All posts by Wendy Bolm

One Week Away! WisCon 43 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Opens on February 25!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey will go live in 1 week! On February 25th, get ready to give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 43.

 WisCon Panel 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 a WisCon account in order to view and take 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 25th, you should see the link to the survey once you have logged into your account.

This is a very important stage of Panel Programming. The more people who participate in the survey and sign up for and/or rate the panels, the better chance you will have at seeing your panel selections on the final schedule. We understand that completing the survey can be laborious, but doing so is completely for your benefit.

So mark February 25th on your calendars!

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

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming
C.J. Hawkins, Panel Programming
WisCon 43

ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 20

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal for our Academic Programming track, you still have time!

We will now be accepting academic proposals until February 20.

If you are ready to submit but missed the deadline, please use this form.

If you need more information on what we’re looking for check out our Academic Programming page.

This Just In: WisCon 43 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Opens on February 25!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey will go live in 2 weeks! On February 25th, get ready to give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 43.

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 a WisCon account in order to view and take 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 25th, you should see the link to the survey once you have logged into your account.

This is a very important stage of Panel Programming. The more people who participate in the survey and sign up for and/or rate the panels, the better chance you will have at seeing your panel selections on the final schedule. We understand that completing the survey can be laborious, but doing so is completely for your benefit.

So mark February 25th on your calendars!

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

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming
C.J. Hawkins, Panel Programming
WisCon 43

WisCon is now accepting proposals for games!

Submit your games here by clicking the link, logging into your WisCon account, and selecting Gaming from the drop down menu. The deadline for proposing games is February 28th.

We have a few slots available all day for two dedicated gaming rooms every day of the con, so don’t be shy about proposing games. We’re excited to see your game submissions, be they tabletop roleplaying, larp, board games, or, if you’ve got a way to make it work, video games! We also encourage you to submit games to the Teen Program at teenprograms@wiscon.net and Kids Program at kidsprograms@wiscon.net. You can submit to these tracks by following the link above and selecting them from the drop down menu.

If you’d like to propose a game but are out of ideas, or want help figuring out what of several options you want to offer, please reach out to gaming@wiscon.net and we’d love to work with you to find something you’d be excited about running.

Again, submit your games here by clicking the link and selecting Gaming from the drop down menu.

Once you have submitted your game proposal you can expect an email from gaming@wiscon.net within the next couple days confirming that we received your submission and asking any follow up questions. After submissions close on February 28th a schedule will be created and sent out by early March so you will know your commitments when the call for panelists goes out.

TWO WEEKS LEFT TO SUBMIT A PANEL IDEA FOR WISCON 43!

Mark your calendars, Friends! Two weeks left until panel submissions close! We’re excited to see what the community will share at this year’s WisCon!

I’m a little fuzzy on how I should go about submitting a panel idea. Can you help me out?

Of course we can! Here’s the best way to go about it:

If you log into your profile, you will see a list of different options where you can submit your program idea to the right department on the left-hand side of the screen. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

If you want to submit a panel idea, please click on the “Submit Ideas” option.

We ask that you please use the correct option for submitting your program idea. If you want to submit a party, you will need to click on the “Host a party” option. If you want to submit a paper proposal or academic proposal, please click on the “Submit Paper Proposal” option.

If you submit an event to us that is not a panel, due to the volume of panel requests and the subsequent organization of the panel schedule, we cannot guarantee that your submission will be timely transferred to the correct department.  The deadline to submit a panel idea to Panel Programming is January 21, 2019.

OK, that sounds very easy. Do I have to log in to submit a panel idea?

You actually don’t have to log in to your profile to submit a panel idea unless you want to receive a confirmation email to show that your submission has been received. For your benefit, we recommend logging in, especially if you submit multiple panel ideas! It will be easier for you [and us] to keep track.

This is super helpful information. Anything else I should know?

Panel Programming wants to help you get the best WisCon panel programming experience, so after you register, we would like for you to do a couple of things to help us help you.

  1. Update your profile, especially your email address.

All you need to do is log in to your profile, click the “Edit” link on the right side of your name, then click on “Save” once you’re done.

