Category Archives: WisCon 45 in 2022

Draft WisCon schedule now available

A draft of the WisCon ’22 schedule is now available at! If you filled out the interest survey to participate on panels, please log into the app, view your personal schedule, and accept or reject your assignments by April 9th.

Even if you did not fill out the survey, there are still panels that are understaffed. If you see a panel with three or less people assigned and it’s something you’re passionate about, please volunteer by emailing And tell your friends!

Volunteers Needed

We are still seeking a number of volunteers for this year’s con; please fill in this form if you can help. Several of these roles can be done fully remotely if you’re planning to attend only the online con.

COVID Safety

3-4 roles
Organize COVID information: Continue to research and organize information related to COVID 19 safety, including event best practices, failures/successes from other cons, and updates from WHO, CDC, and local municipalities.
Contingency planning: Strategize plan to pivot from hybrid to fully online con if conditions dictate (e.g., if Dane County bans large gatherings). If pivot needed, coordinate with hotel, online, and physical location teams.
Convention safety: Take reports of illness at the convention and send them out. Coordinate with other WisCon departments to make sure the convention runs as safely as possible. Plan with Accessibility, Hotel, Panels. Advise departments, make sure enough spacing in rooms, create safe seating charts, etc.

Con Suite Lead

1-2 roles
Logistics: Organize materials, food ordering,
and distributing food.
People: Manage volunteers and assign tasks at con to make con suite happen.


Organize people who want to offer activities at the Gathering, coordinate when/where it will take place, assign tables, and set up (or organize setup of) room.


Contact people who want to do readings, check with hotel/panels for space and time blocks, and schedule readings.
Again, if you think you might be able to help with any of these,  please fill in this form.

In-person attendance cap, Guest of Honor updates, and more

Hi all! We have a few major updates to share with you as we reach the end of March:

1. We are capping in-person memberships at 600 this year as a safety measure. Most years, our cap is 1,000, which is the maximum capacity of the hotel. At the last couple of in-person WisCons we’ve reached roughly 850 to 900 members.  To date, we have sold about 260 in-person memberships for WisCon 2022.

If you are planning to attend WisCon in person, we strongly encourage you to register ahead of time and book your hotel room as soon as you’re certain of your travel plans.  Discounted hotel room rates are available until April 26, 2022. We understand that planning travel during the pandemic is more complicated, but for the safety of all our members, we will need to stick to the 600-person cap and may not be able to sell tickets at the door this year. Remember you can always double-check your registration status and convert between online and in-person memberships!

Note that this cap does not affect online memberships! We have no plan to cap online memberships and are happy to welcome everyone who wants to attend virtually.

2. Regarding our Guests of Honor:

  • We’re thrilled to confirm that Sheree Renée Thomas will be attending WisCon 2022 in person and will also be available to participate in virtual programming.
  • Unfortunately, due to family commitments and the ongoing pandemic, neither Zen Cho nor Yoon Ha Lee will be able to participate either physically or virtually in WisCon 2022.
  • We have yet to receive confirmation whether Rebecca Roanhorse will be able to participate virtually (for the second time) or physically.
WisCon Guests of Honor are chosen by, and often from within, our own community, and we want to honor that choice by continuing to celebrate all of these amazing authors during WisCon 2022, just as we would if a Guest of Honor were suddenly sick and unable to attend.  Thank you for your understanding!
3. With the pandemic, things are definitely different for WisCon this year: we’re having to make major changes both in response to the disease and in response to the limited time and energy volunteers have to run events. Here are a few updates:
  • The People of Color Dinner (organized by the Carl Brandon Society) is cancelled.
  • All of our Safer Spaces will be operating online only (the Safer Space for People of Color, the Safer Space for Trans & Genderqueer People, and the Disability Safer Space).
  • We will not be serving meals in the Con Suite; we’re working on safer alternatives assuming we can get the volunteer power to do so (see below). We will have Grab & Go!
  • The Vid Party will be running both physically and virtually this year!
  • We will be having a Gathering (activities to be determined based on COVID-19 safety).
  • We’ll have at least one Guest of Honor speech. The Dessert Salon is likely to be very different due to safety concerns. We’re still working out what that will look like with the hotel, so more updates to come.
  • If you don’t see your favorite event listed here: We’re still sorting out a lot of details, and we’ll give more updates as soon as we can.
4. We still have some significant volunteer positions that need to be filled. We’re at the point now where if we don’t get volunteers, we’ll have to start making cuts to what WisCon can offer.
  • We’re looking for more members for our new COVID-19 Safety department.
  • We need a Lead for Con Suite so that we can have robust alternatives to our usual dining room.
  • We need at least one more Kids’ Programs Lead by the end of this month or we’ll have to cancel Kids Programs for this year.
More updates on these and other opportunities coming soon! If any of these volunteer opportunities interest you, please complete our Volunteer Interest Survey as soon as you can. Questions? Email
We’ll continue to provide updates as the con approaches! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our email newsletter: It’s the best way to guarantee you don’t miss any announcements.

