All posts by Wendy Bolm

Wiscon 42 Volunteer Opportunities

Here we are again, and it’s already April! We have a few more volunteering opportunities, in the hope that getting you this information early will help you to plan your time at the convention.

First up: Make a High-Visibility Fashion Statement Volunteering with Safety

You’ve probably seen Safety volunteers in past years, because we do our best to make them hard to miss. They walk around the convention spaces carrying a binder while wearing an eye-catching (and stylish) high-visibility neon vest.

That could be you this year! It’s a great way to meet new folks and to see the whole convention — a Safety shift means you’ll move around the con, dipping in and out of parties, events, panels, workshops, readings… You’ll be asked to be observant, to listen respectfully to folks for whom the convention or other people have created stress, anxiety, or anger, to hand out taxi vouchers, to point out the restrooms, and to contact the appropriate person if you discover a problem that can’t be solved with a quick chat.

Volunteering for one or more Safety shifts is perfect if you enjoy helping people, and it can be satisfying to be able to help with the little things quickly: you’re the mobile person who can help out volunteers that have to stay at their posts like Art Show and Registration, who carries useful supplies, and who has a sympathetic ear. Safety welcomes folks who use mobility devices, or who can only make time in their schedule (or spoons budget) for a single shift.

Sign up now to let us know when you are available to lend a hand by visiting this form: https://goo.gl/forms/kjLIbNfc2CJncdQn2

Bakesale!

The James Tiptree, Jr Literary Award, an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender, was established at WisCon in 1991.We’ve held a bakesale to benefit the award at WisCon ever since.

Volunteering at the Bakesale is relatively easy and a lot of fun! You’ll help portion out the baked goods donated by WisCon members, make sure that allergen information is clearly displayed, and sell them. Best of all, Bakesale volunteer shifts come in convenient one-hour segments, so they are easy to fit into your day.

Sign up now to let us know when you are available to lend a hand by visiting this form: https://goo.gl/forms/NOnUcxSM6zfZQawo1

Kids’ Programs!

We’ve got some amazing and fun things planned for our Kids’ Programs this year, and we could use your help. These programs are for the 6-12 year olds who come to WisCon, and we’ll be doing crafts, building things, talking about books and movies, having experiments, visiting the pool…all sorts of stuff. We just need a few more people who are older than 12 to help make sure things go smoothly so that everyone can have a good time. That might mean that we ask you to help pick up Lego from the floor, or that you lead a parade of children on a field trip to the Art Show, or that you hand out fruit snacks, or that you get to pour the vinegar into a baking soda volcano. Or all of the above!

There are times available all through the day when you can potentially volunteer, and the time slots are each 90 minutes long, and exactly the same as the regular (teen and adult) panel schedule, so they’re really easy to fit into your day.

Let us know when you’d like to help by using this form: https://goo.gl/forms/EIwHp0kR8IvIr4Ff2
The Blue Tape Crew Needs YOU!
Want to help make WisCon more accessible? Are you an adhesion enthusiast? Perhaps you just like the color blue? WisCon’s Blue Tape Crew is looking for people who are available throughout the convention to set up and maintain accessibility features, such as blue tape markings for priority seating and wheelchair parking in panel rooms. Morning people or those operating on Eastern Standard Time are especially needed for early shifts! If you’re ready to Access-orize, please fill out our form linked here, or email access@wiscon.net. Want to learn more about Accessibility at Wiscon? Click here!

Important Updates to the TipTree Bake Sale (Plus Volunteer Info!)

We have a big change this year: The Bake Sale will be on FRIDAY from 1-5pm in room 627. (Same place, new day & time!)

