All posts by Wendy Bolm

March 20 Update on COVID-19

As promised in our March 6 update, we wanted to check back in with the WisCon community about our decision-making process given the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

As of today, the Board has met and is considering various options. We’ll make an official announcement on Monday, March 23, with the Board’s final decision. Thanks so much for your continued patience, for staying at home as much as you can, and for washing your hands often with soap and water!

This Just In: WisCon 44 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey is now Open!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey is now live. Please give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 44.

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 a WisCon account in order to view and take 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 you have logged into your account. Or you can click here. https://account.wiscon.net/program/?edit=yes

Be sure to also update your availability so we know when you want to be assigned to panels.

Please note that even if you were the one that proposed a panel, you still need to log into the survey and sign up for it. Proposed names are not automatically carried into the survey sign up.

This is a very important stage of Panel Programming. The more people who participate in the survey and sign up for and/or rate the panels, the better chance you will have at seeing your panel selections on the final schedule. We understand that completing the survey can be laborious, but doing so is completely for your benefit.

As always, questions/concerns/feedback can be sent to panels@wiscon.net.

WisCon Needs More Brains! (Ceremonies and Access)

We still have open roles on the ConCom where we’d love your help! Email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer your brain.

Ceremonies

We’re in need of an MC/organizer for the Sunday night speeches: coordinating with the guests of honor and other speakers beforehand to make sure they’re prepared and have what they need, directing them during the event, and making general announcements from the podium. (Or, if you can organize/stage-manage but don’t like public speaking, the announcements can be covered by a con chair.)

For this role you’ll need to be present at WisCon 44 and available Sunday night, from before the dessert salon through the end of the speeches. The time commitment before the con should be low and mainly involves sending emails in April and May. Our usual MC can’t make it this year, but she’s happy to answer questions and help you through it!

Access

The Access team is still looking for a CART/ASL Liaison.

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 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.

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. If you stay on the ConCom, you also get to vote during the selection process next fall for WisCon’s future Guests of Honor.

Again, please email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer or if you have questions!

HOSTS NEEDED FOR THE TRANS/GQ/GNC SAFER SPACE

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, tgqsaferspace@wiscon.net, 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 personnel@sf3.org. The Access Team leads, Lynnea and Sarahtops, also welcome your questions, and can be reached at access@wiscon.net

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 personnel@sf3.org. We also welcome your questions!

WisCon Needs BRRRAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINNNNNSSSS!!!

…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 personnel@sf3.org. 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 teenprograms@wiscon.net and Kids Program at kidsprograms@wiscon.net. 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 gaming@wiscon.net 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 gaming@wiscon.net 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.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS — WISCON INVITES SCHOLARS TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS FOR WISCON 44 ACADEMIC TRACK

  • contact: academic@wiscon.net
  • 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.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS — WISCON INVITES SCHOLARS TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS FOR WISCON 44 ACADEMIC TRACK

 

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 (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.

If you have questions, please email: academic@wiscon.net

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.