Souvenir Program Book Update; Volunteer Print Manager Needed

Because of the ongoing pandemic, this year’s WisCon is going to feel different from past years, which is probably no surprise to anyone. One of the changes for 2022 is that the ConCom has decided not to print the Souvenir Program book: it requires a lot of volunteer time and costs us a lot of money to produce.  It’s rough not to have a  book this year, but we need to save our energy and funds for other aspects of the con.

We’re working to make sure that the information members need in the printed book will be available in other ways, including online and through more basic printed materials.

This means that we urgently need a Print Manager! This is a volunteer position that’s a project manager to oversee the creation and printing of the materials we’ll need for this con. This person will coordinate with Departments (to gain what information needs to be printed), with volunteers on the Communications committee (to lay out documents), and with printers (submitting orders & pickup).  Prior experience with printing is helpful but not required: this is mostly a communication and logistics type of role.

More details below! If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to as soon as possible and mention the Print Manager role.

Role Title: Print Manager

Department/Team: Communications

Reports to: Communications Co-Chairs

Time Requirements: 1-2 hours per week between March and mid-May (rough guess, since this is a new role!)

Presence at con: Beneficial (if unable to attend in person, will need to coordinate logistics for any print jobs that need to be picked up)

Term: One year

Role summary: The Print Manager oversees the creation and printing of any printed materials needed at WisCon. This person coordinates with Departments (to gain what information needs to be printed), with volunteers in Comms (to lay out documents), and with printers (submitting orders & pickup). We aren’t planning to print a program book this year (WisCon 2022); instead, we have a number of other smaller print jobs that need project management.

Main Tasks:


  • Working with the ConCom to determine the list of print jobs
  • Managing this list of jobs, including what their statuses and deadlines are
  • Seeking copy from Departments
  • Determining what print shop(s) we will use (obtaining quotes, selecting shop(s))
  • Providing copy and layout guidelines to Communications volunteers for layout
  • Asking Departments to proofread layouts
  • Submitting layout changes back to Communications layout volunteers
  • Finalizing layouts
  • Submitting layouts to print shop(s)
  • Ensuring orders are delivered or picked up by the afternoon of Thursday, 5/26
  • Documenting what was done for future years
Skills & experience:
  • Project management (communicating with multiple involved parties, managing deadlines)
  • Strong communication skills (person is comfortable coordinating with multiple people)
  • Previous experience working with print materials helpful but not required
  • If no previous experience, willingness to learn about printing requirements and processes
Training requirements: This is a new position, so this person would be working closely with the Co-Chairs and Communications team to support them.
Interested? If this sounds like a fun fit for you, please send an email to as soon as possible and mention the Print Manager role.

WisCon Member Assistance Fund now taking applications

The WisCon Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) provides financial assistance to people who would like to attend WisCon but for whom the costs of con attendance are a barrier.  Anyone can apply to request funds that can be used to cover airfare or other travel costs, hotel costs, childcare, or any other prohibitive expense. Members may also nominate friends or others who they know would like to attend WisCon but who may need a bit of help to do so. You can find more information on the WMAF here.

Applications are now open and the form is here: You can nominate yourself or a friend, and people who have received funds in the past can request them again. The deadline for applying is March 31st. If you have questions or trouble using the form, e-mail

If you would like to donate to help someone else attend WisCon, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. You can donate to the WMAF via PayPal, here. (SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, so contributions are tax-deductible.) You can also donate via the Registration Page! If you’re not registering, you can simply add “Donate to WMAF” to your cart and add whatever amount you’d like to donate, and pay by the means of your choice. Finally, if you would like to send a paper check, make it out to SF3 with WMAF in the memo line and mail to: SF3 / Attn: WMAFund / P.O. Box 1624 / Madison, WI 53701.