If you’d like to contribute treats to the Bake Sale, here’s what you need to know:

  • DO bring a single batch or pan of whatever treat you’re making. If you want to make more than one type of treat, that’s fine, but we don’t want large batches of any one item.
  • DON’T bring a treat that requires refrigeration. This is a food safety issue: Non-perishable treats only, please!
  • DO cut up brownies or bar cookies ahead of time.
  • DON’T bring a store-bought treat. We really want the Bake Sale to be mainly items that we’ve made in our own kitchens to raise money for the Tiptree Award. (If you’re traveling from out-of-town or your before-Con baking time is running short, perhaps consider volunteering during the Bake Sale instead!)
  • DO bring your treats in a disposable plate or container, covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap if the container doesn’t have a lid. (If you absolutely can’t bring a disposable container, label your container with your name AND Con phone number.)
  • DO bring a list of ingredients for each treat you bring. WisCon has many members with food constraints, and we want as many people as possible to enjoy tasty baked goods! When making your list of ingredients, be particularly aware of the following allergens: wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts. The more information you can provide, the better!
  • DO follow basic food safety guidelines when preparing and handling food items: baking in a clean kitchen; hand-washing before touching baked goods or containers; storing in a cool, dry place; etc.
  • DO NOT BAKE if you or anyone in your household (including kids) is sick (especially with stomach- or digestive-related ailments, or with a viral infection). We will still love you, and will happily eat, er…, sell whatever you bring next year.

Dropping off your treats: Please bring your treats to Darrah in University A (AKA “The Green Room”, on the second floor, through the double doors near the elevator lobby) during the following times:

  • Thursday: 3pm-5pm, 7pm-10pm
  • Friday: 8am-12 noon

Please make every effort to drop off your treat during those hours; it’s more difficult for us to accept items once the Bake Sale is underway.

What should I make? Make whatever YOU like! Every year we see cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, fudge, and so much more. We love to see a huge variety of goodies come across the table, especially colorful or unusual items. (Chocolate treats are always popular!)

THANK YOU to everyone who’s willing to contribute treats for our Bake Sale! If you have other questions about baking, don’t hesitate to contact us at bakesale@wiscon.net .

Volunteering at the Bake Sale

In addition to bakers, we’re looking for volunteers to staff the Bake Sale for 1-hour shifts from 12:30pm to 5:30pm on FRIDAY (during & after the Gathering). Any time volunteering entitles you to our volunteer gift — ask about it at the Registration Desk. Six hours or more of volunteering entitles you to a 40% rebate on your WisCon membership; to claim this, ask for a volunteer rebate form at the Registration Desk.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please complete our Bake Sale Volunteer Form, and the Bake Sale team will follow up with you.

Questions? Contact us at bakesale@wiscon.net.

Wiscon Safer Spaces Update

As WisCon 42 draws closer, the Concom chairs and Anti-Abuse Team (AAT) would like to reaffirm WisCon’s stance on safer spaces. In short, WisCon supports its safer spaces and our members who use them and will not tolerate any attempt to compromise those spaces.

Why safer spaces?

A truly “safe” space is neither possible, nor is it desirable: even among marginalized people, there is a risk for harm, and what makes one person feel safe may make another person feel unsafe. A safer space acknowledges that the space is by its nature imperfect and constructed while still allowing it to exist as a welcoming place.

The intent of a safer space, then, is not to censor or restrict, but instead to offer marginalized people a supportive place to express themselves among others who share similar experiences. Marginalized people often face outside pressure to conform to a certain persona or expectation from a dominant group—to hold their tongues, to shrink, to take up less space. The day-to-day toll of being marginalized wears people down, and incidents that replicate oppressive power structures can arise even in a more self-aware space like WisCon. Thus, safer spaces offer a place for marginalized people to decompress and socialize away from the gaze of those with power and privilege over them. These safer spaces include rooms designated by WisCon to be safer spaces, such as the Trans/Nonbinary/Genderqueer Safer Space, as well as unofficial, WisCon-adjacent events, such as the POC Dinner.

Safer spaces and WisCon’s feminist/social justice legacy

Any space that purports to be feminist and social justice-oriented must acknowledge the multifaceted nature of people’s experiences and identities: that people of color, trans/nonbinary/genderqueer people, and disabled people, among others, deal with different forms of structural oppression than white, cis, and abled people. Creating a more just society requires that we work to dismantle these forms of oppression. Safer spaces are one way for WisCon to uphold that legacy of working toward equality and accessibility for all people.

