Category Archives: Official Announcements

We’re Planning An Online WisCon!

As we mentioned in our post announcing the cancellation of WisCon 44 as an in-person convention, we are rapidly pivoting to an online format!

We anticipate holding a number of traditional WisCon events on Memorial Day weekend itself, and we’re coming up with online alternatives for many traditional events and pieces of programming, such as online versions of games and showcasing our artists’ and vendors’ websites. Further details on online programming will be coming as soon as we marshal the necessary resources and planning, but we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments to this post.

We also know that we have people in the WisCon community who have expertise in online events — want to help? Email personnel@sf3.org and tell us what you can help with. We particularly want to make certain that the online version of WisCon is accessible, inclusive, and welcoming.

We tentatively plan to make participation in online programming for WisCon 44 available on a sliding scale starting at $5 or less per attendee. We need the money we were going to use for the regular WisCon 44 so that we can put on WisCon 45 in 2021, so we don’t have much to spare without your help.

You can donate to support WisCon at https://paypal.me/WisCon — thank you for any amount you can chip in!

WisCon 44 is now canceled.

WisCon 44 is now canceled.

We are currently working on an online event to replace it — a WisCOnline, if you will. More details will be coming in a second blog post by next Monday (March 30).

WisCon 45, in May 2021, will be a banger, with all the elements of WisCon 44 that we are unable to carry off online, as well as all of the normal elements of WisCon 45! More details will be coming soon on W45 as we confirm them; watch this space!

If you have already paid for your registration and/or Dessert Salon tickets for WisCon 44, we would deeply appreciate it if you could allow us to roll over your membership and dessert tickets to WisCon 45. Having those funds available will allow us to keep our plans in place despite the long gap between in-person conventions. If you are willing to roll over your paid order, no action is necessary. If you need to have your order refunded, please email registration@wiscon.net before April 15, 2020.

There is no need to cancel your room reservations — the entire WisCon block has been cancelled as well. Please do not call the hotel at this time; we will be sure to provide further details in upcoming posts about room blocks for next year.

We apologize that it took us a few weeks to make this decision. WisCon relies on many small or independent businesses, including our hotel — The Madison Concourse Hotel is not only independent and unionized, they are a valuable partner in putting on the convention, and many of the things we do wouldn’t be possible without their flexibility and hard work. We needed to make sure that we are all getting through this in good shape, and that required some deep, thoughtful conversations.

Thank you again for understanding, and stay tuned for more information coming soon!

March 20 Update on COVID-19

As promised in our March 6 update, we wanted to check back in with the WisCon community about our decision-making process given the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

As of today, the Board has met and is considering various options. We’ll make an official announcement on Monday, March 23, with the Board’s final decision. Thanks so much for your continued patience, for staying at home as much as you can, and for washing your hands often with soap and water!

This Just In: WisCon 44 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey is now Open!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey is now live. Please give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 44.

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. You should see the link to the survey once you have logged into your account. Or you can click here. https://account.wiscon.net/program/?edit=yes

Be sure to also update your availability so we know when you want to be assigned to panels.

Please note that even if you were the one that proposed a panel, you still need to log into the survey and sign up for it. Proposed names are not automatically carried into the survey sign up.

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.

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

WisCon Needs More Brains! (Ceremonies and Access)

We still have open roles on the ConCom where we’d love your help! Email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer your brain.

Ceremonies

We’re in need of an MC/organizer for the Sunday night speeches: coordinating with the guests of honor and other speakers beforehand to make sure they’re prepared and have what they need, directing them during the event, and making general announcements from the podium. (Or, if you can organize/stage-manage but don’t like public speaking, the announcements can be covered by a con chair.)

For this role you’ll need to be present at WisCon 44 and available Sunday night, from before the dessert salon through the end of the speeches. The time commitment before the con should be low and mainly involves sending emails in April and May. Our usual MC can’t make it this year, but she’s happy to answer questions and help you through it!

Access

The Access team is still looking for a CART/ASL Liaison.

