Mission Statement

The mission of the International Society for Artificial Life’s DEI committee is to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the ISAL community. While studying “life as it could be”, we must not ignore “life as it is” and this committee’s goal is to consider the Artificial Life community as it could be and as it currently is. Our vision is that ISAL becomes a community known as a safe haven for everyone, especially people who are underrepresented and discriminated against in the many larger fields that artificial life combines. We believe that achieving this vision requires a focus on inclusion, retention, and access to decision-making committees by members of underrepresented communities. Through this focus, we can ensure that “life as it could be” is achieved fully for all current and future members of our community.

Community DEI Form

The International Society for Artificial Life has a committee dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. If you have a comment, concern, question or complaint that you would like the DEI committee to address/know, we would really like to hear from you. You are able to remain anonymous if you prefer and we value the information that you provide in either case. The information you submit goes to the Chair and Vice Chair of the DEI committee (see Members section below). They may share your comment/concern/question with others if necessary to address it but will not share your personal information without your permission.

Form link: https://forms.gle/36YGa2iCPYzRBgT2A

The following are examples of specific concerns that would be appropriate to report through this form:

  • Doxxing: making public, without explicit permission, sensitive information (physical or email address, phone numbers, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, and other personal information individuals may not want publicly known)
  • Harassment of any kind, for example insults; derogatory, degrading or lewd comments; improper gestures; bullying; threats; violence; shouting or preventing others from talking during meetings or conferences
  • Discriminatory behavior or practices, including discriminatory comments during meetings, conference discussions and talks, or in papers and paper reviews; traditions or processes that exclude part of the community based on identity or resources
  • General concerns about the lack of diversity of, or accessibility to the ALife community and its various decision boards
  • Concerns about ISAL or ALife events or directions that are potentially unethical or would create an exclusive environment
  • Accessibility concerns regarding the physical locations of the ALife conference or the websites associated with the ALife community
  • Encouraging others to violate the code of conduct or to engage in the behaviors described above


Anya E. Vostinar (Chair)

Lana Sinapayen  (Vice Chair)

Imy Khan (ERA Representative)

Luis Zaman

Acacia Ackles 


Active Projects

ISAL Awards process and rubric

Finished Projects

ISAL Mission Statement Development

ISAL Code of Conduct 

ISAL Community Survey (Survey) (Results)

ISAL Awards Memo


The membership of the DEI committee is open to any and all that would like to help out with current projects or start new projects. Please contact one of the elected members or fill out the Community DEI form to join!

Call for Participation

The DEI committee is hoping to add to our members so that we can tackle all of the many projects that would benefit the ISAL community. We are aiming for a small time commitment structure, so if you are interested in helping but worried about the time commitment, please read on.


The full committee meets once every two months and communicates via Slack in-between meetings. Going forward, we are planning to focus on researching and writing memos of value to the ISAL Board of Directors and ISAL community. We are expecting two people to work together on each memo before presenting it to the rest of the committee, the board, and posting publicly for the larger community. Members can work on as many or as few memos as they wish, therefore keeping the minimum commitment small.

Memo Topics

There are several memos that we have already identified as important for the community and so if you are excited about one of these topics, we would love for you to get involved:

  • ALIFE review processes from a DEI perspective
  • Guidelines on forming committees from a DEI perspective
  • Advice for ALIFE conference organizers on evaluating social activities from a DEI perspective
  • ISAL awards processes from a DEI perspective
  • Plans for a DEI fund to support initiatives requiring money

We would also love suggestions on other topics that you think would be beneficial to include in this list.




  • “Cat wrangler” ie makes sure the meetings happen and brings summary/action items/etc to board
  • Bring committee’s voice to the ISAL board and bringing back feedback
  • Organize attendance at ISAL board (either attend personally or appoint a delegate for non-voting meetings)
  • Ensure to stay focused on agenda and clarifying decisions/priorities agreed

Vice Chair

  • Representative for the Chair when the Chair is unable to attend
  • support Chair in fulfilling responsibilities
  • Fill in for Secretary if needed


  • Organize meetings
    • Make meeting time poll (such as WhenIsGood), pick time, and announce using tool the makes timezones clear (such as Time.Is)
  • Keep track of email list, Slack, and other organizational tools (Trello)
  • Run elections/other votes


  • Rotates through volunteers
  • Record meeting minutes

ERA Representative

  • Chosen by ERA

Other members

  • Can be asked to attend ISAL Board meetings when no vote is needed
  • Tasks as decided by the committee



  • Generally people will hold elected positions for 2 years


  • Any member of the committee can run for Chair/Vice Chair/Secretary, though a member may only hold one position at a time
  • Members will first express an interest in running for each position
  • In the event of a contested election:
    • The current secretary will organize the elections for chair and vice chair unless they are running for either position, in which case another member of the committee that is not running for a position will organize the election; if the current secretary is not able to run the election for any reason, another member of the committee may be chosen to run the elections
    • The new chair will then organize the election for secretary 
    • For the chair election, those running can (optionally) make written statements about their motivations for the chair position and their overall vision for the committee and will distribute those written statements in a manner decided by the member organizing the election (for example via Slack or email)
    • For each election, an anonymous vote will be taken through a tool that has some mechanisms for preventing multiple votes (for example, PollTab)
    • The voting will be open for at least two weeks and shared via the DEI committee email list and Slack

Removal of Members

Generally the DEI committee has an open membership policy, meaning that anyone who wants to join the committee is welcome to do so. However, there are circumstances where someone may be removed from committee membership:

  • If an individuals’ behavior or circumstances are of concern to members of the committee, those members should notify the Chair (or Vice Chair if the Chair is the member of concern) and the Chair (or Vice Chair) will warn the member of the concern. After the warning, if needed, an anonymous vote to remove the member can be conducted.
    • The vote should be through a tool that prevents multiple voting, such as PollTab
    • The vote must remain open for 2 weeks and be announced on Slack and the email list
    • Membership to the committee will be temporarily closed immediately before the vote and reopened immediately after the voting period has ended (to prevent new committee members from joining just for the sake of the vote)
    • If the member is voted off of the committee, they may appeal to the Board of Directors
  • If removal/prevention from serving on the DEI committee is decided as appropriate through the Code of Conduct process
  • If they have been inactive for more than 1 year
    • An active member is defined as someone who has attended a DEI committee meeting or posted to the Slack channel or email list within the past six months