CSSconf.EU
May 31st 2019

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Tl;dr: CSSconf EU 2019 will be the last edition of the event in its current form. We will not return in 2020. We still love organizing community events, but we’ll take a break to consider what’s next.

Our sister conference JSConfEU is joining us in this decision. Read the JSConf EU post.

By Kriesse, Lucie, Lukasz

CSSconf EU grew out of the motivation to create something which was urgently needed in the web development world: a place for CSS developers to meet, to exchange ideas, and to discover the community. From the time that idea was conceived it took only a few busy months before the doors of Villa Elisabeth were opened for 190 attendees in September of 2013. Driven by the excitement of creating one of the first major gatherings for CSS developers, Michael and Kriesse worked through nights and weekends. By the time we finally got on stage to welcome the audience, we hadn’t even found the time to change our clothes from setting up the venue all night. At the end of the day, the many heartfelt words we received from speakers and attendees, thanking us for giving them a place to talk about their passion and to finally meet others who shared that passion, made it all so worth it. Also, of course, we swore to never do it again.

Since then, we have run CSSconf EU in Berlin five times, growing in size, budget and impact with each edition.

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CSSconf EU 2019: Bigger, better, and the last one

2019 will be our 6th event. We expect up to 700 attendees, 20+ talks on 3 stages, and more adjacent events, initiatives and art projects completing the day than ever before. We keep trying to improve and to offer a great community experience for as many as possible: We strive to offer even more scholarships than last year. For the first time we will host a dedicated space for BIPoCiT. We will feature an art exhibition. We will provide a quiet room. We will also add live captioning as well video recording to the community lounge, which has evolved into a full second track during the last years, with its own program of talks representing the local CSS scene. Our team – which collaborates very closely with the JSConf EU team – consists now of 3 organizers (Kriesse, Lucie, Lukasz) and over 30 volunteers. The team has been active since August, barely taking a break after the last event. In addition we manage paid professional staff of a 200+ people, from event organizers over catering crew to builders, security, fire staff, and childcare specialists.

In 2019 we also reached the limit of what can be responsibly handled by our volunteer team. The small community gathering we set out for has evolved into a 3 day event weekend with over 1600 attendees in total, 60+ flights and 100+ hotel stays to book, 120 scholarships to cover and a dozen visas to organize. The cost of all this exceeds one million Euro (more on this in our finance report). Our very time-consuming and incredibly rewarding hobby of organizing an event has evolved into an all-year full-time job.

The CSS Community is alive and has found its place

One more thing has changed since 2013: the urgency to give the CSS community a place to meet. We’ve seen countless meetups and conferences pop up around the globe dedicated to this previously overlooked community. Our own CSSconf event series is alive and growing, with the newest addition being CSSconf Colombia starting in Medellin next year.

When we announced CSSconf EU 2013, we were met with disbelief and mockery – “How can you talk an entire day about CSS??” In 2019, we don’t hear that anymore. Instead, there is now an active and confident debate about how CSS developers are often marginalized, relatively underpaid and intersecting with already marginalized groups in technology. And we are proud to have been able to advance this discourse at CSSconf EU (e.g. in Ivana McConnell’s talk about CSS and the hierarchy problem).

Taking a break to reconsider how we can contribute to the community

We, the organizer team of CSSconf, are excited to watch the CSS community grow, mature, and gather in many diverse real-life events. And we are proud that for some of them, we have been an inspiration and role model with our work for CSSconf EU. At the same time, having grown CSSconf EU to its current size and complexity, we often wonder when we have all given up our developer jobs and become full-time event organizers. We wonder if the energy, experience and time that we are donating to the community (a privilege and luxury we are all very aware of!) is still invested best in organizing an event at this scale. Or if the time has come to shift our focus and contribute elsewhere. We wonder if the event format the web community needs will still be “CSS”, “JS”, or any language-centric topic at all. Shall we specialize even more? SVGConf, DesignSystemConf, HoudiniConf? Or should we think bigger and organize FrontendConf? WebConf? Should we stop flying speakers around the globe and run more smaller local events? Or use the power and budget of a large event like ours to do precisely that: to bring people from different countries and origins together in one place?

We don’t yet have the answers to these questions. We’ll pour all our energy into CSSconf EU 2019. We still love organizing events. We love seeing how people come together and create something amazing. We’ll be back, we’re just not quite sure when and how.


We want to thank all attendees, speakers, artists, volunteers, CSSconf family organizers, sponsors for your work, your support and your trust. We hope to see many of you at the end of the month, on May 31st 2019, in Berlin for our final edition, CSSconf EU – the last in its current form.


We also look forward to hear your thoughts on this, directly to contact@cssconf.eu or on Twitter @cssconfeu.

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