Category Archives: WisCon 39

Open call for games, GMs, and game-players!

Beth, Sarah, Mathew

WisCon Gaming is looking for games and game-players for WisCon 39! We will be offering board games and storytelling games/RPGs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight, as well as a fun activity at The Gathering. If you’re interested in playing board games or tabletop RPGs with other people, read on.


We need games! Please email us at if you have a game or are interested in seeing a particular game this year. Let us know:

“I have a game I’m bringing with me! I’ll keep it with me, but I’d like to run it at least once in the public gaming arena.”

Great! Please make sure to let us know what game you’re bringing and check out the information in the section on GMs and Gaming Volunteers to see what other information we need.

“I have a game I’m bringing with me! I’ll leave it with you and people are free to check it out and play it over the course of the convention.”

Please don’t leave the game with us if this is a limited edition game, not easily replaceable, or you are concerned about keeping it in a particular condition. We will do our best to take care of your property, but accidents do happen.

“I have a game I’d like to donate! [The game] is about [dimensions] in the box, is in [descriptor] condition and I’d like to donate it to WisCon gaming for this and future conventions to enjoy.”

Please note that we appreciate your generosity, but may not be able to accept all donations; we would like to know ahead of time what you want to donate so we can make sure we can take it.

“I have a game I’d like to see at the table! Here’s some more information about the game: [brief description, how to find it, etc.]. I’d like to [play/run] it if a copy can be found.”

Even if you don’t have a copy of a particular game you’d like to introduce people to, tell us! We can put out a call to see if anyone has it and wants to bring it.

GMs and Gaming Volunteers

We need people who want to run games! Please email us at if you’d like to run an RPG or help out in the board gaming space.

If you would like to run a tabletop RPG or LARP, let us know what it is, how long it takes, how many players you need, and what you might need to make it happen. In the past, successful RPGs fit well within popular WisCon themes (e.g., feminism, identity politics, and social and cultural theory) and have rules that are familiar or easy to pick up by new players.

If you would like to volunteer in the board game arena, let us know if there’s a game you’d like to play/help teach and when you have time to assist (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening). In the past, popular board games are those that that take two hours or less and have simpler mechanics or rules.


We will open up advanced signup closer to convention time. Watch this space for more information, or email us at and we’ll send you a note when we open things up. If you want to play, but don’t really care what game, we’ll have pick-up board games and walk-ins will be welcome throughout the convention as space is available in both areas.

We look forward to playing with you!

Recruitment drive: Con Suite coordinators

Alexandra Erin
Media & Communications

Let’s face it: WisCon just wouldn’t be WisCon without the Con Suite. It also wouldn’t be as affordable for those dining on a budget, or as accessible for those who can’t readily leave the building, or as fun and friendly for everyone. WisCon’s unique Con Suite does more than just lay out some snacks, it provides hot food and hospitality throughout the convention.

A first-rate Con Suite doesn’t just spring into being. We need volunteers to head up the Con Suite for WisCon. This year we are looking for a team of people to divide the responsibility, so that everyone involved has a chance to fully enjoy the convention in addition to their duties. They say too many cooks will spoil the broth. We say many hands makes for a great con all around.

Our ideal volunteers for Con Suite head have experience in food handling and ServSafe certification, or be willing to complete it — our treat! The ServSafe program is just a simple online course followed by a test. The heads may assist with planning, purchasing and preparing food, supervising Con Suite volunteers, ensuring food safety, and the set-up and tear-down of the Con Suite.

Traditionally the Con Suite has been open Friday, 6 p.m. –
3 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 a.m. , and Monday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., when it closes for good. The Con Suite closes during opening ceremonies, the Guest of Honor Speeches, and the award ceremonies. These hours may be changed to meet the availability of our head volunteers.

To help out or request more information about ServSafe certification or other details, please contact WisCon’s Recruitment department at

Deadlines — the extended edition with bonus features!

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

It’s only nine weeks until WisCon begins.  How in the world did that happen??  If you haven’t made your hotel reservations yet, now’s a great time to think about it.  The hotel information page on our main website can help you out.  Do you have an unneeded Concourse reservation that you’d like to transfer, or are you interested in trying to find a roommate?  The fan-run communities at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth and the WisCon Google Talk group are great places to put those requests.  And if you haven’t yet registered for WisCon itself, log into your account and take care of that with our online registration process.

Bonus features!

We are very, very pleased to announce that we’re able to offer WisCon memberships via the Daisy Khan fund again.  As Lisa announced it in the (above-mentioned) journal communities:

We have just received the news that the anonymous donor who sponsored the Daisy Khan fund in previous years would like to do so again this year. This fund will pay for the membership of any potential WisCon member who is a Muslim or of Arabic descent. To take advantage of the membership fund, send an e-mail to, alerting us that you are planning to attend and we will arrange for a membership to be paid for in your name. Memberships through the Daisy Khan fund are automatic to everyone who qualifies (that is, who is a Muslim or of Arabic descent). We will have enough time to make sure that a person who qualifies can get a paid membership through this grant until May 20, 2015, two days before the official start of the con. After that, if you notify us, we will do our level best, but we will be relying on string, tin cans, and e-mail. So to be really safe, please let us know by May 20.

Extended deadlines!

Gabby, our souvenir book editor, has extended the deadline for sending in your submissions.  If you’d like to earn twenty sweet U.S. dollars and see your essay in print at WisCon, take a gander at Gabby’s CFS and then get in touch!

Deadline:  April 1

The deadline to sign up for both panel programming and author readings has been extended as well.  Last week a commenter asked the Concom if the results of the work of the current subcommittee would be made publicly available before sign-ups for panels and readings closed.  We have been able to shift our schedules to do so — currently we plan to post the public statement on the subcommittee’s work late next week, so we have shifted the deadline for sign-ups until the end of that weekend.

Deadline:  March 29

Programming sign-up [ account required]
Readings information (You will also need to log into your account to sign up for readings.)

How WisCon panels are born

Elliott Mason

tl;dr: What can I do to improve WisCon programming?

  • If you have a panel idea anytime between May and January, tell us! (If it’s between January and May, write it down and tell us in May.)
  • If you like copyediting and fixing words, volunteer to be a program wrangler! The work gets done in January/February, but you can add yourself to the team any time of year.
  • If you want to be on panels, make sure your bio is up to date and accurate, and reply to the big Programming Interest survey when we send it out! Please use the “why you’re interested in being on this panel” field and the “enthusiastic/interested/willing” radio buttons.
  • If you attend the con, note down one or two “this was good/this was bad” comments about panels you attend. Tweet them, using the panel’s hashtag, or share them through the post-con survey or via email directly to

How are panels born?

There are nine key steps along the way from spark to full fruition, many of them involving input from the wider WisCon community or from interested volunteers.

1) Idea

Everything starts when a member of the WisCon community has a spark of an idea. It might be during a panel at the con itself (“Hey, they don’t have time to get to this right now, but if you went down this tangent, it’d be a neat panel!”), out on a dinner run, just after the con when talking to friends, or at any time between June and January, but there we are: an idea.

2) Suggestion

Anyone with an idea can go to the WisCon Idea page and fill out the form between Opening Ceremonies of the convention and the following January. At this stage, it may be a fully-formed and eloquent panel description, or it might just be a title and some bullet points, but all ideas are welcome. Even duplicate submissions are no trouble: far better to accidentally input something three times over the course of the year than forget to put it in even once.

3) Basic vetting

Program staff do a quick pass through the submissions when the Idea page suggestion box closes in January, culling the obvious robot-generated spam and any simple duplicates.

4) Wrangling

Our talented and valiant staff of program volunteers dig into the submissions, making them better in every possible way. This is when we do everything from fixing typos to putting things in the format that the Publications department needs to deep reconfigurations of panels. We turn bare sketches into the sort of rich and chewy morsels discerning attendees are used to from WisCon programming. You can volunteer to wrangle: you just need some availability in January/February and access to email and a web browser. Contact to be put on the list for next year.

5) The Big Survey – the Programming Interest form

Once the panels all look as good as we can possibly make them, we run them up the flagpole for the entire WisCon community to look over. This is the Big Survey – the Programming Interest form – upon which everything else depends! A link goes out by email, or you can get to it by logging into your account. On that page is a long list of every panel we’re considering putting on this year, and you are invited to tell us if you’re excited to attend it in the audience, if you want to be on it, if you want to moderate it, and so on. If you volunteer to work the panel, please DO use the field provided to tell us what special expertise or angle you bring, and make sure your program-book bio (on your main account) isn’t blank. Both those things will make our jobs in the next step much easier.

The Big Survey is the single largest factor deciding which panels will or will not run in a given year, so it’s important that as many WisCon-goers as possible take a look and give us their honest opinions. It’s spatially and temporally impossible to run all the panels suggested in a given year — not even all the amazing ones! — so prioritization has to happen, and the Big Survey pulls input from as much of the WisCon community as we can manage.

6) Staffing

The survey closes in early spring (Madison time), and the most complex stage of making programming happen begins: putting panelists and moderators on panels. A crack team of skilled and doughty volunteers gather via video chat to confer and share expertise and workload as we do our best to get not only the best available slate onto each and every panel, but also to put each volunteering panelist onto the panels they are most excited to do. Very nearly everyone who volunteers is empaneled for at least one item, so don’t be shy: volunteer! The “why you’re interested in being on this panel” fill-in field from the survey is key here, as it helps us balance expertise and lived experience, and make sure the entire panel isn’t full of people with only one slant on the question.

7) Pre-Con discussion

When the preliminary schedule is finalized, moderators and panelists are sent their assignments. Conversation (sometimes very extensive) occurs via email among each panel’s participants pre-con, guided by the moderator, to help get everyone prepared and excited about what will be discussed at the convention. Sometimes panels decide they need handouts or bibliographies; moderators can coordinate with program and publications staff to get what they need lined up and ready in time. We do our best to give the panelists a month to prep, depending on deadlines, though with late cancellations and unavoidable rearrangement of schedule it’s not always available.

8) Last-minute staffing

Life happens: sometimes people who were planning to come just can’t, or things need to be rearranged. Sometimes one panel just didn’t get four awesome panelists volunteering for it on the Big Survey. Never fear! Even if you only know you’re coming to the con at the last minute, you can be on programming. In the weeks leading up to the convention, the Panels Needing Panelists page goes live, and you can volunteer to be parachuted onto a panel in desperate need of your experience. The program staff are always grateful that people volunteer last-minute, because it helps us patch up holes and make things the best they can possibly be.

9) Panel

Where the magic really happens: live, at the con, in front of your very eyes. Some panels use A/V equipment or other visual aids; some have handouts and flyers; some have ground-rules for the discussion written on big signs posted up front. Every panel is different, depending upon the needs of the moderator and panelists, and it’s up to program staff to support those needs.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Everything starts when a member of the WisCon community has a spark of an idea. Say you’re at WisCon and you’re struck with an idea for a panel for next year’s convention…

In that case, go to step 1.

Call for proposals for Alaya Dawn Johnson essay in WisCon 39 Souvenir Book

LaShawn Wanak
GoH Liaison — Alaya Dawn Johnson
I am soliciting proposals for an essay on Alaya Dawn Johnson for this year’s WisCon 39 Souvenir Book. Previous essays in the Souvenir Book have been biographically geared towards the GoH, but the essays can also be more personal, discussing how Alaya Dawn Johnson or her work influenced you. The essay will need to be between 800 and 1500 words. Payment will be $20 upon publication.
If interested, please send a proposal and writing sample to me at with the subject header “WisCon 39 ADJ Essay.”  Proposals will be accepted up to Saturday,  Feb. 28 March 7 (deadline extended!). If chosen, I would need a full copy of the essay by March 18. If you have any questions or if you would like to look at previous Souvenir Book essays for examples, please let me know.

Academic programming — Deadline extended to March 2!

Lauren J. Lacey & Alexis Lothian
Academic Programming

WisCon’s academic programming is open to independent scholars as well as undergraduate and graduate students. We invite individual papers and panel presentations on science fiction and fantasy, with an emphasis on issues of feminism, gender, race, and class. Work on
fandom is also actively encouraged. Full information on the academic track is available on our website:

To submit your proposal, log into your account and then
visit this page:

If you have any questions, please email:

Readings sign-up open!

Haddayr Copley-Woods

Readings sign-up is currently open, and we will be accepting proposals through mid-March. (A more specific deadline will be posted as soon as we have it.) Most reading groups have 4-6 authors, sharing a 75-minute slot. Excepting the current GoHs, only one regular-length reading is allowed per author. You can also propose for rapid-fire readings, poetry readings, and open mics. A/V equipment is available for visual readings (e.g., graphic novels, etc.).

For more information, please refer to the main Readings page:

Readings sign-up will close on the same day as the main Programming sign-up period in mid-March March 29.

If you have questions, email:

a compendium of deadlines

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

If it’s February, it must be deadline season for WisCon.  Here’s what’s coming up in the next month.

Academic Programming will close to proposals on Feb. 23rd (next Monday) March 2 — (Deadline extended!!)

The Dealers’ Room will close to applications on Feb. 28th (Saturday a week from now) — h

The Art Show will also close to applications on Feb. 28th (Saturday a week from now) —

The ever important Parties will close to proposals on March 1 —

The Souvenir Book is taking submissions until March 18 —

And The Gathering is taking proposals until March 22 —

One important non-deadline to note:  Reports of Panel Sign-Up being dead closed have been greatly exaggerated!  Panel Sign-Up will not begin until later in February.  What has passed is the window for submitting a panel idea.  We are now looking over panel ideas & will open Panel Sign-Up soon.

Interested in Readings or the Writers’ Workshop?  We’ll be announcing deadlines for those in the next two weeks!  Don’t touch that dial.

WisCon 39 Art Show Call for Artists

Tahlia Day
Art Show

Attention artists! Applications for this year’s WisCon Art Show will be open until the end of February.

The WisCon Art Show focuses on art exploring feminist themes and WisCon’s principles, work by women artists, and work by Midwestern artists. In the past the show has included painting, drawing, prints, comics, photography, 3D art, fiber art, and jewelry, among other media.

We prefer that artists in the show also attend the con, but mailing in art is an option if you’re comfortable with us hanging and handling your work. The Art Show operates like a gallery or store: you set the prices for your work and customers can purchase it during the show’s open hours (Saturday through Monday during the con). WisCon takes a 4% commission on all sales (8% for mail-in art).

See for more information and to apply. Completed applications (including images of your work or a link to a website with images) must be submitted online by February 28, 2015, and artists will be notified of acceptance in mid-March.

main website temporarily down

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

Looks like our website got so excited by all the amazing panel suggestions you’ve been submitting that it had an attack of the vapors and passed out on the fainting couch.  If you haven’t had a chance to submit your suggestion yet, jot it down somewhere so you don’t lose your inspiration!  We’ll let you know when the website has returned to itself and is ready to go again.

WisCon39 Souvenir Book: Call for articles!

Gabby Reed
Souvenir Book

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. We now call on our community members to submit their essays of 500 – 1000 words for the WisCon39 Souvenir Book! Previous essay topics have included: an exploration of Working Class Studies, a report on Foolscap 2013/Potlach 22, 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-40th!


  • Essays should be 500-1000 words
  • Topics both current and historic that are relevant to the WisCon community
  • Authors will be paid $20.00 USD at time of publication
  • All essays or questions should be sent to souvenirbook (Please use the subject line “WC39 Souvenir Book Submission: [Your Name]”)
  • Please submit essays as .doc or .rtf attachments.

Submit by March 18th, 2015 April 1st! (Deadline extended)