2020 IFF Call for Proposals Guide

By November 22, 2019 December 12th, 2019 Blog, IFF Updates

The IFF call for proposal is now open! This year, we have a few changes in store for you. We encourage you to read ahead so you can ensure your proposal is the best that it can be.

The New IFF Program
This year we are experimenting with a new design of the IFF program. During the first three days we will be hosting sessions like previous year. However, during the last two days, which we are calling the Transformation Days, we will be introducing IFF Villages, spaces which will feature programming selected by Village Partners. In addition, self-organized sessions will also be taking place the Transformational Days, and they can only be booked when you are physically at the IFF. We expect this new design to allow for the inclusion of more dynamic topics and a better representation of community voices.

This current call for proposals is for the first three days of the IFF. While we are excited for this new format, this also means that session selection will be more competitive than previous years since we will be looking to fill three days instead of five. To ensure you submit the best proposal possible, we have compiled a guide below which will help answer many questions.

Another change is that this year we will not have themes. We want to experiment with this model to see if it produces a more robust programming that is more intersectional and impactful. We will be asking you to pick a category for your session, but this will only be used for internal categorization and processes.

This year’s sessions will be selected by IFF’s Community Empowerment Program cohort, assisted by IFF team members and IFF community members. The CEP cohort includes 10 people from 8 different countries. They will be looking for sessions that reflect the most important conversations that need to take place and critical knowledge that needs to be shared in the Internet Freedom community informed by their experiences and work.

The New Platform
In addition to this, we have changed the technology we are using to receive and review session proposals, and register participants. This change we hope will streamline processes and make interaction with participants a bit easier. We decided to host Pretix, a ticket shop software, and Pretalx, a conference management software. Both are open source as well as software-as-a-service platforms.

This means you will create a new login and account when submitting a proposal. Your previous login info will not work.

This change will also provide participants with many features they have requested throughout the year – mobile and tablet friendly access, better security and privacy, ability to customize your schedule and much more!

Step-by-Step Guide

Page 1: Title, Type, Description & Co-Speaker

Submission Title:
Your title should succinctly explain what your session is about. Avoid titles that generic.

Submission Type:
Below you will find a description of each type of session you can give. Regardless of what type of session you choose, keep in mind that we expect all sessions presenters to encourage the inclusion of diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds in their session.

Collaborative Talk
Collaborative talks facilitate discussions between participants on a specific topic. Your goal as a presenter is to help extract different opinions and experiences from participants in the room. This can be done by facilitating exercises that help trigger conversation.

Collaborative talks are great for creating collective knowledge, exploring issues that require input from a diversity of opinions, or introducing questions meant to cause the community to more critically think about. Examples of potential sessions: “How Can We Share Secure Messaging Advice without Causing Harm” or “Reimagining a Feminist Internet”

A feature session is one where timely information or new knowledge is shared with participants. Your goal as a presenter is to educate participants. Featured sessions will include a presentation followed by a Question & Answer period. In addition, they should provide resources for participants to learn more about the topic post-session.

Feature sessions are great for sharing critical information, new knowledge, or recent developments. Examples of potential sessions: ““Recent Internet Shutdowns in X Country” “New Surveillance Tactics Used in X Region.” “New Policies in X Country”

Hands On
A Hands On session provides participants with practical skills or knowledge. Your goal as a presenter is to educate participants on topics that ultimately help them with their professional development by focusing on practical knowledge. Please note, this year sessions will only be 1 hour. As such, it’s important to focus on something that can be taught in that time frame.

Examples of potential sessions include: “Organizing without the Internet” “Mesh Networking 101”

A feedback session provides presenters with the opportunity to obtain feedback from participants to improve a tool, project, solution or strategy. This is not a session for promotion or marketing a product. Instead, your goal as a presenter is to ensure you are asking the right questions, practice actively listening and ensure that participant feedback has an impact post-IFF on whatever tool, project, solution, or strategy you are presenting.

Feedback sessions are great if you need community advice about X thing you are working on. Examples of potential sessions: “Building a Resilient VPN: What is Needed” “Building Multidisciplinary Teams and Methodological Protocols to Monitor and Investigate Internet Censorship”

Fix it!
Fix It! sessions provide participants with the opportunity to collectively map out and address specific challenges. Your goal as a presenter is to ensure the challenge is succinctly laid out, facilitate analysis and brainstorming from participants and, create a roadmap for next-steps post-session. In some cases, presenters may even ask participants actively work-on a solution during the session.

Fix It! are great for mobilizing the community around a specific topic or coming up with solutions to problems that require multidisciplinary input. Examples of potential sessions: “Support for Journalists Under Attack: What Can You Bring to the Table” “The Rise of Biometric Technology: Next Steps.”

