Campin’ Chicago, Skepchickally

The last few weeks in Chicago have been a skeptical bar adventure marathon! We had Data Jack and his lovely wife head-up a mass exodus from Wisconsin (however temporary) to Chicago. Then we had Ubermoogle one up them by traveling here from Canada, bringing in even more people from Wisconsin to meet him. And last weekend, blowing off Dragon*Con for HemantMehtaCon, we got to hang out with some pretty rad-ass Brits! In the middle of all that, there was a regularly scheduled skeptics meet-up and a first ever skeptic parents and preschooler/toddler/baby meet up! We’re getting pretty critical-thinkinged out over here!

No, actually, we’re not. And I think we need to keep this party going. In fact, I’m thinking we should kick this bitch up a notch. The success of the last few weeks, especially the increase in the number of lady-types, has inspired me to head up the very first ever Skepchicamp! But, I’m going to need your help… because that’s how these things work.

Skepchicamp is bascially just Skepticamp, but we’re going to place our focus on women and womeny topics. If you’re completely unfamiliar with the whole Skepticamp/Barcamp concept, let me explain it to you by completely ripping off the Skepticamp wiki:

What is SkeptiCamp?

SkeptiCamps are informal, community-organized events born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. Everyone from casual skeptics to the experienced participate, give talks and get to know each other.

It’s a new kind of BarCamp, an ‘unconference’ whose content is provided by the attendees themselves. Where BarCamp focuses on technology, SkeptiCamp instead focuses on science advocacy, critical thinking, pseudoscience, paranormal claims, alternative medicine and the hundreds of topics of interest to skeptics.

This means that, while I’m responsible for coming up with the idea, everyone is responsible for everything that happens at Skepchicamp. And while it’s free to attend, you don’t get in without contributing to the conference. This means you could speak, help organize, donate supplies or manpower or expertise, or make some other contribution… like purchasing beer for the conference. Also, this is not limited to just women… but rather, focused on women. Boys are totally welcome!

So obviously, to get this off the ground, I’m going to need your help. This is a call to action! I want to set a target date for some time in February, and have our first planning meeting some time in the next few weeks. If you’re interested in coming to the first planning meeting, please let me know. I’m hoping to hold it on a Saturday afternoon, in a central-ish location with Wi-Fi. Suggestions for a planning HQ and date are welcome!

Who’s in?


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

Related Articles


  1. Wish I lived near Chicago and not L.A. so I could help out more. The best I can do is offer my services as a volunteer proofreader/copyeditor should you need it. (I have plenty of professional experience and am happy to submit a resume!)

  2. Not many skeptics know that there actually has been a women-oriented skeptic conference in the past. It occurred more than a decade back in Boulder, Colorado and featured talks by Eugenie Scott and Carol Tavris.

    While the Boulder event is mostly a footnote in the history of skepticism, I dare say that ‘Skepchicamp’ has far greater potential, not only for the Chicago-area event as it grows in the years to come, but also in seeing similar events like it around the world. Speakers won’t simply be drawn from academia, but from demographics as broad as you dare.

    And I’m a bit humbled that it’ll be based on SkeptiCamp. I’ll do my best to join you. :)

  3. If anyone has any suggestions of places that we could hold planning meetings, I’d like to hear them.

    Somewhere with free WiFi.

    I think I’m aiming for the first Saturday or Sunday in October for the first planning meeting.

  4. It should also be someplace where we can be a little isolated from the rest of the clientele. Not because we’re so scary, but because we can get LOUD!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button