Call for Papers

The 2021 Call for Papers (CFP) is now open!


We are now seeking submissions from established technologists with many years of experiencetechnologists and community members that may be new to “open”, and everything in between. In addition, we are proudly seeking talks from traditionally underrepresented groups and organizations. In short, we’re seeking a diverse lineup as we firmly believe it delivers the most value to attendees.

Although 2020 was a challenging year on many levels, the number of talk submissions remained excellent and just over 250 speakers and talks were selected and featured at the event itself. Now that we’re “coming back from COVID”, we hope to see the number of submissions increase significantly and reflect a growing sense of optimism. 

Talk Submission Timeframe / Milestones

Tuesday, March 30 – 2021 CFP Opens
Friday, April 30 – 2021 CFP Closes
Monday, May 3 – Initial communication from the ATO team
Monday, May 17 – Status updates and decision related emails will “be in full swing”

*Please note we may reach out to people before and/or after the above dates. Unexpected events happen and variables often change, as with COVID last year. We also encourage questions and comments to be directed to the ATO team at [email protected] anytime. We will respond quickly. 

Talk Formats

  1. 15-minute keynote in front of a plenary audience.
  2. 15-minute “burst” talk designed to highlight a topic/micro-topic delivered on a traditional track. Much like a 45-minute session, but shorter.
  3. Traditional 45-minute session.
  4. Extended 1.5 – 4.0 workshop session.

Topics, Tracks, and Technologies – What We’re Looking For

Topics we’re looking to highlight, this year tracks to be featured, and technology examples for anyone interested can be found here.

Talk Topics of Interest

Event/Conference Format

Because there is still much uncertainty in the world around COVID we are taking a “Virtual-First” approach in 2021. Meaning, at the very least we will host a virtual conference and “the show will go on” regardless of COVID status.

However, if COVID vaccinations increase in frequency and accessibility we hope to host a hybrid conference, meaning Day 1 (Monday, October 18) will be virtual and Day 2 (Tuesday, October 19) will be in person in downtown Raleigh, NC USA. While anything can happen of course, we are staying positive and hoping for the best. Because of this, please note you will have the option of choosing 1). I will only deliver a virtual talk(s), 2). I will only deliver the talk(s) in person/onsite, and 3). I’m open to either the virtual and/or in person/onsite format.

We will of course provide updates to selected speakers consistently throughout the process and as the situation evolves.

Why Speak at All Things Open 2021?

1 Access to a Large and Sophisticated Audience

All Things Open is the largest open-source/tech/web event on the East Coast of the U.S. In 2019, the last year of in-person attendance, nearly 5,000 attended from 41 U.S. states and 27 countries. Last year, in 2020, nearly 7,500 registered and participated from all over the world. Keynote talks are routinely delivered to thousands (3,000+ in 2019) and breakout sessions are often overflowing. In addition, attendee “type” varies widely and encompasses technologists, decision-makers, and those in the education space.

A few stats from 2019
A few stats from the 2020 virtual event
2 Tremendous Networking Opportunities

We place great importance on networking and meeting new people, and we structure the event with this in mind. Virtual networking opportunities will be available for speakers and multiple in-person socials (if applicable) will be available before, during, and after the conference as well as after-hour events hosted by partners designed to promote education, communication, and sharing.

3 Speaker Assets Made Available

If a virtual-only event, we record all talks and promote recordings on our YouTube channel post-event, to further enhance speaker exposure and reach. In addition, we’re happy to make raw files available to be used at the discretion of the speaker. If in-person, we regularly make photos available post-event from each session, to be used however the speaker chooses. We can also arrange for “special” pictures to be taken with enough advanced notice and planning. 

4 Fellow Speaker Introductions

Upon request, we’re happy to introduce speakers to other event speakers. We of course will seek the approval of the speaker on the receiving end of the request, but upon approval will immediately make the connection. 

5 Speaker-Specific networking Opportunities 

We fully understand speakers find tremendous value in meeting other speakers and sharing information, ideas and expertise. If onsite, we host a stand-alone speaker lounge (entirely optional) as well as a Speaker/Sponsor dinner designed to give you additional face-to-face opportunities.

6 Our Commitment to Diversity

We strongly feel a diverse event bringing together diverse people and backgrounds results in the best possible experience for everyone. We routinely feature a speaker lineup representing diverse backgrounds and levels of experience, and we always partner with historically underrepresented organizations to offer scholarships and ensure members of historically underrepresented groups and organizations attend and participate. 

In addition, we consistently feature programming focused on the topics of diversity and inclusion. Examples include the stand-alone Diversity & Inclusion in Technology and Open Source event (2021 will be the 5th year we’ve hosted this mini-conference), a dedicated panel discussion on D&I Leadership and Best Practices, and multiple track sessions focused on this most important topic. Similar programming is planned for 2021 and into the future.

7 Travel Assistance for Speakers

We strongly feel a diverse event bringing together diverse people and backgrounds results in the best possible If there is an in-person component to Al Things Open 2021, and we certainly hope there will be, our policy is as follows…

The team at All Things Open considers all travel assistance requests from speakers on a case-by-case basis. We’re a small team/organization and proudly keep registration costs low to maximize accessibility. Because of this, our budget is limited. We do give priority consideration to independent and historically underrepresented individuals as diversity and inclusion remain important goals and have been from the beginning. If you have questions or would like to speak to us about our policy please contact us directly at [email protected].

13 Tips for Getting your Talk Accepted

We wrote an article on last year called “13 tips for getting your talk accepted at a tech conference”. We feel it includes a number of best practices that might be helpful. It’s about a 5 minute read and can be found here

Fill out my online form.