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Promote it at WisCon!

While generally we at WisCon are all about smashing capitalism, we know we’re all complicit in it too. Whether you need WisCon to help you advertise your self published shape shifter erotica or want to sell your handmade epic-fantasy-inspired pendants, we have several opportunities for raising your profile at WisCon. Some ways to promote at WisCon require attendance, and some do not. Some are inexpensive and some are less so—thought we think you will find costs competitive! We hope there is something that will help you no matter how deep your pockets.

  • Sponsorship and Advertising:

WisCon has several sponsorships available—these are more high-profile sponsorship spots this year, a fantastic opportunity for businesses to help the con in a concrete and visible way. We also have several sizes and tiers of advertising in our Souvenir Program Book. You can read more about sponsorship and advertising, as well as glance over our rates sheet, here: http://wiscon.net/promote-it-at-wiscon/advertising/.

Advertisements are due April 1, and sponsorships will close when they are gone.

  • Dealer’s Room:

Our Dealer’s Room is a smorgasbord of books, toys, jewelry, and and other items relevant to explorations of feminism, gender, race, class, and disability. If you think you’d like a table to sell items, check out our application here: http://wiscon.net/events/dealers-room/

Applications are due March 15.

  • Parties:

Panels are nice and all, but for anyone who wants a more informal WisCon experience, parties are where it’s at. We are particularly enthusiastic about parties with a history at WisCon as well as parties that are promoting other cons, SF groups, book & author promotional parties, and other events. If you’d like to celebrate a publication, your new publishing business, etc, look into hosting a party: http://wiscon.net/programming/parties/.

Applications are due March 15.

  • Freebies:

While we do not give away swag bags at WisCon—due to our sustainability initiative—we do have several freebie tables in our registration area for the placement of fliers, stickers, buttons, advance reading copies, etc. We do not require an application for freebies, though we do reserve the right to review whether to distribute materials based on our guiding principles. You can read more here: http://wiscon.net/promote-it-at-wiscon/freebie-tables/

Freebies are accepted from late April through the week before WisCon.

  • Fan Tables:

We have a limited number of free-to-use tables in the high traffic area at the entrance of the Dealer’s Room. Groups sign up for these tables to staff them—preference is given to groups whose projects support marginalized groups or are relevant to explorations of feminism, gender, race, class, and disability. You can read more here: http://wiscon.net/promote-it-at-wiscon/fan-tables/.

Applications due March 1.

Join the Communications Team!

Hi! I’m Levi, chair of the Communications Committee. We keep the information flowing—before con, we make sure eCubes go out, blog posts get updated and social media comments get responded to. We also publish the printed materials that allow members to get around at WisCon. I’ve been on the team for three years now. Volunteering for WisCon has brought me interesting challenges, daily small joys (and occasional frustrations!) and given me the opportunity to make friends with and work with truly excellent people. It has also given me fantastic skills and experience that helped me land my dream job in July – no, really!

If you enjoy writing, graphic design, social media, advertising, or video editing, we would love to have you join the team! All the work can be done from your own home, and most positions require just an hour or two a week. Like all WisCon positions over 20 hours annually, Communications Committee members are eligible for the WisCon membership rebate, as well as volunteer gifts! Please email personnel@sf3.org with questions or to express interest.

Positions available:

  • Social media volunteer

What you’ll do: Work with our chair to keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and other outward facing accounts, posting posts and answering questions, being positive, professional, and awesome. Forward questions to chairs or departments. Make sure things like deadlines are advertised. These can be checked on one or twice a day!

Time commitment: 1-2 hours/week

  • Blog post writer

What you’ll do: Work with other departments to get their words out there on the WisCon blog! If you like to write, edit, and work collaboratively, and you work well to deadlines, this is a great job for you. You’ll also get to learn more about the moving parts of WisCon and meet some of the folks who make it happen!

Time commitment: Project-based. Each blog post may take 3-5 hours of writing, collaborating, and editing.

  • Print publications

What you’ll do: Do you love creating in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop? We’re looking for someone to take over making our printing happen. We need someone to make and design our postcard-sized mailings and dessert tickets, and update designs from previous year’s cons. Additionally, you’ll need to work with our designer to finalize the Souvenir Program Book, work with printers to make sure printed items are to-spec and ready to go, etc.

Time commitment: 12 hours/week December-March, 5-10 hours/week in April

  • Advertising coordinator

What you’ll do: We sell sponsorship and advertising space in our Souvenir Program Book and would love someone with a knack for sales to take on this project. Advertising is a very concrete way you can help make WisCon a success, because the proceeds help us keep WisCon affordable! Our con chairs and committee chair can help produce a rate sheet, the SF3 treasurer takes care of billing, and the actual advertisements go on to our designer, so you’ll just need to go out and get them!

Time commitment: 1-2 hours/week, September through April

  • Video Archivist:

What you’ll do: Do you have some spare time now that the Festivids deadline is past? We’re looking for someone with awesome video editing skills to help us preserve WisCon history! We are in the process of digitizing video tapes of convention material—mostly Guest of Honor speeches from WisCons past. We have a bunch already digitally stored and waiting to be edited, polished, and uploaded to YouTube.

Time commitment: Flexible

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

It can be hard to know when and how to acknowledge death when it happens in a community. When do you write a blog post, and when don’t you? But it seems impossible not to make a statement upon the death of a treasured member of our WisCon community, one of our greatest and most influential writers, Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula Le Guin attended WisCon thrice: WisCon 2, WisCon 20, and WisCon 30. She came to WisCon 2 (February 1978), in support of her friend Vonda McIntyre, our 1978 Guest of Honor. She was invited as Guest of Honor in her own right the first time we celebrated a landmark year, for WisCon 20 (May 1996). And she was one of the many prior Guests of Honor we invited to be part of the WisCon 30 celebrations (May 2006).