If you request funds, you should hear by mid-April whether we will be able to meet your request.


Call for Academic Papers! (Deadline Extended)

Wiscon approaches! The deadline for submission of proposals for Wiscon’s academic track has been extended to March 15th.  We welcome a wide variety of passionate, thoughtful voices about the genres that bring us joy, hope, enlightenment, and reflection about the complex worlds of which we are all part.
Given our current political moment, we invite papers and panels that explore themes echoing the American Studies Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting, “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire” as well as the National Women’s Studies Association’s 2021 Annual Conference: “killing rage: resistance on the other side of freedom”. With these themes in mind, we encourage proposals to consider science fiction as a site of connection, survival, and protest. For example, how can feminist speculative fiction help us fight for a more just world? What lessons can be learned from Indigenous, Black, POC, and diasporic speculative fiction, to advance decolonial and anti-racist change? How can we use speculative fiction genres to respond to the threats of white supremacy, dispossession, militarization, and extractive capitalism? How might speculative fiction help us come together amidst collapsing structures to enable better futures?
These themes offer opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and cultural questions about the radical politics of futures as they relate to feminist speculative 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 speculative fiction—broadly defined—in literature, media, and culture. We encourage contributions that emphasize WisCon’s focus on how speculative 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 by discrimination, or experiences bigotry.

#SaveWisCon Updates

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for help in November! We’ve made some AMAZING progress:
  • We’ve raised over $21,000 in donations out of the potential $30,000 we have in matches. If we can raise $9,000 more, that will mean $30k donated + $30k matched = a total of $60k for WisCon! You can donate via PayPal or make a contribution to the General Fund when you register for WisCon.
  • We have over 180 registrations for WisCon 2022 (in person plus online). We’d love to get to 1,000 total memberships! If you’re able to register now, either for in person or online, that’s a big help. If you know you want to do WisCon but aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to make it in person, please consider registering for an online membership now — it’s easy to upgrade to an in person membership later.
  • We’ve had over 50 people complete our volunteer interest survey. The Personnel Committee is hard at work reaching out to everyone who’s expressed interest in helping out (thanks, Personnel folks!). We’ll keep you posted about additional volunteering opportunities, including at-con opportunities, in the coming weeks.
  • We have over 175 new email subscribers towards our goal of 200 new subscribers. Welcome!
Again, thank you to everyone who’s registered, donated, volunteered, signed up for this newsletter, and helped us spread the word: together, we can #SaveWisCon!

Feminists of the Future Book Discussion Series with the Madison Public Library

The Madison Public Library is running a four-part book discussion series featuring titles by the four WisCon 2022 Guests of Honor. These book discussions will happen virtually and are open to interested participants from any location. The first one is coming up on February 28th from 7-8 p.m. CST and will be a discussion of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. You can register to get the Zoom link on the Madison Public Library site.

Feminists of the Future Book Discussion Series. February 28: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. March 28: Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee. April 25: Nine Bar Blues by Sheree Renee Thomas. May 25: Black Water Sister by Zen Cho. Register at Sponsored by the Madison Public Library and WisCon.

Register for the February 28 discussion of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse.

Register for the March 28 discussion of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee.

Register for the April 25th discussion of Nine Bar Blues by Sheree Renée Thomas.

Register for the May 23rd discussion of Black Water Sister by Zen Cho.


WisCon 2022 Panel Interest Survey now live

The Panel Interest Survey is Now Live!

It’s that matchmaking time of year. The panel interest survey is live, which means you can dive in and tell us what panels you want to attend or participate in for WisCon 2022. The results of this survey are especially important this year as it tells us not only what panels to schedule, but whether they will be in person or online. The survey will be open until the end of February. Panel suggestions from both this year and suggestions for the pivoted 2020 Con have been included for consideration. Once the survey closes, the con staff will begin matching requests with scheduling and doing the exciting work of putting together the con schedule. Check out the survey here. You will need to log in, but you do not need to be registered for the con to indicate your interest.

If you’re still mulling over whether you’d like to come to the con in person, our Health and Safety plans for WisCon 2022 are also now available.

Let’s Save WisCon!

This update is written by me, Kit Stubbs (they/them), both in my role as Treasurer for SF3, WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization, and in my role as WisCon 2022 co-chair. Thanks to Ira Alexandre (WisCon 2022 co-chair, acting Personnel chair) and Aileen Wall (WisCon 2022 co-chair, Hotel) for their help.

