Conference incident response workshop

For a successful event organizer, the question isn’t whether you will have an unwelcome incident at your event, but when. The Conference Incident Response workshop teaches event organizers how to respond to incidents related to their events, including inappropriate presentation content, physical assault outside the event venue, or controversial speakers.

The specific scenarios and the background that Valerie gave that helped us understand context. I really appreciated how the workshop was tailored to our specific needs around dealing with conference harassment. — Bridget Hillyer, Strange Loop organizer

This workshop teaches both specific skills and general principles for gathering reports, deciding on a response quickly, and communicating effectively. You will learn to create a safe, inclusive, welcoming environment for your attendees, while minimizing negative attention and harassment of the victims and organizers. The workshop is 4 hours long with two breaks. The majority of the time is spent discussing real-world incidents in small groups, combined with group report-outs and guidance from the facilitator.

I very much liked the collaborative, exploratory approach. The group produced great insights and approaches, and the process of reaching them was at least as interesting and important as the results. — Anonymous attendee

Our facilitator, Valerie Aurora, has been a lead organizer for ten conferences, and in that role was part of the incident response team for several incidents. She has also assisted the organizers of several thousand-plus attendee conferences in responding to incidents, both in-person and remotely. All the incidents were resolved to the satisfaction of the victims, the majority of the attendees, and occasionally even the perpetrators (!), without attracting significant negative attention for the victims of the incident or the conference itself. She is also the lead author of the most popular conference code of conduct, in use by thousands of tech-related conferences today.

The most valuable thing I got out of the workshop were frameworks and guidelines for thinking about situations that might arise in the future. — Anonymous attendee

We also provide real-time access to advice on handling incidents on a retainer basis. Contact us at to learn more about the workshop or setting up a retainer.

Responding to reports guide (PDF) (lead author: Mary Gardiner)