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation, which is captioning for live events; ASL is American Sign Language. Our CART/ASL Liaison is responsible for communicating with WisCon attendees and keeping track of requests for either type of interpretation at our events and panels.

WisCon has a good ongoing relationship with a CART provider who will build a team that includes ASL interpreters if needed, and the Liaison will work with them to determine their schedule, as well as providing them with a list of WisCon or SFF-specific jargon, names, and other terms so that they are prepared to work effectively during events like the Otherwise Auction and the Guest of Honor Speeches. The CART/ASL Liaison will be coordinating with Access Leads, and may wish to be involved in small grant-writing or fundraising efforts to help fund payments to WisCon’s contracted service providers. Skills involved in this role are primarily written communications via email. We expect this role will take up to an hour per week between now and the end of March, increasing to a couple of hours per week in April & May, and approximately an hour each day during the convention itself.

These roles are part of the WisCon Convention Committee, which means you’ll be automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee. If you stay on the ConCom, you also get to vote during the selection process next fall for WisCon’s future Guests of Honor.

Again, please email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer or if you have questions!

March 6 Update on COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that was first detected in China and has since been detected in almost 70 locations across the globe, including the United States. We wanted to update our community, since WisCon 44 is scheduled to take place in Madison, Wisconsin, at the end of May.

As of March 6, WisCon 44 is scheduled to happen.

Our Conference Committee (ConCom) and Board of Directors are monitoring the situation, which continues to change quickly. We will be reevaluating the situation regularly with increasing frequently as we get closer to our scheduled date. This includes checking in with our host hotel, the Madison Concourse, and monitoring announcements from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Public Health of Madison & Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

As of March 5, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports: “Although one case of COVID-19 has been detected in Wisconsin, the immediate health risk to the general public in Wisconsin, and the U.S. as a whole, remains low.” Based on this assessment and the information available from the CDC, the ConCom is continuing to move forward with WisCon 44 as planned.

At the same time, we recognize that the situation may vary depending on where our members live and work. WisCon can refund your membership or defer it to next year for anyone whose travel is impacted by COVID-19 or has any concerns about traveling. If at the time of WisCon you feel sick; are worried that you might have been in contact with people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19; or have a weakened immune system and are concerned about attending; we encourage you to stay home. You can receive a refund or we can defer your membership to next year. If you have any questions about refunds or deferring your membership to next year, please reach out to registration at wiscon dot net.

Additional resources:

The ConCom will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and reevaluate regularly. We will publish another update on 3/20, and we’ll keep you informed of our plans with increasing frequency as WisCon 44 approaches. Thanks for your patience, understanding, and for washing your hands often with soap and water!

HOSTS NEEDED FOR THE TRANS/GQ/GNC SAFER SPACE

The Trans/GenderQueer/Gender Nonconforming safer space is seeking volunteers from the community for 90 minute shifts in the space.

Volunteers greet and check in with people arriving in the space. Help keep the space tidy and stocked from the con-suite supplies. And escalate issues and problems encountered by trans/gq/gnc people at WisCon to the appropriate teams (Safer Spaces, Safety, Concom.)

Room hosts are welcomed and encouraged to host programs and workshops through the safer space which benefit from an audience limited to people from the trans/gq/gnc community.

Please contact Pode and Emma through the safer space email address, tgqsaferspace@wiscon.net, and we will share a schedule with you.

Join The Access Team!

WisCon’s Access Team is looking for additional people to help us organize our efforts ahead of the convention. We need to fill two roles: a Blue Tape Lead and a CART/ASL Liaison.

Blue Tape here refers to the accessibility markings we create throughout the convention — we use blue tape to reserve spaces for mobility devices, to guide traffic in busy hallways, and to set aside seats for people who need to be at the front of the audience in order to better see or hear panelists and presenters. The Blue Tape Lead will be responsible for updating our Blue Tape Guide, recruiting volunteers for shifts throughout the convention, and managing blue tape volunteers to ensure all tasks are completed. At-con responsibilities vary depending on volunteer recruitment, but one can expect to volunteer a couple of hours or less each day at the con, and to be “on-call” for blue tape touch-ups. The Blue Tape Lead will be coordinating with Access Leads, and may wish to be involved with Signs and/or accessibility assessments during convention set-up on Thursday night and Friday morning. Skills involved in this role are: outreach, written and verbal communication, volunteer management, and attention to detail. Ability to kneel on the ground and move chairs is ideal, but can also be facilitated through volunteers “on the ground” (literally and figuratively). We expect this role will take up to an hour per week between now and the end of March, increasing to a couple of hours per week in April & May.