Repercussions for attempts to compromise WisCon’s safer spaces

WisCon’s Code of Conduct provides an outline of WisCon’s definition of harassment and the process for reporting an incident. The Safety team enforces the Code of Conduct strictly with regards to safer spaces: any harassment toward people who use or are in these safer spaces, as well as general attempts to compromise these spaces, will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. These safer spaces are not an incidental part of WisCon but a core piece of its philosophy and practices that will be upheld to the fullest extent possible.

Please be aware that questions about the need for or effectiveness of safer spaces during WisCon should be directed to the Chairs, and not to users of those spaces, or any other WisCon member. WisCon’s membership are not asked or assumed to defend ConCom or SF3 practices on demand. Attempting to argue the merits of safer spaces with a member of a marginalized group will be considered harassing behavior.  

Many WisCon attendees who travel from elsewhere in the world, as well as elsewhere in the US, are coming to the midwest, to Madison—a place that they know may be unfriendly or even physically dangerous for them—in order to experience a convention that they believe is worth it. In return, WisCon will do what it can, as individuals and as a community, to make this place, for this weekend, as friendly and safe as possible. That includes giving folks a place where they can relax, catch their breath, and draw strength from each other. A place that they don’t need to defend, as WisCon will do so for them.

Signed,

The WisCon Chairs and Anti-Abuse Team

Hotel Info for This Year

Now that you’ve signed up for your panels, time to figure out where you’re going to sleep! It’s a very busy weekend in Madison and the hotel is filling up fast: currently the only way to book a room at the Concourse is through the WisCon room block. That means once our block is full, there won’t be any more rooms. So act fast!

You can reserve a room at the Concourse, our convention hotel, by:

  • Visiting the Concourse’s front desk
  • Using the Concourse’s special reservations link for WisCon
  • Calling the Concourse: 1-800-356-8293 — Make sure you mention WisCon when making your reservation.

All the information about the hotel and room reservations is at http://wiscon.net/hotel/.

We get a great discount on rooms, with a single room starting at $117, and a Governor’s Club room starting at $199. The Governor’s Club rooms are on the top three floors of the hotel and include access to a private lounge with free continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, coffee, and drinks. If you can afford it, consider checking in on the Thursday before the convention and enjoying the whole day on Friday. The last day to get these rates is April 26, or whenever the room block fills up.

If money is tight, you still have options. The most important one is the WisCon Affordability 6th floor room discount. You can enter the lottery to receive one room night FREE by emailing Affordability. More information is on this page. The deadline to enter is April 20.

If you’re a regular WisCon attendee thinking about long-term affordability, the Concourse has a rewards program: Points can be redeemed for gift cards, upgrades, and even free nights! Just ask at the front desk or check out the application at the bottom of this page.

Now is a good time to mention that the Concourse will also be selling food discount cards during the convention. The card is $10.00 and can be purchased at the hotel front desk. The discount is good for 20% off at CIRC Restaurant, The Bar, and room service. And it’s reusable for the duration of the convention, even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

WisCon has been held at the Concourse Hotel since 1995 and we have a great relationship with the hotel management and staff. You can read all about the hotel on their website.

WMAF Matching Fund Challenge!!

Hello from WisCon’s Fundraising team!

We’re thrilled to announce that a group of our generous WisCon Member Assistance Fund donors have set us a challenge to raise funds to meet the needs of the folks in our community who need a little help to attend.

Sigrid Ellis, Jesse the K, Andrea Hairston, Kayla Fouch, Jed Hartman, Phredd Groves, and Aqueduct Press have stepped up, combining forces to make your donations go twice as far, and matching your donations up to $2,600. We’re so incredibly grateful to them!

If you donate $10, thanks to their generosity and belief in WisCon, $20 will go into the Fund. Give now to help meet their challenge—head to our Donation page to send a check or set up recurring donations, or keep it simple and go straight to paypal.me/WisCon!

(By the way, you have seen our beautiful WMAF t-shirts, right?)

AV & Hand-Staffed Panel Requests – Do You Need A Special Request For Your Proposed Panel?