The description should include the main focus of your session and the areas or bodies of knowledge you will cover. Remember that if your sesion is accepted, the description will be used on the public IFF schedule. Be as clear, to-the-point, and succinct as you can be. You will not be able to edit the description once call for proposals has been closed.

Additional Speaker(s)
In this section, you must include the email of your co-speaker. If you have more than one co-speaker, you must add them AFTER you submit your proposal by logging back in and editing your proposal. We know this is not ideal, but what can we say, technology. Once a co-speaker has been added, the system will send them a link to create their profile. This must be filled out as soon as possible.

Please note, that you will not be able to add co-speakers after the call for proposal window has closed.

Page 2: Questions & Personal Information

In this section, we will be asking you questions to help us better understand your session, as well as questions about yourself. The answers to these questions will be used during the review process but also to expedite your registration process, should your session be accepted.

Goal of the Session
We are looking for sessions that will have an impact. By listing the goals of your session, you help us better understand the impact you want to have with your session. Maybe it’s that you want to share new critical information; maybe you want to mobilize the community around a specific topic. Whatever your goals are, make sure to list them in bullet form.

Who is this Session For?
This is where you help us understand who you are designing the session for. Help us understand who is your ideal target audience.

Choose the category that best describes your session
This year we have decided to not have themes. We are asking you to categorize your session for internal purposes – we want to make sure that the person(s) reviewing your session have expertise in your specific area.

Pick the supplies you need for your session
Help us understand what we need to provide you so that you can have the best session best. While strongly discourage the use of projectors, it is one of the items we can offer you.

Travel Support

As previous years, we are offering speakers the opportunity to apply to the IFF Diversity and Inclusion Fund which provides travel stipends to those who need financial assistance to attend the IFF.

If you do not need travel support, please pick “I do not need travel support.” option. However, if you need financial support to come to the IFF, you must indicate what type of travel support you need by picking one of the 4 options offered.

Only one presenter per session can be covered by the DIF and their email must be inputted in the indicated field “Email of the person to be awarded a travel stipend”

Please note that the demand for support far exceeds what we can offer. As such, we encourage you to only select the amount you need, and that if you have other options to support your participation, you pursue them. For some people, the Diversity and Inclusion Fund is the only option they have to attend the IFF.

We will also ask you if the person applying has received travel support in previous IFFs.

Public Display Name
The only personal information that will be shared with the public is your Display Name, as it will be listed in the IFF schedule, should your session be accepted. Your Display Name should be your real name or a pseudonym. Just make sure it’s something you feel comfortable sharing publicly.

Having your PGP key allows us the option to communicate with you securely, should we have to. If you do not have a PGP key, you can leave this section blank.

Demographic Info 
This year we are asking demographic information to help us better understand the IFF community and the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts. This is optional, and you are not required to fill it out. Your answers will also not impact the review of your sessions. This includes gender, your country of origin, if you identify as being part of a marginalized community, and/or a refugee diaspora community.

Check the boxes that most closely describe the work you do
This helps us understand the various disciplines that IFF participants come from, so we can better meet their needs. Pick as many as you like.

Professional Title, Organization and Project
These questions are optional but help reviewers and the IFF team understand where you are coming from.

I agree to respect and follow IFF’s Code of Conduct.
Get to know our Code of Conduct! This is a required question to answer.

Would you like to subscribe to the IFF Mailing List?
If you’re not already on the mailing list, add yourself! Optional question.

Would you like to receive a Mattermost invite?
It’s like Slack, but open source. This is where we have the Glitter Meetup, so join us!

Page 3: Account

At this stage, we’ll ask you to create an account. Remember that you cannot use your previous IFF login. This is a new system!

An account serves multiple purposes:

  • Let you see the status of your submission. Edits can be made before the deadline.
  • Connect you to the ticketing process.
  • Allows the IFF to connect with you directly!

Page 4: Give Yourself an Avatar

If you want, give yourself an avatar for the platform. The avatar may be publicly viewable if your session is approved.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I add more speakers to my session after I submit my proposal?
Easy! Either log into your account or click on your submission URL to add the email address of your co-speakers. They will be asked to create an account on the platform.

Can I edit my session proposal after I submit?
Yes! Please log into your account or click on your submission URL to make edits. You have until the deadline to make edits.

Can I save the submission and come back to it later?
At this time, no. However, you can always edit your session before the deadline!

When do I register for the IFF? Is it the same process?
Soon! We’ll be opening the registration process later. We’ll be using a similar platform.

Can I use my old account from previous years to apply?
No. This is a completely new system and database. Please do not try to log in with your old account.

Do you have more questions? Send your questions to team@internetfreedomfestival.org

Also published on the Internet Freedom Festival Community Stories Medium Publication.