Category Archives: Official Announcements

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: Help with Gaming!

WisCon is looking for volunteers to help run open gaming on FridaySaturday, and Sunday nights, from 8 pm-12 am. Responsibilities would mostly revolve around WisCon’s game library; getting it out at the beginning of the night, putting it away at the end of the night, and making sure none of it wanders away in between. In addition, volunteers will play games and help make the open gaming space welcoming and enjoyable! Please email gaming@wiscon.net if you are interested in helping out in this way. Even just a couple of hours would help a lot!

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!

Dessert Salon: Tickets Sold Out

We still have lots of memberships available for WisCon 42, but we’ve reached the cap for our Sunday night Dessert Salon, meaning that it is no longer possible to purchase tickets for that event.

If you weren’t able to purchase your ticket in advance, you can visit the Registration Desk during the convention to add your name to a waiting list for any tickets that become available due to cancellations. We also run a Dessert Salon Bourse on Sunday evening from 5:30-7:00, when we offer last-minute buybacks of Dessert Salon tickets at a fixed rate, and last-minute sales on a first-come, first-served basis.

We understand that plans can change on short notice, so if you do have tickets for the Dessert Salon but discover that you won’t be able to use them, please let us know as soon as possible and we’ll be happy to issue a refund, to make room for other members to attend in your place. You can do this before the convention by emailing registration@wiscon.net, or during the convention by visiting the Registration Desk.

And if you haven’t yet registered, remember to do so before May 15! After that date, we will only be accepting at-the-door registrations.

Sign up for Con Suite Shifts Online!

WisCon is fast approaching, and we’re all fitting our schedules together trying to be twelve places at once, crying the familiar cry: “there are too many great panels!”  But maybe you’ve got a suspicious gap in your schedule, or maybe you just need some downtime after digesting the great panel you just went to. Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule in some time to help out at the con as easily as you can schedule which panels you want to see?

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much of a lead up.  But we’re happy to announce that you can now schedule your volunteer shifts in Con Suite ahead of the con – no trying to remember while you’re there, no wondering if anyone needs volunteers at the times you’re free.

You can now view all the open Con Suite shifts and pick the time and the role that you’d prefer online. Want to count people so we have accurate numbers for next year? You can see when we need a Counter.  Want to help serve food? Check out the Food Service shifts.  Are you an introvert that wants to help but doesn’t want to handle the “hospitality” part of the hospitality suite? Help out with Food Prep, being an Annex Attendant, or Clean Up Crew.  Want to spend the whole con enjoying panels and parties, but still want to help out? Food Prep and Tear Down volunteers will be working Friday morning and Monday afternoon. And all shifts list the physical abilities required of that shift.

Click here to sign up!

To sign up, all you need to do is enter your name (this does not have to be your real name), and an email.  If you have any problems getting signed up, contact consuite@wiscon.sf3.org and we can sign you up on your behalf.

Get More WisCon: Sign Up For a Workshop!

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Workshop department! Did you know that beyond the panels, panels, and more panels that we are all SUPER EXCITED ABOUT, there’s even more WisCon out there for you? We’re talking about Workshops! Workshops are more responsive, participatory sessions, and while some require preparatory work on your part, some of them are very drop in! Read below to find out offerings this year, or click here for more general information about how Workshops, um, work. If you’re interested in signing up, read the descriptions and email workshop@wiscon.net!

Critique Sessions

The deadline for critique sessions has been extended to May 1, 2018. Critique sessions take place on Friday morning, scheduled from 9am to noon. See here for instructions on what to send as part of your signup email! This year’s amazing critique session facilitators are:

For novels and short stories:

  • Eugene Fischer
  • David Levine
  • Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Nino Cipri

For short stories:

  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Charlie Jane Anders

For romance/erotica:

  • Elizabeth Reeve

Special Sessions

But wait, there’s more! Our special sessions are pretty great this year. Some require signing up ahead of time; others will be open for drop-ins.

First, our salons!

These salons are open sessions and will be led by facilitators who can offer advice and hands-on assistance whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a space to get some work done. These will be in the schedule once it’s out, so don’t forget to look!

  • Knitting and Fiber Salon
  • Evening Writing Salons

Reserved Workshops

These sessions require sign up prior to the workshop. Sign ups for these workshops are open until May 21 or until all slots are filled. Email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve your space!

