Save the date for the 10th anniversary of RightsCon: June 7-11, 2021
Access Now is thrilled to announce that the 10th edition of the RightsCon Summit Series will take place entirely online and across every time zone from Monday, June 7 to Friday, June 11, 2021.
In 2011, we hosted the first-ever RightsCon (then the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference). We met with the intention to create something different: a civil society-led space where all stakeholders – from tech companies to government representatives to human rights defenders – could come together to build a rights-respecting digital future. Since then, RightsCon has rotated between five continents and grown, both in size and in scope, to meet the evolving needs of a movement.
In 2020, despite the loss of our shared physical spaces, we celebrated the largest, most inclusive event in our history. We welcomed 7,681 participants from 157 countries. We held 309 sessions across 10 programmatic tracks in every time zone. We built an online platform that continues to provide access to more than 100 archived sessions. For a full overview, read our Outcomes Report!
Our 10th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the evolving nature of our work, celebrate what our community has achieved, and chart a path forward in a moment where civil society spaces are under threat at unprecedented levels.
In 2021, it is our intention to further push the boundaries of what is possible at RightsCon, while continuing to build a global and interconnected online convening that’s shaped by all of us, together.
In our post-event survey, an overwhelming majority of you who responded shared that RightsCon Online was a positive experience (84%) and that RightsCon was a central convening space for your work (83%). You also helped shape our priorities moving forward by identifying where there are opportunities for us to rethink and readjust the RightsCon experience in an online environment.
Next year, we will create new spaces for participants to connect outside of programming, by reimagining online “hallway spaces,” facilitating structured and informal networking opportunities, revisiting our private meeting process, and reenvisioning “RightsCon After Dark.”
We will improve the accessibility of our platform and summit, refining the Connectivity Fund to better serve marginalized voices, exploring new ways to support multilingual and low-bandwidth content, and increasing outreach to potential new participants in underrepresented communities and regions.
We will expand and strengthen our public program, centering issues of critical importance, such as content governance and platform accountability, alternative models for business and labor, election integrity, and civil society resilience in the midst of coinciding crises. We’ll refine our session formats ahead of our Call for Proposals – launching next month in mid-November! – to support the design of excellent and effective proposals.
As we plan for next year, we will continue to evaluate when a return to an in-person summit may be possible, and explore the potential presented by new, hybrid models of convening. A successful event requires adequate planning time, and a positive participation experience requires an informed community. Our decision to meet online in 2021 is motivated by our commitment to creating a safe, sustainable, and accessible space for all of our community to convene.
Mark your calendars and prepare your proposals: we can’t wait for you to join us next year from June 7-11, 2021 for the tenth edition of RightsCon, the world’s leading summit on human rights in the digital age.