This summer I’ve been taking Farmification to Girls in Tech and DLDwomen and became aware of both the enthusiasm and critiques of ‘women’s conferences’. I take a pinch of salt from both extremes but as a student of the fringe I believe it’s an important contender in the spectrum of ‘knowledge gatherings’.

The stereotypes of “conferences for women by women” isn’t  necessarily negative. There’s never been more hormone-fuelled enthusiasm and honesty, although I’d never felt so much pressure to have my cloths pressed and hair polished before entering the door. At DLDw I chirped on stage about how I loved that I could get a manicure right before speaking (only to ruin them immediately after). The lovely Lukas Kubina, who introduced the session, was probably traumatised from having to carry my laptop around the conference as I waved around helplessly with fluorescent wet nails.

There’s also a long, extensive interview at It was rather amusing to watch the presenter Philip Banse wiggling uncomfortably in his seat as I spoke further and further into the ‘designs’ with the fringe. I had the strange feeling of being a member of an old boys’s club as handsome young model-looking men started to be ‘stationed’ at each bar in the after party. As the  ‘boy-scorts’ started conversing with me in their standardised charm, I found myself stumbling for replies going ‘er, I’ve forgotten how to talk to men after being surrounded by women for the past week”. Essentially, it was like when I was 17, having just come out of an all girls high school…


Random Stuff

I was at sheer wonder over at the opulent Bayerische Hof. One could swim in its pool over the ancient red domed roofs of old Munich and where I was dismissed from breakfast tables when I appeared in gym cloths and no makeup. It was a completely different world to my usual ‘fringescape’, that is until I saw the Micheal Jackson memorial in front of it.

Phew, the world is just as weird and wonderful as it should be!


Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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