  1. Update your availability.

This information is essential for us. The more information you provide us, the better chance you have in getting your top choices of panels at your most desired times. To update your availability, please click on “Tell Us Your Schedule”.  After you click on “Tell Us Your Schedule,” you will be brought to the following screen:

In this text, you will be asked for your arrival/departure information, your desired number of panels, as well as your preferred panel times. Once again, the more information you provide us, the better it will be for you. Given that it is still early, you can start off with a ballpark estimate, but please continue to update as we get closer to the availability deadline in March 2019.

As usual, if you have any questions regarding Panels, please email us at panels@wiscon.net.

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 24-27, 2019, and the deadline to apply is March 1. Late applicants will be waitlisted unless there is extra space. More information can be found on our Art Show page, and the link to apply is here.

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).
Thank you!

2nd REMINDER – PANEL PROGRAMMING IS GETTING READY FOR WISCON 43!

The time to WisCon 43 is approaching, and we believe it’s important to keep the community updated, so let’s get it started off right!

Panel Programming wants to help you get the best WisCon panel programming experience, so after you register, we would like for you to do a couple of things.

1. Update your profile, especially your email address.
All you need to do is log in to your profile, click the “Edit” link on the right side of your name, then click on “Save” once you’re done.

2. Update your availability.
This is essential information for us. The more information you provide us, the better chance you have in getting your top choices of panels at your most desired times. To update your availability, please click on “Tell Us Your Schedule”. After you click on “Tell Us Your Schedule,” you will be brought to the following screen:

In this text, you will be asked for your arrival/departure information, your desired number of panels, as well as your preferred panel times. Once again, the more information you provide us, the better it will be for you. Given that it is early, you can start off with a ballpark estimate, but please update as we get closer to the availability deadline in 2019.

3. Submissions for Panel Programming are open! Please be sure to submit your proposal to the correct department.

If you log into your profile, you will see a list of different options where you can submit your program idea to the right department on the left-hand side of the screen. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

If you want to submit a panel idea, please click on the “Submit Ideas” option. If you want to submit a party, please click on the “Host a party” option. If you want to submit a paper proposal/academic proposal, please click on the “Submit Paper Proposal” option.

Panel Programming asks that you please use the correct option for submitting your program idea. If you submit an event to us that is not a panel, due to the volume of panel requests and the subsequent organization of the panel schedule, we cannot guarantee that your submission will be timely transferred to the correct department. The deadline to submit a panel idea to Panel Programming is January 21, 2019.

As we get closer to WisCon 43, Panel Programming will regularly update the community of its various deadlines. We are excited to kick off planning for WC43.

As usual, if you have any questions regarding Panels, please email us at panels@wiscon.net.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS — WisCon invites scholars to submit proposals FOR WisCon 43 Academic Track

One of the things that sets WisCon apart, besides being the first feminist science fiction convention, is that we place many types of fannish interactions side-by-side in our programming. We have panels dedicated to exploring a single book or film as well as panels that look at, say, race across all of science fiction. We have author readings, discussions of fanfic or fanvids, and conversations about games and gaming.

We also have an entire track dedicated to scholarly investigations of feminism and science fiction — open to scholars of all descriptions.

The proposal period for WisCon’s academic track programming is now open!

WisCon’s track of academic programming, framed by the convention’s intersectional feminist principles, encourages submissions from scholars in all fields, including interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary areas, and from amateur and independent scholars as well as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. One of the benefits of this track is that it strengthens the links between the wider feminist science fiction community, students and other scholars working on feminist science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and related fields.

Given our current political moment we invite papers and panels that explore the theme, echoing that from the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference 2018: “Feminist visions of freedom, dream making and the radical politics of futures. What are the meanings, histories, and cultures of “freedom?” How is freedom lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present? This theme is an opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and cultural questions about the radical politics of futures as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and dream making of freedom-oriented fan communities.

Further, we invite proposals from anyone with a scholarly interest in the intersections of gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, and disability with science fiction — broadly defined — in literature, media, and culture. We encourage contributions that emphasize WisCon’s focus on how science fiction has played an important role in the exploration and creation of socially just futures: futures where people of all colors and backgrounds flourish, where women’s rights and women’s contributions are valued, where gender is not limited to one of two options, where no one is erased out of convenience, hidden discrimination, or outright bigotry. We especially welcome scholarship on the work of 2019’s Guests of Honor G. Willow Wilson and Charlie Jane Anders

An incomplete list of possible subjects:

  • What are the meanings, histories, and cultures of “freedom?” How is freedom lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present?
  • Gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our Guests of Honor, G. Willow Wilson and Charlie Jane Anders
  • Feminist, queer, critical race, and critical disability analysis of science fiction and fantasy in media (film, television, music, video games, online culture)
  • Speculative aspects of feminist and social justice movements
  • Race, colonialism, and speculative fiction; Indigenous Futurism, Afrofuturism and related cultural movements
  • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the classroom

An incomplete list of possible formats:

  • 15-minute paper presentations, with or without visual accompaniment
  • Groups of presentations submitted together as panels
  • Presentation of scholarly creative works, including digital scholarship
  • Discussion-based panels and roundtables on scholarly research, teaching, or service
  • Screenings and discussions of short films or videos

The deadline for submitting an abstract for WisCon 43 is midnight Central Time on February 14, 2019.

Please submit your proposal using this form (wiscon.net site profile is required). You will be asked for a 100-word abstract, which will be printed in the convention’s program, and for a more detailed proposal of up to 500 words. If you are proposing something other than a traditional paper, please make sure you describe the format of your proposed program item. A projector and screen will be available; if you have further technological needs, please let us know in your proposal.

If you have questions, please email: academic@wiscon.net

Panel Programming is getting ready for WisCon 43!

The time to WisCon 43 is approaching, so let’s get it started right!

Panel Programming wants to help you get the best WisCon panel programming experience, so after you register, we would like for you to do a couple of things.

1. Update your profile, especially your email address.
All you need to do is log in to your profile, click the “Edit” link on the right side of your name, then click on “Save” once you’re done.

2. Update your availability.
This is essential information for us. The more information you provide us, the better chance you have in getting your top choices of panels at your most desired times. To update your availability, please click on “Tell Us Your Schedule”. After you click on “Tell Us Your Schedule,” you will be brought to the following screen:

In this text, you will be asked for your arrival/departure information, your desired number of panels, as well as your preferred panel times. Once again, the more information you provide us, the better it will be for you. Given that it is early, you can start off with a ballpark estimate, but please update as we get closer to the availability deadline in 2019.

3. Submissions for Panel Programming are open! Please be sure to submit your proposal to the correct department.

If you log into your profile, you will see a list of different options where you can submit your program idea to the right department on the left-hand side of the screen. Please see the screenshot below for an example.

If you want to submit a panel idea, please click on the “Submit Ideas” option. If you want to submit a party, please click on the “Host a party” option. If you want to submit a paper proposal/academic proposal, please click on the “Submit Paper Proposal” option.

Panel Programming asks that you please use the correct option for submitting your program idea. If you submit an event to us that is not a panel, due to the volume of panel requests and the subsequent organization of the panel schedule, we cannot guarantee that your submission will be timely transferred to the correct department.

As we get closer to WisCon 43, Panel Programming will regularly update the community of its various deadlines. We are excited to kick off planning for WC43.

As usual, if you have any questions regarding Panels, please email us at panels@wiscon.net.

AAT Public Statement on “Killable Bodies” Panel

UPDATE: April 14, 2019 (posted in May 2019)

At this time, AAT has completed deliberations. We do not have anything to add to the detailed discussion of our process and analysis contained in the blog post below.

We have developed a new standard operating procedure for concom members, Safety, and Chairs to follow regarding incidents at WisCon, and it is our hope that this new process will help avoid the miscommunication that took place at and after WisCon 42.

We would like to reiterate that our approach in handling reports of abuse is to focus on specific behaviors and their effects, not to identify politically reprehensible individuals. In cases such as the “Killable Bodies” panel, where harm is caused without obvious intent, we are interested in whether someone is willing to acknowledge the impact of something they did or said, to apologize where necessary, and to work toward avoiding future harm by making changes––whether those be in the form of concrete actions or of learning to better understand others’ perspectives.

This is a follow-up post from WisCon’s Anti-Abuse Team on the “Killable Bodies in F&SF” panel.

We have begun the process of working through the aftermath of this panel and its fallout. We have read the formal reports (15 made at the convention and more in its aftermath) and public comments, and we are continuing our discussions with the people who were involved. At this time, we have not yet reached any decisions, but as information circulates about what happened, we do have some clarifications to make.

