June 7-8, 2018 | New York Law School



The theme of PDF 2018 is “How We Make Good,” with a focus on two inter-related questions:

  • How we make good on creating, strengthening, and securing  democracy and its core institutions.
  • How we make sure that tech acts as a force for good in the civic life of  the citizens of democracy.

This year, we're rewriting the script

We’re changing:


This year at PDF, we’re going to focus on meaningful action and collaboration. This year, PDF will be about plugging you into the process of change-making.

And this year, we want to make sure we all make good…on our promises, on our values, on ensuring that tech works for social justice, on defending democracy, and on creating a future that we all will want to live in.

New Venue

This year, we will be at New York Law School in New York City’s Tribeca, a more intimate venue better suited to collaboration.

New Format

On both days of PDF, we’ll start together in plenary session. To get warmed up, we’ll hear a few fast five-minute talks and demos. And then we’ll go deep for the rest of the morning, with six hand-picked anchor keynote talks, each followed by audience Q&A.

Then, after a networking lunch, you’ll dive in to a 90-minute workshop session, led by those anchor keynotes, with some supporter speakers and assisted by expert facilitation.

The day will end with PDFopen, 90 minutes of unconference-style talks, breakouts, speed-dating and demos generated by conference participants.

The goal: to help you connect with the people, ideas, and movements that are making good, right now.

Finally, to make sure those relationships have the best chances to form and stick, we’re building an online community discussion board for attendees to start the conversation and share resources well before June, and to ensure that it keeps going afterward.


Do you have an idea for an unconference session during PDFopen, such as a workshop, demo, training, performance, or something else? Do you have a 5-minute talk everyone should hear? Do you think you have an anchor talk that could sustain an interesting workshop after?

Let us know!


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Topics we'll be covering

  • Modernizing the critical infrastructure of democracy
  • Figuring out how to boost voter turnout to 80% by 2024
  • New experiments in liquid democracy
  • Reinventing local democracy in the wake of the 2016 election
  • Moving online participation to offline engagement

  • How social media platforms are damaging democracy
  • Building a healthier media system
  • Combating peer-to-peer misinformation
  • Designing systems that reinforce trust rather than mistrust

  • Challenging how surveillance technologies punish the poor
  • Fostering a code of ethics for data practitioners
  • Freedom cities versus smart cities

Where we'll be


Interested? Contact us about sponsorship at sponsorship[-at-]personaldemocracy.com