March 6 Update on COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

Additional resources:

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


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

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

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

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

Join The Access Team!

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

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

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

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

Volunteer by emailing The Access Team leads, Lynnea and Sarahtops, also welcome your questions, and can be reached at

Help Us Feed WisCon!

Help Us Feed WisCon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join us by emailing We also welcome your questions!

You’ve Got TEN DAYS left to submit panel ideas to WisCon 44!

Time flies! We’ve got just 10 days before panel submissions close, and we’re a bit lower on ideas than we would like to be. We know some of you love to leave things to the last minute, but anyone who can should go now and submit their amazing amazing ideas here: Submit Panel Ideas.

Got questions? We’ve got answers!

I’ve got a half formed idea and I need to breathe life into it. Can you help me?

Totally! Head over here to Dreamwidth and do some groupwork on panel idea. Even if you DON’T have an idea floating around, it’s a great place to help other craft panels!

I’m a little fuzzy on how I should go about submitting a panel idea. Can you help me out?

Of course we can! Here’s the best way to go about it:

If you log into your profile, you will see a list of different options where you can submit your program idea to the right department on the left-hand side of the screen. Please see the screenshot below for an example. (We know these screenshots are from last year–everything should be the same otherwise!)

If you want to submit a panel idea, please click on the “Submit Ideas” option.

We ask that you please use the correct option for submitting your program idea. If you want to submit a party, you will need to click on the “Host a party” option. If you want to submit a paper proposal or academic proposal, please click on the “Submit Paper Proposal” option.

If you submit an event to us that is not a panel, due to the volume of panel requests and the subsequent organization of the panel schedule, we cannot guarantee that your submission will be timely transferred to the correct department.  The deadline to submit a panel idea to Panel Programming is January 19, 2020.

OK, that sounds very easy. Do I have to log in to submit a panel idea?

You actually don’t have to log in to your profile to submit a panel idea unless you want to receive a confirmation email to show that your submission has been received. For your benefit, we recommend logging in, especially if you submit multiple panel ideas! It will be easier for you [and us] to keep track.

This is super helpful information. Anything else I should know?

Panel Programming wants to help you get the best WisCon panel programming experience, so after you register, we would like for you to do a couple of things to help us help you.

  1. Update your profile, especially your email address.

All you need to do is log in to your profile, click the “Edit” link on the right side of your name, then click on “Save” once you’re done.

  1. Update your availability.

This information is essential for us. The more information you provide us, the better chance you have in getting your top choices of panels at your most desired times. To update your availability, please click on “Tell Us Your Schedule”.  After you click on “Tell Us Your Schedule,” you will be brought to the following screen:

In this text, you will be asked for your arrival/departure information, your desired number of panels, as well as your preferred panel times. Once again, the more information you provide us, the better it will be for you. Given that it is still early, you can start off with a ballpark estimate, but please continue to update as we get closer to the availability deadline in March 2019.

As usual, if you have any questions regarding Panels, please email us at


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join us by emailing We also welcome your questions!v

WisCon is now accepting proposals for games!

Submit your games here by clicking the link, logging into your WisCon account, and selecting Gaming from the drop down menu. The deadline for proposing games is February 28th.

We have a slots available all day for two dedicated gaming rooms every day of the con, so don’t be shy about proposing games. We’re excited to see your game submissions, be they tabletop roleplaying, larp, board games, or, if you’ve got a way to make it work, video games! We also encourage you to submit games to the Teen Program at and Kids Program at You can submit to these tracks by following the link above and selecting them from the drop down menu.

If you’d like to propose a game but are out of ideas, or want help figuring out what of several options you want to offer, please reach out to and we’d love to work with you to find something you’d be excited about running.

Again, submit your games here by clicking the link and selecting Gaming from the drop down menu. 

Once you have submitted your game proposal you can expect an email from within the next couple days confirming that we received your submission and asking any follow up questions. After submissions close on February 28th a schedule will be created and sent out by early March so you will know your commitments when the call for panelists goes out.


  • contact:
  • Deadline for proposals: February 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!

Land Acknowledgement: Madison, Wisconsin, the location of WisCon, occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial.

In an 1832 treaty, the Ho-Chunk were forced to cede this territory. Decades of white supremacist, settler colonial violence followed as both the federal and state government repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought to forcibly remove the Ho-Chunk from Wisconsin. This history of colonization informs our shared future of collaboration and innovation. WisCon’s dynamic intersectional feminist process is informed by internal and external collaboration with displaced communities as we strive to enact decolonial politics.