AV Requests for WisCon 42

As you who is reading this probably know, the Panel Surveys are currently live and will close on March 19th. However, some of you fine folk put in requests for special AV equipment when you submitted your proposed panel ideas. In order to best accommodate all parties, we ask that those of you who submitted requests for AV equipment outside of the standard microphone set up confirm that you still require said equipment.

To confirm, please email us at panels@wiscon.net with “AV Request – Your Submitted Panel Name” in the subject line, and what type of equipment (e.g., a screen, projector, etc.) you require in the body of the email by March 19th.

only those who submitted the panels which made the survey email us with these requests. To view the entire list of panels, please log in to your WisCon account, click “Sign Up For Programming”, then click the full list of proposed panels link.

Hand-Staffed Panel Requests for WisCon 42

You may have noticed that certain panels allow for only a “I would like to attend this panel” option. That is because the suggesters had requested that these particular panels be staffed with those folk who best fit with the marginalized identities about which the panels will discuss. If you have not already contacted us about hand-staffing your proposed panel, please email us at program@wiscon.net with “Hand-Staff Request – Your Submitted Panel Title” in the subject line, and who you would like to be on your panel in the body of the email by March 19th.

Questions/Concerns/Feedback can be sent to program@wiscon.net.

Thank you for your continued attendance, feedback, and support of WisCon as we finalize panels for this year.

Later Days,

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming

Support the WMAF, and…wear an awesome shirt!

Yes, you read that correctly—we’re asking for your donations to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) in TWO DIFFERENT WAYS!

You’ve always been able to support the WMAF via our Donate page, during the Registration process, or by using our direct Paypal link.

But now you can take care of your own need for clothing and benefit the WMAF at the same time! Sam Haney Press has designed artwork based on an idea from Nicasio Andres Reed (inspired by Woodie Guthrie) and we’re making it available on t-shirts! (And on a tote bag, which you will probably need to…carry the multiple t-shirts you are going to want to buy.)

CHECK. IT. OUT.

What’s more, you (yes, YOU!) benefit from our indecisiveness, as we have made this amazing artwork available printed in as many colors as we could manage onto as many colors and cuts of t-shirt as we could manage, while confirming that the garments are made ethically and that we can provide as broad a size range as possible.

We’re selling these shirts (and tote bags) via Teespring for a limited time: just until the end of WisCon 42, on May 28. 100% of the revenue we generate there goes into the WMAF.

What are you waiting for?! GO BUY SOME SHIRTS. Then come back and read more about the WMAF and donate if you can. <3

The WMAF has a single purpose: to help people travel to and enjoy WisCon. The WMAF awards attendees amounts up to $500, at whatever level they tell us they need to make their attendance possible. Keep in mind that WisCon is not just a convention: every Memorial Day weekend we create space to organize, to push back, to have restorative conversations, to make connections, and to build our dream of a better future.

As intersectional feminists, we know we can’t do that without striving for equity and taking concrete steps toward including as diverse a group of participants as possible in those spaces, conversations, connections, and dreams. A big part of how we foster inclusion and equity is WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund.

We need your donations to make this happen. Any amount you donate to WMAF makes a huge difference, and donations to WisCon are tax-deductible in the US.

Please give to put WisCon within reach!

Call for Con Suite Volunteers

It’s March already, and we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of planning WisCon. We’ve heard that people would like the opportunity to plan their volunteering early, so that they can make the most of their time at WisCon, so we’re sending you a form for volunteering in the Con Suite now!

The Con Suite takes MANY MANY people MANY MANY hours to create a good space with great food for everyone who needs it — either in order to afford to attend, or to make a hectic schedule of fun times work, or both. In order to make that happen, historically a few volunteers wind up spending their entire convention trapped in the Con Suite.

We don’t want that to happen, ever again.

In order to stop that happening, we want to try to have people work no more than 6 hours in the Con Suite over the course of the convention. (Just enough to qualify for the volunteer rebate, if you opt for it!) That means we need MORE VOLUNTEERS to work FEWER HOURS. 🙂 Please sign up! Without volunteers, we can’t keep the Con Suite open.

