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.
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/
The Souvenir Book is WisCon’s gift to the community, featuring profiles of our Guests of Honor, pieces highlighting the work of WisCon’s child-organizations, and essays from community contributors. This year, we’re doing things a little differently: we’re specifically looking for 500-1,000 word entries revolving around this year’s theme, “What Does Justice Demand?” We are also changing up the format a bit; this year, the souvenir book and program book will be combined, so you’ll have one less booklet to keep track of. This will not affect the length or number of entries we will be considering.
For souvenir book submissions, we invite essays that explore the meanings, histories, and cultures of “social justice.” How is social justice 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 political questions of justice as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and cultures of social-justice-oriented fan communities.
While we encourage everyone to consider this year’s theme, we are also open to considering essays that deal with broader Wiscon-related themes. Previous essay topics have included: an exploration of Working Class Studies, a retrospective of 40 years of WisCon, and an ethnographic intro to WisCon. The only topic requirement for the Souvenir Book’s essays is that they be relevant to the WisCon community.
We encourage everyone to submit their work, whether this is your first WisCon or your nearly-42nd!
Submit your essay to the Souvenir Book by March 15!
Essays should be 500-1000 words
Authors will be paid $20 USD at time of publication
All essays or questions should be sent to email@example.com (Please use the subject line “WC41 Souvenir Book Submission: [Your Name]”)
There are at least three of you out there who have already started a bag of clothes to bring to the clothing swap. Yeah, we love you, too.
While there’s a hum of activity and familiar faces in the Concourse starting around Wednesday, the Gathering is the official start of WisCon. Doors open at 1pm on Friday. The Gathering is a ballroom event (if you have noise/etc sensitivities, remember to take a break!) with all kinds of activities. In the past we’ve hosted:
Nail polish swap
Fiber arts circle
Gadget petting zoo
Make and take soft circuitry
Lock picking tutorial
…and much more!
Gathering activities rely on the interest of WisCon attendees hosting and organizing them. That’s you! But how do you run a Gathering activity?
Submit a proposal: this year we have a handy, easy form for you to fill out! Proposals made before April 1st will be considered for the coming WisCon—after that we’ll put them in our pocket for WisCon 43! Our gathering planners will let you know if we’ll be able to host your activity shortly after you apply. We particularly welcome activities that de-center whiteness, emphasize inclusion among new WisCon attendees, and highlight our theme.
Make it happen: Generally the amount of pre-planning required is quite low, and you can often find help making it happen from cool people on your favorite forms of social media. (Hint—WisCon twitter is always happy to signal boost planning calls!) WisCon may be able to make small purchases of supplies like stickers to make your activity work—just ask! Please note that we are not able to bring in outside food for activities due to our agreement with the hotel.
At-Con: Show up between 12 & 12:30pm to set up your activity! We ask that you either stay at the Gathering to make sure that your activity is continuing or recruit some trustworthy friends to help out. This is a great way to talk to new people and meet new faces, if that’s your thing! And time spent running your activity counts towards your volunteer refund hours.
That’s it! Really pretty easy stuff and always, always appreciated. We look forward to the fresh, fantastic ideas that you all come up with every year, as well as the activities we anticipate year after year! So click over to the proposal page, sign up, and we’ll see you in May!
Because WisCon has always challenged us to take our own activism and geekdom to new levels via the evolving philosophies of Feminism, the Programming Department decided to try something new for WisCon 42. For this upcoming WisCon, the Programming Department came up with a theme to be tied into our activist discussions and activities.
Theme: What Does Justice Demand?
Although the words “social justice” are bandied about within the WisCon community, geek/nerd spaces, as well as the mainstream, and many talk about and endeavour to work within this framework, what does it actually mean. How is social justice lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminism and genre work (scifi, fantasy, horror, and others) both past and present?
We’re excited to have other departments adding their own unique flavors to this year’s theme.
I’m Curious. How Exactly Will The Other Departments Be Participating In The Theme?
Glad you asked! Some of the departments provided us with some information as to how they plan to participate.
From the Art Show Department:
We often have artists in the Art Show who deal with issues of social justice directly or indirectly in their work, but this year we’ll be specifically inviting applicants to make art for the show addressing the question of what justice demands (although it won’t be required). Applications for the WisCon 42 show will open in January 2018, and we welcome new artists to apply (see http://wiscon.net/events/art-show/ for details).
