“I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land and pay my respects to the Elders both past and present.”

As a sign of respect, every public event in Australia starts with acknowledging the native population. That’s what we did, too, and I find it a beautiful gesture. If you want to read more about this tradition, you can read about it here.

The AST has had its yearly CAST conference in the US (and Canada) since 2004. Its focus on confering and a high level of interaction has been the role model for many other conferences world wide. We believe that the AST has done its fair share to make the conference scene better.

Since CAST always resided on the North American continent, many of our members had significantly long travel schedules required in order to participate. So we thought it might be worth a try to change that and organize a conference in Australia. We named it CASTx17.

We the board members are all volunteers and it became evident to us that we cannot do it all by ourselves, so we got a professional event organizer involved who did all the negotiations with the venue. With Anne-Marie Charrett we found a passionate programme chair whom we could trust with coming up with a world-class programme. Alessandra Moreira and I acted as co-conference chairs.

Time progressed fast and rather soon I found myself in a plane heading for Sydney. Our venue, the Grace Hotel, is a beautiful art deco building and the conference floor was perfect for CASTx17. We were ready to go.

CASTx17 was a two day conference, one day with tutorials and one full conference day. You can find the full programme here. I believe we achieved variety in many dimensions: a good gender balance among the speakers and delegates, technical vs. non-techical tracks, local vs. international speakers. Besides some minor hiccups with the projectors, the conference ran quite smoothly and the delegates seem to have enjoyed the conference.

I would like to thank a few people for their engagement:

  • My board colleagues Alessandra Moreira and Eric Proegler for their amazing energy and focus on details
  • Sunil Kumar who made sure we had a classy programme printed and who helped with so many small details
  • Dawn Haynes for her smooth organization of the welcome desk and for her general awesomeness
  • Valerie Gryfakis for all her work in finding the venue and taking care of the logistics
  • The team from Atlassian who ran a test lab at the conference and who were our main sponsor

We are considering future conferences in Australia, and we also hope to make CASTx a regular event. If you have ideas or suggestions on how to make the conference even more awesome, we are happy to hear your thoughts.

Ilari Henrik Aegerter, for the Association for Software Testing