About this Cookbook:#

This cookbook is intended as a resource for organizers of conferences and events — with a particular focus on the tech sector in the United States — to support and encourage diversity and inclusion at those events.

It focuses specifically on plans, decisions, and actions organizers can take to produce and manage a more diverse and inclusive event.

Funding to produce this cookbook was made possible by a generous grant from the Moore Foundation .

What this Cookbook is not:#

This cookbook is not intended to provide general instructions on how to run a successful conference or event. We do not provide any specific advice about budgeting, scheduling, A/V capabilities, how to structure tracks, etc.

Some “basic” best practice is understood to be a prerequisite for many of our recommendations. For example, live-captioning support for the hearing-impaired is not possible without reliable internet and good A/V setup. In general, we have avoided explicitly calling out these implied dependencies in order to maintain focus and keep the cookbook to a more manageable length.

This cookbook also does not offer reasons or rationale for why inclusion and diversity are important. The cookbook presumes the organizing committee is already interested in improving diversity and inclusion at their conference or event, hence the suggestions herein are focused on the “how” rather than the “why”.


We sincerely appreciate the efforts and input of the many individuals who contributed to the creation of this cookbook. We also thank the numerous individuals and organizations whose work we have drawn from in order to compile this cookbook. Resources we consulted are collected at the end of each section under the heading “Further Reading”.

  • In particular, we thank:

    • The NumFOCUS DISC Committee members who compiled the initial skeleton of this cookbook: Jennifer Klay, Reshama Shaikh, and Gina Helfrich. And those who set up this page: Mwai Karimi, Bojan Božić and Leonie Mueck

    • Participants in the 2017 DISC Unconference who expanded and elaborated upon the initial skeleton: Kasia Rachuta, Ashley Otero, Dave Clements, Sarah Supp, Raniere Silva, and Tania Allard.

Other Considerations#

Further reading:

Special Considerations Depending on Geographic Context#

  • Most of the material contained herein is written from the U.S. perspective (e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections).

  • Something to be aware of: some U.S. states may have discriminatory laws in place which could affect whether or not you should choose to host an event or conference there.

  • We welcome input on considerations for events and conferences in other countries.

  • Additional considerations made need to be made for very remote event locations with no public transit, e.g. for folks who are mobility impaired.


NumFOCUS invites the community to make suggestions for improvements to the DISCOVER Cookbook via pull request (PR). PRs will be evaluated by the NumFOCUS DISC Committee and/or its volunteers. PRs should be written so as to conform to the NumFOCUS Contributor Code of Conduct.

For a full statement of the NumFOCUS DISC Program mission and the NumFOCUS position on diversity and inclusion, please see Diversity and Inclusion.