From the Gaming Department:
The gaming track will also work to engage the theme What Does Justice Demand. If you have ideas for board games, tabletop roleplaying games, larps, or even video games that explore ideas of justice that you’d like to run, please keep an eye out for the call for games in early January. If you’d like to propose a game but are out of ideas, or want help finding ways to address the theme, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to work with you to find something you’d be excited about running.
Please note that participation in this theme is not mandatory. We would simply like to invite you to reflect on this theme. If you so choose, we welcome your panel suggestions that you believe would tie into it.
This Sounds Really Cool! Can I Start Submitting Panel Ideas Now?
That you can! Program ideas submissions are open! The Wiscon 42 programing department looks forward to receiving all of the awesome ideas YOU have to offer!
We invite you to submit programming 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. We can’t wait to see your suggestions!
Please note starting this year, there will be a hard stop for accepting program idea submissions. Unfortunately, the WisCon 42 program committee will no longer accept any program ideas after the January 19, 2018. Make sure to submit your ideas before the deadline!
What If I Want To Submit An Academic Paper?
The call for Wiscon Academic Papers is open until February 1, 2018. Submit your proposal using the online form. 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’ve heard of Giving Tuesday, odds are you’re a generous person and you’ve got lots of organizations asking for donations from you already. Thank you for that! Generosity toward others in our communities is increasingly necessary to us all.
If you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday, it was conceived a few years ago as a balance to the Black Friday phenomenon — a day centered around supporting nonprofits by making donations. We suspect you’re a generous person as well, and we salute your remarkable ability to stay off donation mailing lists!
We know that most of the people in our community are spread thin, and that when our friends and neighbors need help with day-to-day expenses, contributing to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) can feel like a low priority.
We believe that WisCon is a vital space to regroup, to strategize, to take a break, to do work that advances justice, and to envision the future. Because of that, we feel that it’s more important than ever to support folks who want to attend but face financial challenges to their participation. The WMAF makes awards of between $50 and $500 to folks who apply for assistance, but we can’t do that without your donation. Your $5 (or more!) can help us to have a vibrant, inclusive WisCon this May.
***SUBMISSION DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 2/14***
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 WisCon 42’s theme: “What Does Justice Demand?” We invite papers and panels that explore the meanings, histories, and cultures of “social justice.” How is social justice 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 political questions of justice as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and cultures of social-justice-oriented fan communities.
Further, we invite proposals from anyone with a scholarly interest in the intersections of gender, 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 2018’s Guests of Honor Tananarive Due and Saladin Ahmed.
An incomplete list of possible subjects:
What Does Justice Demand? How is social justice lived/embodied? How does social justice shape feminism and genre work (scifi, fantasy, horror, and others) both past and present?
Gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our Guests of Honor, Tananarive Due and Saladin Ahmed
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; 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 42 is midnight Central Time on February 14, 2018.
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.
Last May, during WisCon 41, political turmoil was dominating national and world attention. We know it had a dramatic impact on the conversations we had during the convention — not only as a topic, but also in shaping the membership. We know that as a convention in the midwest, in Wisconsin, in the United States, our environment became less welcoming — and in many ways more hostile — than ever before. And we know that hasn’t changed.
We feel that it’s important to counter that hostility while continuing our work right here in Madison. WisCon is not simply a convention: every Memorial Day weekend we create a space to organize, to push back, to have restorative conversations, to make connections, and to build our dream of a better future.
As an intersectional feminist convention, 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. Our most concrete step toward inclusion and equity is WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF).
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. It’s vital that we ease the way for as many people as possible to join us, bringing their opinions, their ideas, and their knowledge. WisCon builds and tests ideas, exploring gender, class, race, and ability in science fiction and fantasy, and through that process, we build our culture and our world in a way that isn’t limited to the con.
We need your donations to make this happen. Any amount you donate to WMAF makes a huge difference — our goal is to raise $8,000 by December 31, enough to help at least sixteen people, and probably many more. Donations to WisCon are tax-deductible in the US.
Have you ever thought about how crucial WisCon’s Hotel team is to the convention? Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you don’t know what the Hotel Department is or what they do. Would you like to learn? It just so happens we’re looking for a few understudies!