  • Storytelling – Friday from 9am to noon – The art of telling a story with Susan Ramirez
  • Speculative Fiction and the Academy – Friday from 9am to noon – Writing about spec fic in the academy with Laurie Fuller
  • Introduction to Vidding – Friday from 9am to noon – The basics of vid making with eruthros
  • The Anatomy of a Retelling – Saturday from 8am to 10am – How to adapt and retell well-known stories with Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Lessons for the Not-Quite-Pro Writer – Saturday from 10am to noon – How to deal with rejection, pick markets, write cover letters, track submissions, plan for conventions and other exciting topics with Nibedita Sen
  • Filing Off the Serial Numbers – Sunday from 8am to 10am – How to turn fan fiction into original fiction with Joselle Vanderhooft

Open Sessions

These workshops do NOT require sign ups so feel free to drop in! You can also email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve a guaranteed space and help us anticipate attendance.

  • Neopronouns – Friday from 4pm to 6pm – How to use neopronouns in fiction – S. Qiouyi Lu
  • Art In Your Pocket – Sunday from 10am to noon – Making artist trading cards (ATCs) with a WisCon theme – Mary Prince
  • Introduction to Embroidery – Saturday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn the basics of embroidery or bring your own project to work on – Candra Gill
  • How to Read for Fun and Profit – Sunday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn how to choose the best selections and perform your readings for maximum audience engagement – Keffy Kehrli
  • Libre Planet – Sunday from 3pm to 5pm – Learn how to program! – Morgan Lemmer Webber
  • Teasecraft – Sunday evening (time TBD) – It’s a kinky crafter meetup with projects and discussion – Kit Stubbs

 

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

We’re Halfway There!

Yes, I have had Bon Jovi stuck in my head all day. You’re welcome.

We’ve hit the halfway point – one week into our two week matching donation challenge, and we’ve also raised $1500.00, exactly half of our goal!!

WE CAN DO IT.

Remember, even if you can only spare a few dollars to help the WisCon Member Assistance Fund help people come to Madison this year, their generosity is doubling every penny, so it will make a BIG difference.

Donate now at our Donation page or visit paypal.me/WisCon!

Update Your Availability for Panels for WisCon 42 by Friday, March 30th!

We love that so many people sign-up to be panelists every year!

What we need now is your availability so we can schedule panels at the best time for all the panelists.

You will need a WisCon account in order to view the availability form. 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 form once you have logged into your account.

Please let us know your availability by March 30th!

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

Amazing WMAF Matching Donation UPDATES!

Remember how Sigrid Ellis, Jesse the K, Andrea Hairston, Kayla Fouch, Jed Hartman, Phredd Groves, and Aqueduct Press combined forces to match your donations up to $2,600.00?

Well, we have an update! As of right now, we’ve received $1,020.00 in donations, which means we can add $2,040.00 to the Member Assistance Fund total available this year!

Speaking of goals, “moving the goalposts” is almost always a kind of crappy thing to do to someone. And it just happened to us. But in a nice way! Two more donors—Lesley Hall and a donor who has chosen to be anonymous—have added pledges.

WHAT WHAT THE MATCHING GOAL IS NOW A COOOOOL $3K??

LET’S DO THIS THING. Donate now at our Donation page or visit paypal.me/WisCon!

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?)

Last Call: WisCon 42 Panel Sign-Up, A/V Request, & Hand-Staffing Requests End on March 19th!

Last Call: Panel Surveys close on March 19th!

You still have time to give YOUR feedback on which 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 and sign-up for 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!

A/V Requests – Final Reminder!

We want to remind you that special A/V Requests must also be submitted by March 19th. Even if you had previously filled out the “Special A/V Request” field when you submitted your panel idea, we ask that you confirm said request. Please email us at panels@wiscon.net with “A/V 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.

Once again, we ask that 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 Requests – Final Reminder!

Thank you to those of you who have already contacted us about hand-staffing your panels. If you put in an initial request with your panel idea submission to have your panel hand-staffed, and you have not already contacted us, please email us at panels@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 panels@wiscon.net.

Allons-y!

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming

JP Fairfield, Panel Programming

Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming