Category Archives: WisCon 42

Support the WMAF, and…wear an awesome shirt!

Yes, you read that correctly—we’re asking for your donations to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) in TWO DIFFERENT WAYS!

You’ve always been able to support the WMAF via our Donate page, during the Registration process, or by using our direct Paypal link.

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.

Please give to put WisCon within reach!

Call for Artwork for the Souvenir Program Book Cover

We’re doing things a little differently this year, and the Souvenir Progam Book is currently looking for artwork for its cover. (This year, the Souvenir and Program Books will be combined!)

Dimensions–8×10, 300 dpi
 
Works in all media that can be easily scanned/laid out in an 8×10 cover are welcome!
 
Please send a proposal and 3-5 work samples. 
 
We pay $100!
 
Deadline for consideration is March 15.
 
Please send proposals for consideration to souvenirbook@wiscon.net

WisCon 42 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Is Open!!! Deadline to Submit Survey – March 19th

Panel Surveys are open until March 19th  Now’s the chance to give YOUR feedback on what 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 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!

For your convenience, we also provide a full list of proposed panel items. You may wish to open this link in a separate tab or window for ease of reference.

Questions/Concerns/Feedback can be sent to program@wiscon.net.

Thank you for your continued attendance, feedback, and support of WisCon as we finalize programming for this year.

 

Later Days,

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming

This Just In: WisCon 42 Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey Opens on February 26!

We’re very excited to announce that the Panel Sign-Up and Interest Survey will go live in 2 weeks! On February 26th, get ready to give us YOUR feedback on what panels will run during WisCon 42.

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 (Our Gaming track has evolved, friends!)

You will need a WisCon account in order to view 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.  Come February 26th, you should see the link to the survey once you have logged into your account.

So mark February 26th on your calendars!

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

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming
JP Fairfield, Panel Programming
Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming
WisCon 42

Promote it at WisCon!

While generally we at WisCon are all about smashing capitalism, we know we’re all complicit in it too. Whether you need WisCon to help you advertise your self published shape shifter erotica or want to sell your handmade epic-fantasy-inspired pendants, we have several opportunities for raising your profile at WisCon. Some ways to promote at WisCon require attendance, and some do not. Some are inexpensive and some are less so—thought we think you will find costs competitive! We hope there is something that will help you no matter how deep your pockets.

  • Sponsorship and Advertising:

WisCon has several sponsorships available—these are more high-profile sponsorship spots this year, a fantastic opportunity for businesses to help the con in a concrete and visible way. We also have several sizes and tiers of advertising in our Souvenir Program Book. You can read more about sponsorship and advertising, as well as glance over our rates sheet, here: http://wiscon.net/promote-it-at-wiscon/advertising/.

Advertisements are due April 1, and sponsorships will close when they are gone.

  • Dealer’s Room:

Our Dealer’s Room is a smorgasbord of books, toys, jewelry, and and other items relevant to explorations of feminism, gender, race, class, and disability. If you think you’d like a table to sell items, check out our application here: http://wiscon.net/events/dealers-room/

Applications are due March 15.

  • Parties:

Panels are nice and all, but for anyone who wants a more informal WisCon experience, parties are where it’s at. We are particularly enthusiastic about parties with a history at WisCon as well as parties that are promoting other cons, SF groups, book & author promotional parties, and other events. If you’d like to celebrate a publication, your new publishing business, etc, look into hosting a party: http://wiscon.net/programming/parties/.

Applications are due March 15.

  • Freebies:

While we do not give away swag bags at WisCon—due to our sustainability initiative—we do have several freebie tables in our registration area for the placement of fliers, stickers, buttons, advance reading copies, etc. We do not require an application for freebies, though we do reserve the right to review whether to distribute materials based on our guiding principles. You can read more here: http://wiscon.net/promote-it-at-wiscon/freebie-tables/

Freebies are accepted from late April through the week before WisCon.

Join the Communications Team!

Hi! I’m Levi, chair of the Communications Committee. We keep the information flowing—before con, we make sure eCubes go out, blog posts get updated and social media comments get responded to. We also publish the printed materials that allow members to get around at WisCon. I’ve been on the team for three years now. Volunteering for WisCon has brought me interesting challenges, daily small joys (and occasional frustrations!) and given me the opportunity to make friends with and work with truly excellent people. It has also given me fantastic skills and experience that helped me land my dream job in July – no, really!

If you enjoy writing, graphic design, social media, advertising, or video editing, we would love to have you join the team! All the work can be done from your own home, and most positions require just an hour or two a week. Like all WisCon positions over 20 hours annually, Communications Committee members are eligible for the WisCon membership rebate, as well as volunteer gifts! Please email personnel@sf3.org with questions or to express interest.

Positions available:

  • Social media volunteer

What you’ll do: Work with our chair to keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and other outward facing accounts, posting posts and answering questions, being positive, professional, and awesome. Forward questions to chairs or departments. Make sure things like deadlines are advertised. These can be checked on one or twice a day!

Time commitment: 1-2 hours/week

  • Blog post writer

What you’ll do: Work with other departments to get their words out there on the WisCon blog! If you like to write, edit, and work collaboratively, and you work well to deadlines, this is a great job for you. You’ll also get to learn more about the moving parts of WisCon and meet some of the folks who make it happen!

Time commitment: Project-based. Each blog post may take 3-5 hours of writing, collaborating, and editing.

  • Print publications

What you’ll do: Do you love creating in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop? We’re looking for someone to take over making our printing happen. We need someone to make and design our postcard-sized mailings and dessert tickets, and update designs from previous year’s cons. Additionally, you’ll need to work with our designer to finalize the Souvenir Program Book, work with printers to make sure printed items are to-spec and ready to go, etc.

Time commitment: 12 hours/week December-March, 5-10 hours/week in April

  • Advertising coordinator

What you’ll do: We sell sponsorship and advertising space in our Souvenir Program Book and would love someone with a knack for sales to take on this project. Advertising is a very concrete way you can help make WisCon a success, because the proceeds help us keep WisCon affordable! Our con chairs and committee chair can help produce a rate sheet, the SF3 treasurer takes care of billing, and the actual advertisements go on to our designer, so you’ll just need to go out and get them!

Time commitment: 1-2 hours/week, September through April

  • Video Archivist:

What you’ll do: Do you have some spare time now that the Festivids deadline is past? We’re looking for someone with awesome video editing skills to help us preserve WisCon history! We are in the process of digitizing video tapes of convention material—mostly Guest of Honor speeches from WisCons past. We have a bunch already digitally stored and waiting to be edited, polished, and uploaded to YouTube.

Time commitment: Flexible

Art Show Call for Artists

Hello, artists! If you’re considering attending or sending art to WisCon this year, applications for the Art Show are open. The convention dates are May 25-28, 2018, and the deadline to apply is March 1. Late appliers will be waitlisted unless there is extra space. More information can be found at http://wiscon.net/events/art-show/, and the link to apply is https://account.wiscon.net/artshow-application/.

Please note a few significant cost-related changes: To continue covering the costs of the show, the commission WisCon takes on sales has gone up to 5% attending/10% mail-in. Also, mail-in artists will be required to cover return shipping for their unsold work (preferably by including a prepaid return shipping label in the box).

Finally, the convention has a programming theme this year: “What Does Justice Demand?” We’re inviting artists to consider incorporating the theme into their work for the show, although it’s not mandatory. See the blog post here for more about the theme: http://wiscon.net/2017/12/01/wiscon-42-trying-something-new/

Thank you!

Call for Gaming Proposals

WisCon is now accepting proposals for games!

You can submit games here. The deadline for proposing games is February 28th.

We have a slots available all day in a dedicated gaming room 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.

This year WisCon has a theme to help organize our focus. This year’s theme is: What Does Justice Demand?

Although the words “social justice” are bandied about within the WisCon community, geek/nerd spaces, as well as the mainstream, and many talk about and endeavor to work within this framework, what does it actually mean. How is social justice lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminism and genre work (scifi, fantasy, horror, and others) both past and present?

If you’d like to propose a game but are out of ideas, or want help finding ways to address the theme, please reach out to gaming@wiscon.net, and we’d love to work with you to find something you’d be excited about running. You can also peruse these places for justice related games.

If you have a game idea that you’re excited about but you’re not sure if it fits the theme, don’t worry! The theme is meant as a tool for inspiration, not as a limit on creativity, and we will be happy to accept your submissions that explore ideas other than justice.

You can submit games here.

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.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

It can be hard to know when and how to acknowledge death when it happens in a community. When do you write a blog post, and when don’t you? But it seems impossible not to make a statement upon the death of a treasured member of our WisCon community, one of our greatest and most influential writers, Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula Le Guin attended WisCon thrice: WisCon 2, WisCon 20, and WisCon 30. She came to WisCon 2 (February 1978), in support of her friend Vonda McIntyre, our 1978 Guest of Honor. She was invited as Guest of Honor in her own right the first time we celebrated a landmark year, for WisCon 20 (May 1996). And she was one of the many prior Guests of Honor we invited to be part of the WisCon 30 celebrations (May 2006).

For WisCon 30, we received grant funding—necessary to support 29 years worth of returning Guests of Honor—from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Le Guin’s letter of support, included as part of the grant application, explained why she found WisCon unique, as opposed to other conferences and conventions, which she described as “a waste of time” (don’t tell anyone!) Echoing the experience of many, she said that she “came away with a head full of new ideas, perceptions, and understandings—about literature, about the ethical concerns of writers and readers, and about gender concerns both in literature and daily life.”

Her letter of support continues:

As writers under repressive regimes have long understood, science fiction is particularly well suited to the indirect but intense examination of the political and moral status quo, since its tropes and metaphors (outer space, far future, etc.) allow the writer to look from a distance at what is actually very close at hand. As the scholar Darko Suvin said, science fiction is the mirror that lets us see the back of our own head.

This is notably true when it comes to issues of gender. No other literary form has asked so many questions so usefully about the nature and construction of human gender, the actual and possible relation of the sexes in society. When they wanted to ask such questions, realistic novelists such as Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing turned naturally to science fiction. A good many of the talks and papers read at WisCon concern these subjects and ask these questions.

The atmosphere of the conference is extremely open, uncoercive, and intellectually stimulating. Academics who attend it are often delighted by the freedom of discussion without competition. To women academics it is of particular value, as they seldom find so supportive a milieu. Women writers treasure it for the same values of freedom and support. Men and women who confuse feminism with misandry may be kept away by their own prejudice, but one of the happiest aspects of WisCon is the presence of men who relate to women with total equality of expectation on both sides—a refreshing experience for all.

What WisCon does above all is affirm a community of writers, scholars, and readers brought together by a sense of dissatisfaction with our society’s solution to many problems of gender and justice, plus a sense of hope that with intelligent and ethical work we can achieve a more just and less destructive society. They share in common a courage of the imagination which may yet justify that hope. The fact that they’ve been meeting for thirty years to exercise and celebrate such courage is cause itself for hope.

WisCon 40’s ConCom briefly considered the idea of inviting all past Guests of Honor back for 2016, in the tradition of WisCon 20 and WisCon 30. It may have been coincidence, but the conversation didn’t last for long after a tangent on Ursula’s health, and the fact that she rarely traveled far from home anymore.

We’ve continued to treasure her and her outlook in her absence. A few years ago, during a time of vociferous disagreements within our community, many of us spent time interrogating whether WisCon was “worth it”—worth the labor, both tangible and emotional—that we invest to sustain it, and that the convention itself sparks. People like Ursula remind us why it is worth all that and more.

She imagined impossible futures, and she shared them. She held that it was important work to do so, and had little patience with authors who dismissed science fiction and fantasy as trivial or lesser genres. “Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality,” she said in a blog post eviscerating Kazuo Ishiguro for sneering at the fantasy genre.

She used her writing to explore concepts like gender, capitalism and truly fair societal structures. Her body of work is a testament to the conversations that people have at WisCon every year. What other shapes could society take? What would a more just, more equitable, and more inclusive world look like?

Much is made about her female protagonists. There’s already one obituary from a national newspaper remarking on her “tough-minded feminine sensibility,” missing the point almost entirely in a way I’m sure Le Guin would have relished skewering. Reductive obituaries, like that one, ignore the variety of incredible and alien outlooks she managed to portray, her protagonists who fall outside of the gender binary, and the fact that so few of her characters were white.

We feel fortunate that there is still so much of her fiction available for us to explore. Her writing is a beacon of light, particularly in the current political era. Since the election in November 2016, many of us have returned to her acceptance speech, titled “Freedom,” given as part of the award presentation at the 2014 National Book Foundation. “Any human power can be resisted and changed by humans.”

Every day we confront the terrible realities that debase us as people: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, capitalism, colonialism. It’s overwhelming, and lately, inexorable. These oppressions can feel final, but as Ursula reminds us: “[their] power seems inescapable—but then, so did the divine right of kings.”

Resistance happens because people can imagine a different reality—because they demand a different reality. Ursula K. Le Guin showed us how to imagine and demand better from our society.
We will miss her. We will not forget her.

Rest in power, well-loved one.

In solidarity,

Jackie Lee, SF3 President

Allison Morris, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Phredd Groves, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Levi Sable, SF3 Communications Chair

Last Call for Panel Programming Ideas!

This is your last reminder that panel idea submissions are open! The Wiscon 42 Panel Programming Committee looks forward to receiving all of the awesome ideas you have to offer!

You can submit panel ideas for WisCon 42 through January 19, 2018. To submit an idea, please click on “Submit your ideas for programming!” link on right-hand side of main page, or go straight to the program idea submission form linked here in this blog post.

Please note that the WisCon 42 Panel Programming Committee will not be accepting any panel ideas after January 19, 2018, so please make sure to submit your panel ideas before the deadline!

Cheers,

Jackie Gross, Lead Panel Programming

J.P. Fairfield, Panel Programming

Jennifer Cross, Panel Programming

WisCon 42

PS–Wondering about other upcoming deadlines?

  • Academic deadline is February 1!
  • Workshop deadline is March 1 to suggest a session!
  • Readings deadline is March 15!
  • Gaming deadline is February 28!
  • Parties deadline is March 15!

Call for Submissions: Wiscon Souvenir Book Entries (Due March 15, We Pay $20!)

The Souvenir Book is WisCon’s gift to the community, featuring profiles of our Guests of Honor, pieces highlighting the work of WisCon’s child-organizations, and essays from community contributors. This year, we’re doing things a little differently: we’re specifically looking for 500-1,000 word entries revolving around this year’s theme, “What Does Justice Demand?” We are also changing up the format a bit; this year, the souvenir book and program book will be combined, so you’ll have one less booklet to keep track of. This will not affect the length or number of entries we will be considering.

For souvenir book submissions, we invite essays that explore the meanings, histories, and cultures of “social justice.” How is social justice lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present? This theme is an opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and political questions of justice as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and cultures of social-justice-oriented fan communities.

While we encourage everyone to consider this year’s theme, we are also open to considering essays that deal with broader Wiscon-related themes. Previous essay topics have included: an exploration of Working Class Studies, a retrospective of 40 years of WisCon, and an ethnographic intro to WisCon. The only topic requirement for the Souvenir Book’s essays is that they be relevant to the WisCon community.

We encourage everyone to submit their work, whether this is your first WisCon or your nearly-42nd!

Deadline

Submit your essay to the Souvenir Book by March 15!

Guidelines

  • Essays should be 500-1000 words
  • Authors will be paid $20 USD at time of publication
  • All essays or questions should be sent to souvenirbook@wiscon.net (Please use the subject line “WC41 Souvenir Book Submission: [Your Name]”)
  • Submit essays as .doc or .rtf attachments

Call for Proposals for The Gathering Activities

There are at least three of you out there who have already started a bag of clothes to bring to the clothing swap. Yeah, we love you, too.

While there’s a hum of activity and familiar faces in the Concourse starting around Wednesday, the Gathering is the official start of WisCon. Doors open at 1pm on Friday. The Gathering is a ballroom event (if you have noise/etc sensitivities, remember to take a break!) with all kinds of activities. In the past we’ve hosted:

  • Nail polish swap
  • Tattoo show-and-tell
  • Fiber arts circle
  • Gadget petting zoo
  • Access crafts
  • Make and take soft circuitry
  • Lock picking tutorial
  • …and much more!

Gathering activities rely on the interest of WisCon attendees hosting and organizing them. That’s you! But how do you run a Gathering activity?

  • Submit a proposal: this year we have a handy, easy form for you to fill out! Proposals made before April 1st will be considered for the coming WisCon—after that we’ll put them in our pocket for WisCon 43! Our gathering planners will let you know if we’ll be able to host your activity shortly after you apply. We particularly welcome activities that de-center whiteness, emphasize inclusion among new WisCon attendees, and highlight our theme.
  • Make it happen: Generally the amount of pre-planning required is quite low, and you can often find help making it happen from cool people on your favorite forms of social media. (Hint—WisCon twitter is always happy to signal boost planning calls!) WisCon may be able to make small purchases of supplies like stickers to make your activity work—just ask! Please note that we are not able to bring in outside food for activities due to our agreement with the hotel.
  • At-Con: Show up between 12 & 12:30pm to set up your activity! We ask that you either stay at the Gathering to make sure that your activity is continuing or recruit some trustworthy friends to help out. This is a great way to talk to new people and meet new faces, if that’s your thing! And time spent running your activity counts towards your volunteer refund hours.

That’s it! Really pretty easy stuff and always, always appreciated. We look forward to the fresh, fantastic ideas that you all come up with every year, as well as the activities we anticipate year after year! So click over to the proposal page, sign up, and we’ll see you in May!