You might have already guessed that they interact with our hotel—it’s right there in the name. The Hotel team keeps in touch with the Madison Concourse Hotel, our venue, throughout the year (and not just because they get to be friends during the convention, though that’s true, too).
Details? The members of our Hotel team get the updates on remodeling and other changes happening at the Concourse, keep tabs on reservations in WisCon’s room block, and double-check that our programming will fit into the available space. They confirm which rooms will hold the Safer Spaces, the Quiet Space, the parties, papers, panels, and workshops, and sort out which rooms need what audio/visual equipment when. They work closely with the Concourse to put together the diagrams of how each program room will be set up, when those setups need to change, and whether or not we need to rent more chairs, tables, or microphones. They tell the hotel when to expect our deliveries, meet our moving truck, and make sure that everyone involved—volunteers, convention members, contractors, and hotel staff—is able to have a great time throughout Memorial Day weekend.
How crucial is the Hotel team? Without them we wouldn’t have rooms to sleep in during the convention. Or anywhere to have panels. And no one would be able to hear the panelists, since they wouldn’t have microphones. Or chairs. Or tables. And we couldn’t all chill in the Con Suite because all of our kitchen equipment would still be in storage.
Want to be part of making all of these practical details happen? We’re currently looking for at least two additional Hotel team members, no prior experience needed. We will teach you all of the mysteries of who gets a “lanyard of power,” what our contracts say, how to read BEOs, and, incidentally, what BEO stands for.
Members of the Hotel team do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.
To apply to join the Hotel team, please email email@example.com.
SF3’s Fundraising Committee is looking for new members, and we want to train you! We’ve only been around for a few years, and this is the first time we’ve felt ready to expand and welcome new team members. The Fundraising Committee raises money for SF3’s projects — right now, that just means that we raise the money that keeps WisCon both affordable and amazing. We do that by appealing to our community for donations, by approaching businesses that might be willing to sponsor parts of the convention or to shoulder some of the costs of parts of the convention, and by applying for grants that could cover specific elements of our programs.
Right now we’re doing that as a team of three people, and we’d like to bring at least two more folks onto the team. Our current team includes an experienced nonprofit development professional who is interested in training people who are completely new to fundraising but would like to learn, as well as folks who would like to contribute their own expertise.
The two roles we’d like to fill can both be filled by beginners, offer completely flexible hours, and can accommodate irregular availability; both also require willingness to communicate proactively with the rest of the team and to make certain that a small number of tasks are done every month by a set deadline. If you are interested in building your resume, changing careers, or translating volunteer work into paid work at another nonprofit in the future, we can help you with that! Available roles include:
Grant Writer. If you enjoy making clear, compelling arguments and presenting evidence in text, this one’s for you! To take this one on, if you don’t have some experience, then we ask that you be willing to do a certain amount of self-guided training, mainly by reading up on a few “how to” books at your local public library. You’ll learn about WisCon & other SF3 projects, collaborate with the whole Fundraising team to identify grant-fundable programs and to research potential grants, and then you will coordinate the tasks of writing and submitting those grants. You shouldn’t need to do all of the writing or any other part of a given grant if you don’t want to, but you will be our expert, and will direct grant application efforts. The entire team will be expected to contribute work under the grant writer’s direction, so that no one on the team will be crushed by deadlines or have to shoulder any other stress. We think this role will take a maximum of 10 hours in any given month, and that it should average out to around 3 hours a month over the course of the year.
Fundraising Generalist. Absolute beginners are very welcome in this role. You’ll learn about nonprofit fundraising best practices including responsibilities to donors, to the community, and to the organization. You’ll participate in planning and carrying out fundraising appeals, collaborate on designing and pursuing sponsorships, help to create donation records, reports, and donor recognition procedures. You’ll also help us to make sure that we thank every donor so they know how crucial they are to WisCon’s success. This role will have lots of support and guidance if you’d like to learn, but can also accommodate a volunteer who is already familiar with fundraising or is just looking for regular set tasks and low-stress conversational planning. We think this role will take a maximum of 5 hours in a busy month, and it should average out to around 1.5 hours a month over the course of the year.
Members of the Fundraising Committee do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.
Yes, you read it right. This year’s WisCon *will* be 42, but we plan to be just as vibrant and challenging a space for ideas, inquiry, and justice long into the future. We’re laying the groundwork for that now, with our youngest members―and we need your help.