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation, which is captioning for live events; ASL is American Sign Language. Our CART/ASL Liaison is responsible for communicating with WisCon attendees and keeping track of requests for either type of interpretation at our events and panels. WisCon has a good ongoing relationship with a CART provider who will build a team that includes ASL interpreters if needed, and the Liaison will work with them to determine their schedule, as well as providing them with a list of WisCon or SFF-specific jargon, names, and other terms so that they are prepared to work effectively during events like the Otherwise Auction and the Guest of Honor Speeches. The CART/ASL Liaison will be coordinating with Access Leads, and may wish to be involved in small grant-writing or fundraising efforts to help fund payments to WisCon’s contracted service providers. Skills involved in this role are primarily written communications, and most of that communication is via email. We expect this role will take up to an hour per week between now and the end of March, increasing to a couple of hours per week in April & May, and approximately an hour each day during the convention itself.

Both of these roles are part of the WisCon Convention Committee, which means you’ll be automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee. You also get to vote during the selection process next fall for WisCon’s future Guests of Honor. You do not need to be local to Madison, but you should be planning to attend WisCon in May 2020. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

Volunteer by emailing personnel@sf3.org. The Access Team leads, Lynnea and Sarahtops, also welcome your questions, and can be reached at access@wiscon.net

Help Us Feed WisCon!

Help Us Feed WisCon!

WisCon’s Con Suite is something special. It’s more than a room stocked with sodas and some open packages of cookies; it’s a place to get coffee or tea, snacks, fresh salads from the local co-op, a tasty hot dinner every evening, fresh local bagels and donuts (or toast, or yogurt, or fruit) for breakfast each morning, a range of fast and easy to eat proteins including cheese and hard-boiled eggs throughout the day, and yes — cookies, chips, granola bars, and sodas as well.

We’re proud of it in part because we’ve created a space where we know the food is safe from contamination and spoilage, where we can confidently share the ingredient lists, where we have plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, and where — with the exception of some individually wrapped & sealed single-serve items — we maintain a space that is tree nut free and peanut free.

We’re also proud of the fact that last year, everyone working in the Con Suite was also able to enjoy the rest of the convention. That’s a new thing! And it’s something we plan to ensure happens every year going forward. In order to do so, we need at least two additional Con Suite team members.

Con Suite team members are part of the WisCon Convention Committee (ConCom), and that means in the months between now and WisCon, they’ll help plan volunteer schedules, menus, and recipes. Just prior to and during the convention, they may help with our trips to Costco, or pick up our morning bagels from Gotham Bagels a few blocks from the hotel. They might take part in setting up the room we use for preparing food, filling crockpots according to our recipes, portioning prepared foods, brewing giant pots of coffee, and washing the (relatively few) dishes (mostly serving spoons and knives, since we use crockpot liners).

Con Suite team members will spend less than an hour a week on planning from January through the beginning of May. We have an experienced lead, so this will be time spent learning about what we can and can’t accomplish within the limited physical space we have at the con, our relationship with the hotel, and the time we need to safely prepare nourishing, satisfying meals. There’s far more work to do the week of the convention, but our plan is that no one will need to spend more than 4 hours a day in the Con Suite itself once con programming kicks off, unless they really want to. We will be recruiting folks in April and May to help during the convention without joining the ConCom as well, so the Con Suite team is well supported.

WisCon will pay for ServSafe food safety certification for anyone who joins the Con Suite team; ServSafe is an online course that takes a few hours, and the certification lasts for three years and is not WisCon specific.

