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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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??
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:
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.
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!
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
Do you love WisCon’s nightlife? Do you have a fun idea for a party, or a book to launch, or a group to celebration, or some combination of that and more? Don’t forget to get your requests in for your WisCon 42 party! Requests close March 15th! Find out more and fill out the form HERE. Kesha* demands it!
*Actual Kesha does not know anything about this, we just think she’s pretty great and that she probably would support your cool party.
WisCon’s Gaming Department is gearing up for an awesome con! Here’s what we have in store for gamers and the gaming-curious.
Our Open Gaming Space will be open each evening from 8pm to 12am in the second floor lobby in front of the Dealers’ Room doors. We will teach and play a variety of modern games open to casual drop-in players. Most games will be suitable in theme and content for players of a variety of ages from children on up. New players are welcome and encouraged to join us! This year, we are excited to share new additions of Braille-marked accessibility kits to our collection, for the popular Pandemic and 7 Wonders board games, as well as a Braille RPG dice set that can be loaned out for scheduled (or impromptu) role-playing games. We welcome you to bring games to share with fellow attendees, or to choose a game from our collection to play.
Reserve a seat to ensure a spot in one of our scheduled games! Reservations are not required, but they are recommended, especially for role-playing and storytelling games. Reserve a seat today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the con, a board outside of the Dealers’ Room will feature that evening’s featured games along with sign-up space, or you can sign up at the Gaming table at the Gathering on Friday. Throughout the weekend, we will advertise games that are looking for players, so stay alert for posters, tweets, and whispers.
Scheduled Games at WC42
When: Friday: 2:30-5:15 pm
Location: Room 641
Sign is a silent game about being understood.
In 1977 fifty deaf children from across Nicaragua were brought together to an experimental school to teach lip reading, but something far more remarkable happened. At this time in Nicaragua no sign language existed, so the children did the only thing they could — they created one. In Sign, players experience a small piece of their journey of struggling to be understood and finding ways to share what is important to them.
Sign is equally fun to play if you are new to games, you’ve never signed before, or you are fluent in a sign language.
When: Friday: 6:30-9:30 pm
Location: Room 641
Fiasco is a storytelling game inspired by cinematic tales of small-time capers gone disastrously wrong, with powerfully ambitious characters who lack impulse control. A game of big dreams and flawed execution, Fiasco is an award-winning, GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with no preparation. During the game you will engineer and play out silly, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and passion. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one. This game is particularly welcoming for those new to role-playing games. Players will choose among several “playsets,” some of which are family-friendly, to create a story in a customized setting.
When: Friday: 10 pm-12 am
Location: Room 641
JUGGERNAUT IS NEVER WRONG
It is July third, 1950. The Korean War is eight days old. National Security Council Report 68 is sitting on Harry Truman’s desk, a grim outline of the Cold War that is to enfold the world for the next 40 years. Alan Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” is circulating for review. Cinderella is a box office sensation.
And you have invented a computer that can see the future.
Employing cutting-edge Ward-Takahashi identity derivations outside their quantum-theoretical framework, JUGGERNAUT processes enormous data sets, ostensibly in the service of code-breaking once the technology is proven and refined. The unstable geniuses behind the math have reached some curious conclusions that only experimental evidence can confirm. By the numbers, JUGGERNAUT —given enough resources— should be able to crack ciphers before they are even invented.
JUGGERNAUT is a live-action game about free will that plays like a creepy Twilight Zone episode and requires almost no prep. Replay value is high and it is always weird and intense To play.
When: Saturday: 9-12 am
Location: Room 641
GM-less, mechanics-light storygame set in a fantastical 19th century Eastern European Jewish village, based on Avery Alder’s Dream Askew.
Dream Apart gives us demons and wedding jesters; betrothals and pogroms; mystical ascensions and accusations of murder; rabbi’s daughters running away to be actresses or bandits or boy soldiers; the sounds of the shofar ringing through cramped and muddy streets, of cannon fire, of the wolf’s footfalls in the snowy pine forest; asking “What do you do next?”
In Dream Apart you play a Jew of the shtetl, a little mostly-Jewish market town in the Eastern European countryside. In the cities, the industrial revolution has begun. Prussia, Russia and the Hapsburgs have devoured the small countries between them. Surrounded by an often hostile Christendom, by wild forests in which anything might creep, and by the invisible creatures of the Unseen World — angels, demons, ghosts, and dybbuks — the Jews of the shtetl try to outwit or outlast those who would do us harm. We feud and reconcile, bargain and gossip, celebrate and mourn, and snatch a little joy and love while we can. Life in the shtetl is sweet as raisin pastries and bitter as horseradish: may it be the Divine Will that it endures another season…
When: Saturday: 1:00-5:15 pm
Location: Room 641
In this map-drawing game you collectively explore the struggles of a community of monsters, trying to rebuild and heal after driving off the human occupiers. It’s a game about community, difficult choices, and decolonization. When you play, you make decisions about the community, decisions that get recorded on a map that is constantly evolving. Players work together to create and steer this community, but they also play devil’s advocate and introduce problems and tensions into the game.
When: Saturday: 6:30-10:30 pm
Location: Room 641
Dread is an elegant survival-horror game that runs on a very simple mechanic: Jenga! Pull a block to succeed, or refuse and fail— but when the tower falls, somebody dies. No dice needed. Game facilitator will provide all materials. 2 scenarios will be available, and players will choose which one to play based on interest. One is a classic AI space horror called Only the Food, the other is Stranger Dread (based on, guess what: Stranger Things). Warning: This is a horror game and characters will die! However, we will use safety mechanics such as the X card to avoid specific triggering topics.
