating the standout “this is JSConf and CSSConf” feeling.

I’ve used art direction skills combined with hands-on design. I’ve briefed and managed artists to deliver fun signage, expressive photography, and on-demand printed t-shirts. I designed badges, printed materials, slides, and event websites. I even stepped out of the comfort of web and print design to curate the interior design of the event space.

Creating a welcoming space for the community #

I used my passion for fostering welcoming community spaces where people can show up authentically to create a comprehensive inclusion strategy. I authored the Accessibility Statement and an enforceable Code of Conduct. I set up and executed on a scholarship program that brought well over 100 people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in tech to the events they couldn’t have attended otherwise. I ensured the accessibility of the venue, as well as presented content.

Being intentional about the space we curate extended to numerous other, smaller touches, such as nutritious food, lowering the prominence of alcohol, quiet spaces and more. You can learn more in the resources below:

Published on CSSConf
Programming inclusion

Wearing many hats #

Outside of inclusion, art direction and design work, I took charge of the event communications and marketing strategies. I’ve written website copy, ran email campaigns, and managed communications with speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and scholarship recipients. Alongside fellow co-organisers, I selected the most relevant talks from our Call for Proposals (which over the years yielded well above 2,000+ submissions).

Being a Director inevitably means managing the whole lifecycle of an event, wearing a leader or a doer hat, depending on what’s needed at a given moment.

Kind words form others #

“When they say it’s taken them 9 months to prepare the conference I don’t question it. One can see they had covered every little detail.

It’s also refreshing seeing speakers with very different background, and I love how the organisation has made diversity and inclusion the pillars of the events.”

Portrait of José M. Pérez

José M. Pérez ⋅ Speaker

Speaking at CSSConf Australia 2016

“It’s no accident that these conferences felt the way that they did. They were designed and facilitated purposefully and attentively, at great expense of time and effort.

Good design is often invisible, so there are undoubtedly a million other things that were thought about and woven into the conference experience that I haven’t mentioned.”

“The entire experience from start to finish was amazing, inclusive, inspiring, encouraging. As someone who doesn’t drink, I’ve never felt pressured to do so at conference after-parties.

This provided a much-more inclusive social option to everyone who was there, and gave a chance to unwind after the long day.”

Portrait of Amy Kapernick

Amy Kapernick ⋅ Attendee

Farewell to CSSConf AU

“The organization was phenomenal, with plenty of food and beverages in every format and colour you can imagine, indeed very Melbourne-hipster style.

One thing that I found to be very practical and helpful was live captioning, which I had never seen in any other event.”

Portrait of Eduardo García

Eduardo García ⋅ Attendee

CSSConf Australia 2018 Recap

Resources #