Today, WisCon respects the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation, along with the Miami, Menominee, Potawatomi, Oneida, Mohican, Ojibwe (Chippewa), Sioux, and all First Nations of Wisconsin.



WisCon has a track of academic programming, framed by the convention’s Statement of Principles, that encourages submissions from scholars in all fields, including interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and anti-disciplinary areas, 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. The track operates very much like a conventional academic conference, with presentations based on research. However, the audience that WisCon reaches is able to provide scholarly work—on all aspects of feminist science fiction—a kind of passionate and informed feedback that is rare at academic conferences. We very much encourage submissions from people who aren’t involved in formal academic work! Over the years, people have presented papers on fantasy, horror, speculative and science fiction literature, media, and fandom, examining issues of feminism, gender, sexuality, race, disability, colonialism, and class, amongst many others.

Given our current political moment, we invite papers and panels that explore themes echoing the American Studies Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting, “Build As We Fight,” as well as the National Women’s Studies Association’s 2019 Annual Conference, “Protest, Justice, and Transnational Organizing.” With these themes in mind, we encourage proposals to consider science fiction as a site of protest. For example, how can feminist speculative fiction help us fight for a more just world? What lessons can be learned from Indigenous science fiction and science fiction from diasporic communities, to advance decolonial, anti-racist change? How can we use speculative fiction genres to respond to the threats of white supremacy, dispossession, militarization, and extractive capitalism?

This theme is an opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and cultural questions about the radical politics of futures as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and dream making of freedom-oriented fan communities.

Further, we invite proposals from anyone with a scholarly interest in the intersections of gender, gender identity, 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 2020’s Guests of Honor Rebecca Roanhorse and Yoon Ha Lee. An incomplete list of possible subjects:

  • What are the meanings, histories, and cultures of “protest?” How can feminist protest advance decolonial, anti-racist change? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present?
  • Gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our Guests of Honor, Rebecca Roanhorse and Yoon Ha Lee
  • 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; Indigenous Futurism, Afrofuturism and related cultural movements
  • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the academic classroom and beyond

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 44 is midnight Central Time on February 14, 2020.

Please submit your proposal using this form ( 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.

If you have questions, please email:

Nominate Your Friends or Your Heroes (or Both) As WisCon 45 Guest of Honor

The clock is running down on your time to nominate a Guest of Honor for WisCon 45 in 2021!

We opened nominations back in May during WisCon 43, and you have until Tuesday, October 15, at 11:59pm Central Time to send in all your wildest dreams of who you’d like to see us spotlight.

Don’t talk yourself out of sending us your thoughts! It’s easy, and nominations for Guest of Honor can come from anyone. That means whether you’ve been to WisCon forty-one times, one time, or maybe you’ll come someday in the future, we want your nominees. As long as WisCon is important enough to you to send an email, your ideas are important to us.

Our Guests of Honor help shape and focus our programming, influencing our conversations at the convention and afterward, so we welcome nominees who have something to say about the world, science fiction, fantasy, and elements of inclusive intersectional feminism as described in WisCon’s Statement of Principles. Guests of Honor can be essayists, critics, artists, reviewers, fans, authors, musicians, scientists, performers, or none of the above, so long as you think they fit the bill.

To make a nomination (or ten, or more), send an email to We’d love to hear your reasoning, but that’s not mandatory. We’ll make a list of all of the nominees on October 16, and the convention planning committee will take a series of votes then extend invitations to the top candidates. We’ll announce the WisCon 45 guests during WisCon 44 in 2020, and then this whole process will start again.

More questions about Guests of Honor and the whole process? We’ve got lots of details in a previous version of this blog post – just don’t forget that the dates have changed.

Happy nominating – we can’t wait to hear who you want to invite!

Statement of Support in Renaming the Tiptree Award

Since the creation of the Tiptree Award was first announced by Guest of Honor Pat Murphy at WisCon 15 in 1991, WisCon has been proud to host the award winners and to support the award by hosting fundraisers at-con. Making big changes can be difficult, but listening to the voices of our community members exemplifies the values that our con continues to strive towards. We fully support the Motherboard in their decision to rename the award, and we look forward to celebrating the award under its new name at WisCon 44 in 2020.