Submit programming and panel ideas for WisCon 40 – Deadline is January 29th

K. Tempest Bradford, Joanna Lowenstein, Tanya DePass

2016 is upon us — and WisCon 40 is just four months away! That means it’s time to submit panel and other programming ideas. (Technically, you could have done so right after WisCon 39, but this is the time of year we start talking deadlines and such.) To send us your idea, go to and fill out the form. Simple!

Who can submit ideas?

Anyone! Obviously, we encourage people who plan to attend WisCon to submit, but you don’t have to be registered to do so. If you think you might come to WisCon but don’t know for sure and really want there to be a panel about That Thing You Love if you do come, send us the idea. If you think there should be a conversation about a Very Important Thing even if you’re not there to have that conversation, send us the idea. If you’re coming to WisCon for sure and want a panel to happen but don’t want to be on that panel, send us the idea. And, of course, if you’re coming and you have a panel you want to happen and you want to be on it, send us the idea.

Does the panel have to be fully formed and perfect with the Best Title Ever and a description that would make the Restoration Hardware copy writers weep with envy?

Nope. You can submit sketches of ideas, half-formed thoughts, vague outlines. The programming team will do their best to interpret what you give us and turn it into a proposed panel with a title and full description.

If you would like to submit ideas with semi-polished titles and descriptions but feel like you need some input or help, you can always create a WisCon Brainstorming Thread on your blog or on social media. In fact, the comment section of this post is a free space for panel brainstorming and members of the programming team will pop in to assist up until the deadline.

Are we only accepting panel ideas, or are we up for suggestions outside of the 3 – 5 people sit behind a table and talk for an hour format?

We are very interested in any kind of programming ideas. Anything from roundtable discussions to group participation activities to performances to puppet shows and anything else. The only exceptions: Readings and Academic Talks/Presentations. Those are handled by other departments.

Please feel free to think outside the box and propose things we haven’t ever done before. We can’t promise to be able to make it possible this year. We can say that we’re open to new stuff. Just do us one favor: if you’re not registered yet, provide some way for us to contact you if we have questions in the description.

Is there a limit to how many ideas I can submit?

Nope. Well…okay, your limit is 100.

When is the deadline for submitting programming ideas?

January 29th.

What happens after I submit a programming idea?

Once the deadline hits and we gather all the submissions together, the programming team combs through them all and decides which panels will move onto the next step: the Programming Survey. The Survey is a list of all the viable panel ideas submitted, which is sent to WisCon attendees. The WisCon community votes on the panels, marking the ones they’d like to attend and which they want to be on as panelist or moderator. The panels with the most interest then move on to the final schedule.

How do you decide which panels go on the survey?

We try to err on the side of inclusiveness on that first pass. We weed out panels that are inappropriate for WisCon or that are just inappropriate period. We may also combine panels or other types of programming items that are very similar to each other. We also do some light massaging of panel titles and descriptions for clarity or, if they are simple sketches of an idea, we make them more robust. At this stage none of the descriptions and titles are final, and we welcome feedback from the community about language and appropriateness.

I’m ready to start submitting program ideas!

Awesome. Get to it!

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