These roles are part of WisCon’s ConSom, which means you’ll be automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee. You also get to vote during the selection process for WisCon’s future Guests of Honor in autumn 2020. You do not need to be local to Madison or to the midwest; you should be planning to attend WisCon in 2020, and it’s useful if you will be there Thursday afternoon through Monday afternoon, but not a problem if you get there late or leave early.

We’ll cap this recruitment post off with a quote from a member of last year’s Con Suite team: “I was surprised. Once the con started, the Con Suite was actually really fun.” 🙂

Join us by emailing personnel@sf3.org. We also welcome your questions!

WisCon Needs BRRRAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINNNNNSSSS!!!

…to join us in building WisCon 44. Not to eat. Turns out that isn’t actually very healthy for anyone involved.

Hello! How did it get to be nearly the end of 2019 so quickly?

That means one thing: May 2020 is just around the corner, bringing WisCon 44 with it. (It also means a US election year, so we’re looking forward to WisCon as a place to restore our energies, catch our breath, share strategies, and stock up on good feelings as much as possible.)

We need you to help make that happen. We have a great Convention Committee this year, but we have a couple of departments that need you to join them!

WisCon’s Registration desk is the information hub of the convention, greeting folks, selling and handing out name tags and dessert tickets, and answering questions. It’s a great place to contribute time to help WisCon go smoothly, especially if you love knowing things and meeting people.

Registration needs two or three people to join us as At-Con specialists. What does that mean? Well, it means you get the time from now up to the convention to learn the ropes, meet the rest of the Committee, chime in on conversations, offer input on how we’ll set up and run the desk during the convention, and get trained. You can expect to spend an hour or two per month on tasks and email until the four weeks prior to the con, when you’ll have a few more conversations and emails to read. 🙂 At the con itself, you’ll help train volunteers and take some shifts on the desk. After the con things will drop back down to a few hours per month.

Love parties? Don’t want to host them yourself? Join the Party Programs team and help us help parties happen at WisCon! You’ll be part of an established team so you’ll get lots of help learning the ropes. You’ll be able to meet the rest of the ConCom and learn all about what we do behind the scenes with very few tasks up until March, when you’ll be part of scheduling our party suites and working with party hosts to make sure they know what they can do to make their happening the heights of hootenannydom. Or something. Alliteration is challenging, folks. You’ll spend an hour or two per month on email and online conversations between now and the convention; you may need to help troubleshoot during party setup time (7-9pm) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the convention, but you’ll have plenty of help if that happens. 🙂

We also have a couple of openings in our Communications Committee! We want you to help us get the word out about WisCon and our fantastic Guests of Honor, programs, and events. You don’t need any experience, but you do need to be self-motivated. There can be a little or a lot to do in both of these roles, and honestly, we’d be happy if you want to join us and only have the time or energy to do the minimum…but we’d be THRILLED if you want to sink your teeth in and make your mark and other exciting take-charge metaphors.

Could you be our Online Content person? (Or people!) You’ll post our blogs, update our web content, and link or re-post our blogs on social media. This can — but doesn’t have to — include writing blog posts, web page content, and social media posts. You tell us what you’re up for, and we’ll make it happen. This is not a technical job — you won’t be responsible for troubleshooting any software. This is a year-round role, but should take no more than two hours a month unless you decide you want to spend more time on it.

We also need one or more people to do Souvenir Program Book Ad Sales. This is a job that is active for 3-4 months each year and takes a total of 15-20 hours; the main task is sending emails to publishers, vendors, podcasts, fans, authors, agents, and local businesses to ask if they are interested in buying an ad in our program book. If you’re a fan of phone calls, you’re welcome to do that instead, but…let’s just say that we know it’s possible to do this entirely via email. We have a solid list of past advertisers, but we’re always looking for more.

All of these roles are part of SF3 & WisCon’s committees, which means you’ll be automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee. You also get to vote during the selection process for WisCon’s future Guests of Honor.

To fill any of these roles you do not need to be local to Madison; for the Registration and Party Program roles you should be planning to attend WisCon in 2020. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

Join us by emailing personnel@sf3.org. We also welcome your questions!v