First of all: Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Town Hall, as panelists and attendees! Special thanks to our Board members Arley, for organizing and moderating, and Annalee and Charlie Jane, for organizing and helping with logistics.

WisCon’s roots are grounded in white feminism, and WisCon continues to struggle with racism and with finding ways to center attendees of color who have been harmed. The Town Hall marks a key point in our antiracist work to bring WisCon, particularly as experienced by our attendees and volunteers of color, into better alignment with our values—even if this means that white attendees will have to sit with discomfort.

Working towards a more antiracist con is just one of the major challenges that we face. Unless we, the WisCon community, also take significant action this year in terms of finances and our volunteer pool, within the next few years we will no longer be able to run WisCon.

Why? What’s going on?

Right now, in addition to pushing harder on antiracism, WisCon is facing big challenges on two other fronts: money and labor.


  • We don’t have enough funds to pay for what happens if we don’t fill our contracted block of hotel rooms, and we can’t afford to cancel the hotel contract. We need about $76k in additional income to our general fund by the end of WisCon 2022 to put the con back on solid financial footing.  Thanks to a generous donor, the first $5k we raise will be matched. Donate now to double the power of your donation!
  • We are in a volunteer shortage crisis. It takes a LOT of people to make WisCon happen, and we lack dozens of volunteers in key positions.
  • The Board of SF3 (WisCon’s parent nonprofit) and WisCon organizers are already starting to work on these challenges. There are many things, both large and small, that you can do to help!

What are the financial challenges?

Ideally, when we finish running one WisCon, we should have enough money to cover our expenses for the con that’s happening in two years. Why? Because shortly after each WisCon, typically, is when we sign a contract with the hotel for the con that’s happening in two years. As a ConCom member, I remember hearing “WisCon is very slowly losing money” for several years now. But it didn’t really seem urgent, somehow.

In an ongoing-pandemic world, this has become urgent because of the way our hotel contract works. Right now, we only have a contract signed with our host hotel for May 2022. We have committed to the hotel that WisCon attendees will reserve a certain number of rooms over a certain number of nights. This contract was signed pre-pandemic and assumed normal pre-pandemic WisCon attendance. We pay the hotel some extra rental fees, but most of the hotel space the con uses we get at steeply discounted rates, assuming that we fill those hotel rooms. We’re allowed to reduce our commitment before the deadline by 20% at no penalty, but if we have more unsold rooms than that, WisCon has to pay the hotel for them.

The budget that was approved by the previous Board assumed that we would have fewer in-person attendees this year, but it assumed we would still book our entire block of hotel rooms—the same size hotel block that we would normally book pre-pandemic.

But if we’re expecting fewer in-person attendees, we should also expect fewer hotel rooms to be booked, and that is a cost that WisCon is really not able to absorb.

Couldn’t we just cancel the hotel contract?

We can’t afford the cancellation fee. If we cancelled now, according to our contract, we would owe the hotel $158,000, which we absolutely do not have the resources to cover.

I’ve run some new, conservative budget projections since becoming Treasurer in October. These projections account for online memberships, which our current budget doesn’t (yay!) but also accounts for attrition in hotel rooms, which our current budget also doesn’t (oh no!). I assume that we will take a big hit on hotel rooms in 2022 and that we’ll gradually recover in 2023 and 2024.

If we take no action to change our current trajectory and only book half of our contracted hotel rooms in 2022, SF3 will go broke: We will have spent about $7,000 that the organization does not have.

If we want to get WisCon to a healthy place—meaning we’re at best fiscal practice and have enough money for the con that’s two years out in the bank—we need about $76,000 more in income for 2022 to our general fund. (This $76k doesn’t include funds for any new initiatives, this is just basically keeping the lights on. And this is separate from any WisCon Member Assistance Fund fundraising we do, since WMAF dollars legally can’t be used to pay for anything except grants to members for travel assistance.)

The good news: I’m not saying that we need to suddenly raise $76k in donations alone. This income that we need could come from selling more memberships (online or in-person), booking lots of hotel rooms (so we don’t have to pay the hotel for unused rooms), selling Dessert Salon tickets, grants, or donations. An additional $76k of income to our general fund would help keep us afloat through 2022 and 2023 and help ensure that we would have the funds to run in 2024 and 2025.