When: Sunday: 10-11:15 am
Location: Meet in the hotel lobby
Pokémon Go! is a fun Augmented Reality game in which players go out in the world and catch pokémon either alone or in a group! Urban areas such as the area around the convention hotel are excellent places to catch pokémon, battle gyms, and even join together to take on large raids.
I would like to bring a group of Pokémon-catching enthusiasts on a short expedition out and around the square near the capitol (bordered by Doty, Fairchild, Dayton, and Webster Streets at most, but probably staying right around the capitol itself). This is intended to be a social outing + game, so players should plan to come and chat about their favorite pokémon, what they need to complete their pokédex, etc.
The game is all ages, but as it involves leaving the premises of the WisCon hotel, children must bring their guardian with them.
Players should bring: comfortable walking shoes and/or any mobility aids, a device capable of playing Pokémon Go! and connecting to the network (or a friend willing to provide a hotspot), water, and sunscreen.
Accessibility: I intend to stick to sidewalks and will avoid any extremely difficult to maneuver areas (for instance, construction). The game does involve some movement and some standing/staying in one place to capture pokémon.
Group size: Although there is no theoretical limit to group size, I am hoping to recruit 1 or 2 other people to be potential “group leaders” just in case the group is extremely large. Although a very large (more than 20 people) will be good for a pokémon raid, it will result in logistic problems as we move around the square. If we have enough people to split into groups, I would like to send the groups in different directions so that we don’t clog the sidewalk.
Dialect – Mars Colony
When: Sunday: 1:00-3:45 pm
Location: Room 641
Have you ever wanted to create your own language for a creative project? In Dialect you can live that dream by building a unique vocabulary for a Mars colony. Dialect is a story game about a Mars colony that loses contact with Earth. Players tell the story of the colony and it’s dialect growing and changing without Earth’s influence. When contact with Earth is re-established, our story ends. This engaging and beautiful game is perfectly suited to first-time storytellers of any age.
When: Sunday: 4:00-5:15 pm
Location: Tables outside the dealers room
Lovecraft Letter is fast moving, quick to play card game, in which players seek out dark secrets, risking their very sanity. But not really. Lovecraft letter is a game of risk, deduction and luck that uses the award-winning love letter engine.
Individual games move very fast (as little as 10 minutes), so far more people than six can sign up and get a chance to play. Players can drop in and out throughout the time slot.
When: Sunday: 6:30-10:30 pm
Location: Room 641
Since 1992, approximately 28,000 Danish soldiers have gone to war abroad. Distance is a scenario about some of their wives who were left at home. Jesper, Simon, and Kenneth are stationed in the Danish army in Afghanistan. They will be there for six months and all communication with their loved ones will take place through unstable telephone lines and bad internet connections. Meanwhile, Anne-Mette, Camilla, and Josephine take care of things at home. The three women have formed a support group where they share their experiences.
Distance is a tragic story about how the three marriages are affected by the husbands’ absence. The scenario is played out through short stand-alone scenes showing highlights spread out over all six months. The story focuses on the wives and life at home. There are snapshots of busy days and anxious nights waiting for a phone call that never comes. There is awkward Skype sex and confrontations with judgmental friends. There are episodes of meeting new men, sometimes in the form of unwanted sexual advances, other times igniting new sparks of attraction.
As you who is reading this probably know, the Panel Surveys are currently live and will close on March 19th. However, some of you fine folk put in requests for special AV equipment when you submitted your proposed panel ideas. In order to best accommodate all parties, we ask that those of you who submitted requests for AV equipment outside of the standard microphone set up confirm that you still require said equipment.
To confirm, please email us at email@example.com with “AV 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 by March 19th.
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 Panel Requests for WisCon 42
You may have noticed that certain panels allow for only a “I would like to attend this panel” option. That is because the suggesters had requested that these particular panels be staffed with those folk who best fit with the marginalized identities about which the panels will discuss. If you have not already contacted us about hand-staffing your proposed panel, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
But now you can take care of your own need for clothing and benefit the WMAF at the same time! Sam Haney Press has designed artwork based on an idea from Nicasio Andres Reed (inspired by Woodie Guthrie) and we’re making it available on t-shirts! (And on a tote bag, which you will probably need to…carry the multiple t-shirts you are going to want to buy.)
CHECK. IT. OUT.
What’s more, you (yes, YOU!) benefit from our indecisiveness, as we have made this amazing artwork available printed in as many colors as we could manage onto as many colors and cuts of t-shirt as we could manage, while confirming that the garments are made ethically and that we can provide as broad a size range as possible.
We’re selling these shirts (and tote bags) via Teespring for a limited time: just until the end of WisCon 42, on May 28. 100% of the revenue we generate there goes into the WMAF.
What are you waiting for?! GO BUY SOME SHIRTS. Then come back and read more about the WMAF and donate if you can. <3
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. Keep in mind that WisCon is not just a convention: every Memorial Day weekend we create space to organize, to push back, to have restorative conversations, to make connections, and to build our dream of a better future.
As intersectional feminists, 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. A big part of how we foster inclusion and equity is WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund.
We need your donations to make this happen. Any amount you donate to WMAF makes a huge difference, and donations to WisCon are tax-deductible in the US.