Business News

Inspirefest 2016 highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion

By Business & Finance
01 July 2016
Pictured at Inspirefest are Judith Williams, global head of Diversity, Dropbox; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and HR officer, Accenture; and Ann O’Dea, founder, Inspirefest

Inspirefest 2016 opened yesterday at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre where more than 50 leading international thinkers address a range of key science, tech and arts issues facing the world today.

Inspirefest is an international festival of technology, science, design and the arts, which also happens to place diversity and inclusion at its heart.

The core two-day conference kicked off yesterday June 30th and continues today.

Yesterday, speakers discussed issues as diverse as the potential of philosophy to improve health services; the opportunities presented by the convergence of arts and technology; the changing nature of the media landscape, the rapidly evolving world of work, and how the collaborative economy is changing our lives quite dramatically at the sci-tech event.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny opened proceedings at the two-day event. “We need a cultural shift in mindset,” stated Kenny. “As those here today will be well aware, you do not have to be in a laboratory wearing a white coat to be a scientist or an innovator, nor do you have to paint on a canvas to be an artist. Science is everywhere and art can be made from anything.”

Ann O’Dea, founder, Inspirefest, noted: “The point is not about numbers of male vs females on stage, it’s the richness of backgrounds and diversity leading to rich conversations.”

Also taking place are evening events in Merrion Square from 6pm to 10pm. Access to Inspirefest Fringe is free to all Inspirefest attendees, though a limited number of Fringe-only tickets are available for €20 per night, with all proceeds going to Focus Ireland and Fighting Blindness.

The Expo Tent at Fringe features wonderful interactive exhibitions from the world of science and tech, while theatre shows and music acts. Acclaimed Irish musician Lisa Hannigan is the main attraction tonight.