First, we would like to clarify the process by which a member of WisCon may be banned from the convention. During the convention, the Safety team collects reports and provides support to WisCon members who experience difficulties of any kind, from trip hazards in the hallways to cases of abuse and harassment. When serious issues arise, Safety brings them to the convention Chairs, who are the only ones who have the authority to make at-con decisions about disciplinary action. Once the convention is over, the Anti-Abuse Team (AAT) – a larger group with a slower deliberative process that operates according to transformative justice principles – takes over and discusses issues that were not fully resolved at the convention.

WisCon’s processes are constantly evolving. The AAT also takes the lead on designing and implementing new guidelines where they prove necessary. We have read and listened to many criticisms about the way WisCon handled this case. We hear that many in the community were uncomfortable that a public post was made before the individual in question had been contacted. We understand why WisCon’s chairs made the decision that they did in making this post, but we agree that this process was not ideal. As part of our work in reviewing this case, we are developing a framework to follow for contentious, time-sensitive cases such as this one, and we hope that our updated frameworks will help us make better decisions in the future.

Questions have been raised about the panel’s planning and composition, so we would like to briefly describe our panelist selection process. Anyone can submit a panel suggestion to WisCon; these suggestions do not have to be fully fleshed out and can be a broad idea. Panel Program staff goes through these suggestions and wrangles them into a list of proposed programming. That list is then sent out to WisCon attendees to mark their interest in panels. At this stage, attendees can also mark whether they would like to be on the panel as a panelist or a moderator. The Panel Programs team then assigns people to panels based on the availability and interest of those who have volunteered to participate. While WisCon does its best to vet and balance panelists, sometimes a panel composition ends up not being ideal, or panelists find themselves in conflict as the discussion goes on.

Our Code of Conduct affirms respectful disagreement and the discussion of controversial ideas while disallowing comments that harmfully reinforce structures of oppression. A fast-moving convention can be a complex landscape to navigate; WisCon makes decisions based on members’ reports of harm. In terms of what was said at the panel itself, it is clear from the many reports that audience members and panel participants felt that distressing and harmful statements were made. Safety acted promptly to provide support, and the Chairs acted to minimize future harm. While we may have changes to suggest about the details of the process, we support the at-con team’s responsive attention to the safety of WisCon’s members.

It is also clear that perceptions from those who attended the panel vary significantly. We would first like to apologize for the wording in the initial public post that may have mischaracterized the panelist’s background and what happened at the panel. We have not completed our investigation, but at this preliminary stage, we can state that this was not a case of an outright Nazi sympathizer or alt-right infiltrator at WisCon, but rather a case of a conversation going badly awry amid deeply fraught political and emotional territory. There does not seem to have been any intent to promote Nazi ideology.

However, we also want to note that intent cannot always prevent harm, especially within a social context in which support for unconscionable acts has become normalized. A speaker might assume that everyone in the audience knows that they condemn bigoted violence. However, antisemitism, white supremacy, and Islamophobic and anti-immigrant violence are at high levels under the current US administration and continue to rise. Without an explicit condemnation, it can be unclear whether a speaker is seeking to understand how these ideologies come about and why people promote them, or whether a speaker is tacitly promoting apologism for such ideologies.

Finally, we wish to clarify that WisCon does not make decisions about who may attend the convention based on identifying politically reprehensible individuals. We focus on specific behaviors and their effects, and we are interested in whether someone is willing to acknowledge that something they did or said caused harm regardless of intent, to apologize where necessary, and to work toward avoiding future harm by making changes––whether those be in the form of concrete actions or of learning to better understand others’ perspectives.

We thank the WisCon community for its patience with our deliberations. If you would like to get in touch to share information or ask further questions, you can contact us at antiabuse at wiscon.net.

Announcing our WisCon 43 Guests of Honor — G. Willow Wilson & Charlie Jane Anders

We are overjoyed to introduce our Guests of Honor for WisCon 43!

G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson lives in both Egypt and the United States. She is the author of two books, five graphic novels and two comic book series, including her first novel, Alif the Unseen, and the comic book series Ms. Marvel. Her memoir about life in Egypt during the waning years of the Mubarak regime, The Butterfly Mosque, has served as a common read for communities and campuses across the country.

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of The City in the Middle of the Night, plus an upcoming young-adult trilogy. Her novel All the Birds in the Sky won the Nebula, Crawford and Locus awards, and her short story “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo. She’s also published a novella, Rock Manning Goes For Broke, and a story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. She was a founding editor of io9.com, and organizes the monthly Writers With Drinks reading series.