Please use this form to tell us what you’d be comfortable doing in the Con Suite, how you’d prefer to do it, and when you’d be available: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeJ6j11IQkNjCxJnPNwB3FJ9okEpJVND2hey4N227oyiOPPPA/viewform

THIS FORM DOES NOT COMMIT YOU TO ANY SHIFTS. It just tells us when you could potentially volunteer. We will reach out to you to confirm and make final assignments.

There are lots of ways to volunteer in the Con Suite! Early in the morning, late at night, just on Thursday, one or two hours every day, Monday only…

Thank you for being willing to help out, and we’ll see you in May. <3

Call for Artwork for the Souvenir Program Book Cover

We’re doing things a little differently this year, and the Souvenir Progam Book is currently looking for artwork for its cover. (This year, the Souvenir and Program Books will be combined!)

Dimensions–8×10, 300 dpi
 
Works in all media that can be easily scanned/laid out in an 8×10 cover are welcome!
 
Please send a proposal and 3-5 work samples. 
 
We pay $100!
 
Deadline for consideration is March 15.
 
Please send proposals for consideration to souvenirbook@wiscon.net

WisCon 42 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Is Open!!! Deadline to Submit Survey – March 19th

Panel Surveys are open until March 19th  Now’s the chance to give YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 42.  The survey is a big part on how programming is decided every year!  If you want to more about how panel programming, please view this post for a quick overview.

WisCon programming is divided into separate tracks which group related concepts together in order to facilitate interesting and complex discussions.  The current list of tracks are below:

  • Feminism and Other Social Change Movements
  • Power, Privilege, and Oppression
  • Spirituality, Organized Religion and Politics
  • Science and Technology
  • The Craft and Business of Writing
  • Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction
  • Fandom as a Way of Life
  • Interactive Storytelling and Media

You will need to a WisCon account in order to view the survey.  If you don’t have an account, create one at the “Create Your Account” page.  For those with an account already created, go to “Log in to My Account” page.  You should see the link to the survey once logged into your account.  Now, you can choose your panel interests on the panel sign up and attendance interest form!

For your convenience, we also provide a full list of proposed panel items. You may wish to open this link in a separate tab or window for ease of reference.

Questions/Concerns/Feedback can be sent to program@wiscon.net.

Thank you for your continued attendance, feedback, and support of WisCon as we finalize programming for this year.

 

Later Days,

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming

This Just In: WisCon 42 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Opens on February 26!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey will go live in 2 weeks! On February 26th, get ready to give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 42.

WisCon programming is divided into separate tracks which group related concepts together in order to facilitate interesting and complex discussions.  The current list of tracks are below:

  • Feminism and Other Social Change Movements
  • Power, Privilege, and Oppression
  • Spirituality, Organized Religion and Politics
  • Science and Technology
  • The Craft and Business of Writing
  • Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction
  • Fandom as a Way of Life
  • Interactive Storytelling and Media (Our Gaming track has evolved, friends!)

You will need a WisCon account in order to view the survey.  If you don’t have an account, create one at the “Create Your Account” page.  For those with an account already created, go to “Log in to My Account” page.  Come February 26th, you should see the link to the survey once you have logged into your account.

So mark February 26th on your calendars!

As always, questions/concerns/feedback can be sent to program@wiscon.net.

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming
WisCon 42

Art Show Call for Artists

Hello, artists! If you’re considering attending or sending art to WisCon this year, applications for the Art Show are open. The convention dates are May 25-28, 2018, and the deadline to apply is March 1. Late appliers will be waitlisted unless there is extra space. More information can be found at http://wiscon.net/events/art-show/, and the link to apply is https://account.wiscon.net/artshow-application/.

Please note a few significant cost-related changes: To continue covering the costs of the show, the commission WisCon takes on sales has gone up to 5% attending/10% mail-in. Also, mail-in artists will be required to cover return shipping for their unsold work (preferably by including a prepaid return shipping label in the box).

Finally, the convention has a programming theme this year: “What Does Justice Demand?” We’re inviting artists to consider incorporating the theme into their work for the show, although it’s not mandatory. See the blog post here for more about the theme: http://wiscon.net/2017/12/01/wiscon-42-trying-something-new/

Thank you!