We acknowledge that some folks who applied to speak and were not selected may feel disappointed, and we totally understand that. If time and budget allowed, we would have loved to have selected many more. But we do have good news for you! In addition to the speakers and talks we’ve already curated, there will also be the chance to speak, lead, or facilitate unconference sessions. (Note: you will need to be an attendee to host a session.)

What are unconference sessions?

Outlier is divided into two types of sections: curated and open, with the schedule alternating between the two.

Curated sections will look similar to the standard “conference structure”, with a higher focus on talks, with only one talk at the time. The open sections will consist of unconference sessions, will have several tracks running concurrently, and will be fleshed out based on the interests and preferences of the attendees.

Alternating between curated and open sections. Check the agenda for all the unconference times.

These open portions will allow all attendees to create their own session. These sessions can be about almost anything. They could include talks, discussions, panels, games, or an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Most will probably be dataviz-related, but some might not! Nevertheless, they’ll all connect people from the dataviz space who have similar interests.

Creating an unconference session

These sessions are made for attendees by attendees; therefore, you will need to be a ticket holder to be involved. You’ll be able to sign up to host a session through the conference app on Android, Apple, or through the web app. Applications will open the night before the conference starts (February 3rd).

Even though you cannot sign up to host a session just yet, you can start planning! What kind of session will you create? Will you host it yourself, or with someone else?

Session types

For the most part, sessions can be whatever you like! You can do a session in any style or format, we’ve included some examples below. Where possible please provide the style/format in your description so people know what they are signing up for.

  • Talk
  • Panel
  • Discussion
  • Q&A / AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • Hands On (e.g., workshop, hackathon, sketching contest)
  • Fun / Misc (e.g., games, music, etc.)


Ideas for session topics

This is totally up to you (as long as it does not violate the Code of Conduct, of course), so we’d suggest whatever you’re excited about! We imagine a lot of the sessions will be focused around data visualization topics. However, we also encourage people to plan sessions around topics that are only minorly tangential to data visualization, as well as topics that have NOTHING to do with data visualization. We believe that two people connecting over non-dataviz topics (e.g., animal welfare, hiking, etc.) or non-dataviz activities (e.g., yoga, games, etc.) is also a really great thing and we want to encourage that. 🙂

Some examples of potential sessions are:

  • Start an interesting debate or discussion about deep issues (e.g., a discussion around the data visualization of issues such as COVID-19 or election polling)
  • Organize or suggest a panel on a popular topic
  • Lead a workshop on your favorite tool
  • Host an AMA; share your expertise
  • Host a game, lead a yoga session, or some other fun activity
  • Give an informal talk on something you’re excited about
  • Share your obscure hobby
  • Tell us about a niche area of dataviz you’ve fallen into
  • Share a live-coding session
  • Whatever else you can think of!

Join us!

We encourage you to start planning your sessions! We’ll be sending details to attendees on how to sign up soon. If you don’t have your tickets yet, you can snag them here!