For WisCon 30, we received grant funding—necessary to support 29 years worth of returning Guests of Honor—from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Le Guin’s letter of support, included as part of the grant application, explained why she found WisCon unique, as opposed to other conferences and conventions, which she described as “a waste of time” (don’t tell anyone!) Echoing the experience of many, she said that she “came away with a head full of new ideas, perceptions, and understandings—about literature, about the ethical concerns of writers and readers, and about gender concerns both in literature and daily life.”

Her letter of support continues:

As writers under repressive regimes have long understood, science fiction is particularly well suited to the indirect but intense examination of the political and moral status quo, since its tropes and metaphors (outer space, far future, etc.) allow the writer to look from a distance at what is actually very close at hand. As the scholar Darko Suvin said, science fiction is the mirror that lets us see the back of our own head.

This is notably true when it comes to issues of gender. No other literary form has asked so many questions so usefully about the nature and construction of human gender, the actual and possible relation of the sexes in society. When they wanted to ask such questions, realistic novelists such as Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing turned naturally to science fiction. A good many of the talks and papers read at WisCon concern these subjects and ask these questions.

The atmosphere of the conference is extremely open, uncoercive, and intellectually stimulating. Academics who attend it are often delighted by the freedom of discussion without competition. To women academics it is of particular value, as they seldom find so supportive a milieu. Women writers treasure it for the same values of freedom and support. Men and women who confuse feminism with misandry may be kept away by their own prejudice, but one of the happiest aspects of WisCon is the presence of men who relate to women with total equality of expectation on both sides—a refreshing experience for all.

What WisCon does above all is affirm a community of writers, scholars, and readers brought together by a sense of dissatisfaction with our society’s solution to many problems of gender and justice, plus a sense of hope that with intelligent and ethical work we can achieve a more just and less destructive society. They share in common a courage of the imagination which may yet justify that hope. The fact that they’ve been meeting for thirty years to exercise and celebrate such courage is cause itself for hope.

WisCon 40’s ConCom briefly considered the idea of inviting all past Guests of Honor back for 2016, in the tradition of WisCon 20 and WisCon 30. It may have been coincidence, but the conversation didn’t last for long after a tangent on Ursula’s health, and the fact that she rarely traveled far from home anymore.

We’ve continued to treasure her and her outlook in her absence. A few years ago, during a time of vociferous disagreements within our community, many of us spent time interrogating whether WisCon was “worth it”—worth the labor, both tangible and emotional—that we invest to sustain it, and that the convention itself sparks. People like Ursula remind us why it is worth all that and more.

She imagined impossible futures, and she shared them. She held that it was important work to do so, and had little patience with authors who dismissed science fiction and fantasy as trivial or lesser genres. “Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality,” she said in a blog post eviscerating Kazuo Ishiguro for sneering at the fantasy genre.

She used her writing to explore concepts like gender, capitalism and truly fair societal structures. Her body of work is a testament to the conversations that people have at WisCon every year. What other shapes could society take? What would a more just, more equitable, and more inclusive world look like?

Much is made about her female protagonists. There’s already one obituary from a national newspaper remarking on her “tough-minded feminine sensibility,” missing the point almost entirely in a way I’m sure Le Guin would have relished skewering. Reductive obituaries, like that one, ignore the variety of incredible and alien outlooks she managed to portray, her protagonists who fall outside of the gender binary, and the fact that so few of her characters were white.

We feel fortunate that there is still so much of her fiction available for us to explore. Her writing is a beacon of light, particularly in the current political era. Since the election in November 2016, many of us have returned to her acceptance speech, titled “Freedom,” given as part of the award presentation at the 2014 National Book Foundation. “Any human power can be resisted and changed by humans.”

Every day we confront the terrible realities that debase us as people: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, capitalism, colonialism. It’s overwhelming, and lately, inexorable. These oppressions can feel final, but as Ursula reminds us: “[their] power seems inescapable—but then, so did the divine right of kings.”

Resistance happens because people can imagine a different reality—because they demand a different reality. Ursula K. Le Guin showed us how to imagine and demand better from our society.
We will miss her. We will not forget her.

Rest in power, well-loved one.

In solidarity,

Jackie Lee, SF3 President

Allison Morris, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Phredd Groves, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Levi Sable, SF3 Communications Chair

 

Last Call for Panel Programming Ideas!

This is your last reminder that panel idea submissions are open! The Wiscon 42 Panel Programming Committee looks forward to receiving all of the awesome ideas you have to offer!

You can submit panel ideas for WisCon 42 through January 19, 2018. To submit an idea, please click on “Submit your ideas for programming!” link on right-hand side of main page, or go straight to the program idea submission form linked here in this blog post.

Please note that the WisCon 42 Panel Programming Committee will not be accepting any panel ideas after January 19, 2018, so please make sure to submit your panel ideas before the deadline!

Cheers,

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming

J.P. Fairfield, Panel Programming

Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming

WisCon 42

PS–Wondering about other upcoming deadlines?

  • Academic deadline is February 1!
  • Workshop deadline is March 1 to suggest a session!
  • Readings deadline is March 15!
  • Gaming deadline is February 28!
  • Parties deadline is March 15!