If someone were to magically appear and donate $76k to us right now, though, we’d still be in trouble because of our other current challenge: a lack of volunteers.

What’s going on with volunteers?

We’re in a volunteering crisis right now. It takes about 70 pre-con volunteers to make WisCon happen, and we have barely half that.

SF3 is WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization. WisCon happens because there are a bunch of committees of people within SF3 who do the work, and right now, we have a record number of vacancies.

SF3 has a Board of Directors. Under the Board there are four committees: Personnel (helping to recruit, onboard, and offboard volunteers); Communications (taking care of the newsletter, website, and social media); Strategic Planning (looking at our vision and mission); and the ConCom (the Convention Committee, which handles the logistics of running WisCon). Of those committees, only the ConCom has chairs right now—Personnel, Communications, and Strategic Planning have a few volunteers, but none of these three committees has a leader.

The ConCom itself is made up of the three co-chairs and 28 departments of varying sizes. Currently we have 8 departments that are completely empty and at least 8 that are critically understaffed.

In general, the ConCom has been dwindling for the past several years. We had 71 members in 2017, but only 56 members in 2019. (Here is a graph showing Concom participation by the numbers over the past several years.)

If you’re reading this now, and you’re already a WisCon volunteer: Thank you. I’m not writing this expecting you to suddenly start putting more work on your plate. (If you have the extra capacity, great! But I’m not expecting that of anyone.)

The State of WisCon

We are definitely having a WisCon in 2022. Without more volunteers, we won’t be able to offer nearly as good an experience as we have in the past. Without more financial resources, WisCon 2022 may be the last one.

I believe these challenges are surmountable, but as members of the WisCon community, we have to act quickly to make change.

What are WisCon organizers already working on?

  • The SF3 Board is applying for grants on behalf of WisCon.
  • I (Kit, as Treasurer) am starting to recruit large donors for a matching funds campaign that will help double the power of small donations to WisCon. We already have a match pledged for our first $5k raised!
  • Our Personnel Committee continues to onboard new volunteers as quickly as they can.
  • While the Dessert Salon may work a little differently this year due to health concerns, the ConCom is still organizing a Dessert Salon for 2022! The Dessert Salon is a fundraiser for WisCon in general, and any funds raised through Dessert Salon ticket sales will absolutely help.

What can I do to help?

  • Please sign up for our email newsletter! One of the biggest challenges we have is reaching out to our own community. Sign up and encourage your WisCon-going or potentially-WisCon-going friends to sign up, too.
  • Register as soon as you possibly can when Registration opens this week. The more people who register in advance, the better idea we’ll have of how much additional income we need to bring in. For in-person attendees, consider supporting the con by buying a ticket to our Dessert Salon fundraiser when you register!
  • Book your hotel room as soon as you possibly can. The more hotel rooms we have booked, the less additional funding we’ll need to raise, and the sooner we know how many people will be staying at the hotel, the better.
  • Help spread the word about WisCon. We’re struggling to reach new people, especially younger speculative fiction fans, who might be interested in joining us and who may not know that you don’t need to be an academic or big name to attend WisCon and be on panels!
  • Tell us you’re interested in possibly volunteering, and/or register to attend our Volunteer Info Session on 12/12 at 3pm Central. We’ve previously posted some of our needs from Communications and Personnel and the ConCom. You don’t need to be in Madison to volunteer, and we have many positions open that don’t require you to attend WisCon in person.  If you’ve volunteered for the ConCom in the past and have the time and energy, please consider joining us again. We could really use your expertise!
  • Can you give $5k or more to help save WisCon? Write me (Kit) at to join our matching funds drive.
  • Have a smaller amount you might be able to contribute? Thanks to a generous donor, the first $5k we raise will be matched. Donate now to double the power of your donation!

Yes, we recognize the pandemic is still going on—if you’re able to book your hotel room and/or register early, great! If you’re able to chip in financially, great! But if not, no worries.

We need to address our issues with money and labor within a larger antiracist framework.  And I think we need to be honest that we’re in a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: We’re short on money and volunteers to implement new antiracist policies and practices, which we need in order to attract and retain volunteers, especially volunteers of color.

If you’ve made it this far: Thank you. Posting this feels like the scariest thing I have ever done as a WisCon/SF3 organizer, and I really appreciate your time and energy in reading it.