We’re looking for creative and enthusiastic folks to join our Kids’ Programming team and help nurture the next generation of feminist SFF fans. Tailored to WisCon members 6-12 years old, Kids’ Programming has a long history and excellent reputation. In the past, it’s included hands-on science, book discussions, crafting workshops, collaborative art and storytelling, games, swimming, and talks with artists and authors. It’s kind of like a day camp in 3 hour chunks…which isn’t actually that different from the grownup version of WisCon. The biggest difference is that the timescale of planning programs for the convention doesn’t work well for the under-twelve set, and that’s where you come in.
Our Kids’ Program team will be made up of at least three adults who will be part of our Convention Committee (ConCom). In the coming months, the team will plan out a series of highly varied short programs to fill around 16 hours of time, and will talk with likely authors, artists, crafters, and creators from among WisCon’s membership who can lead, share, demonstrate, or teach the things they are passionate about to young convention members. Kids’ Programming is drop-in, just like most of the grownup programs at WisCon, but offers adult supervision and requires that attendees are signed in and out by a parent or responsible adult. Because of that, members of the Kids’ Program team will be expected to be present during programming for 4-6 hours of the convention, all between 8:30am and 5pm, and never overlapping with lunch breaks.
This role is the perfect experience if you’re thinking of a future as a teacher, a librarian, a parent, an event planner, a counselor (camp, crisis, or other)… You don’t have to be a parent, you just have to enjoy making plans that will allow kids to have a good time. And you should probably be over 18. A larger team will make the work low stress and low time commitment, with an emphasis on discussing ideas and having conversations with people interested in making those ideas reality.
Members of the Kids’ Programming team do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.
Last day of the con, last newsletter of the con. 😭😭😭😭😭
Please don’t forget to turn in your plastic badge holder at the Registration desk. While you’re there grab one of our Souvenir Books! Enjoy a day of relaxing in Madison if you’re staying today, and safe travels if you’re leaving.
We all had a great time this weekend, and we can’t wait to see you again in a year. Hope you can join us!
Have one last question? Want to register for WisCon 42? Lost something over the weekend and hope someone turned it in? The Registration desk is open until 1:30pm.
You still have a few more hours to visit the Art Show, Dealers’ Room, and the Con Suite. And get your drabbles in to the Drabble Challenge!
Art Show: 10am – 12pm
Dealers’ Room: 10am – 2pm
Con Suite: Closes at 1pm
Drabble Challenge: Closes at 4pm
Today’s big events
11:30am – 12:45pm
Come to the SignOut, a signing party and WisCon farewell rolled into one! Writers and those who love them will gather together to sign and get signatures, to thank and praise and schmooze one last time before we fly away for another year.
Authors at the SignOut this year are: Becky Allen, Charlie Jane Anders, Paul Dale Anderson, Eleanor A. Arnason, Robyn Bennis, Lee Blauersouth, Ty Blauersouth, K. Tempest Bradford, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Moondancer Drake, Timmi Duchamp, Amal El-Mohtar, Ruthanna Emrys, Alexandra Erin, Michael Thomas Ford, Andrea D. Hairston, Naomi Kritzer, David D. Levine, Nancy Jane Moore, Sunny Moraine, Pat Murphy, Anne M. Pillsworth, Beth Plutchak, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Cath Schaff-Stump , Nisi Shawl, Jan Suzukawa, Sheree Renée Thomas, Amy Thomson, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Cynthia Ward
Fond Farewell Party
8pm – 12am
If you’re still here on Monday night, come join others who are still here for a Fond Farewell party. We’ll have munchies, beverages, and good conversation. It’s the last party for WisCon 2017! It’ll begin at 8 PM and run until the last fan falls over.
Art Show: Desperately needs help packing up the art of the 8 artists who mailed their work into the show. Also needs help for breaking down displays during tear-down. Stop by the show in Senate (1st floor) to sign up.
Tear-down: MANY departments will need help to tear down after the convention. Stop by the volunteer board (2nd floor, next to Registration desk) to see where you can help!
How can WisCon improve? What programming would you like to see next year? Who would make a great Guest of Honor for WisCon 43? Please check out this blog post and help us continue to build a great WisCon.