One of our central aims in running EightSquaredCon is to put together a programme that – in the words of our Chair, Juliet E McKenna – celebrates the stories being told through speculative fiction in all its current diversity, with contributions from readers, writers, artists and editors. To do justice to our vision, we need two things: a comprehensive and imaginative list of programme items, and a diverse, enthusiastic and knowledgeable pool of programme participants to put onto those items.
This is where you, our members, come in. We have just put our Programme Suggestions and Volunteer form online. This is your opportunity to suggest programme items, and/or to volunteer to take part in programme. You can do either or both: you do not need to suggest programme to offer to be on it, and conversely we are very happy to hear about programme ideas from you even if you would rather not be on the programme yourself. Of course, if you would like to offer yourself and your suggestions, we’d be delighted to have both.
In terms of volunteering, we are interested in both offers to be on discussion panels and to do stand-alone items. As well as telling us what general sort of item you would like to be on (literary SF, fantasy, media etc) you can let us know if there are any items you’d particularly like to do, as well as letting us know about your relevant background, experience and qualifications. It also helps us if you let us know about constraints on your programme involvement, such as items you would rather not be put onto, or periods during the convention when you won’t be available. We are also on the lookout for people to moderate panels (i.e. lead and steer the discussion) – even if you haven’t done this before, let us know if you would be interested in acting as a moderator, as we keen to have more people taking on this role.
As for programme suggestions, feel free to suggest both general directions the programme should go in and particular items you would like to see. If you’ve got a completely new idea for a topic, we’d love to hear it. Equally, if you’ve seen a programme item work really well before, let us know if you think we should include it in our programme.
We cannot of course guarantee to incorporate every suggestion into our programme, and nor can we guarantee that we can take up every offer to participate in the programme. But in line with our aim of having as wide and diverse a pool of programme participants as possible, we are keen to make the best use we can of programme volunteers.
If you’ve never been on programme, but are coming to EightSquaredCon and are tempted to volunteer, then please do! Many of us have been involved in putting together convention programme before (for events from small cons to Worldcon) and we have all found that newcomers to programme, no matter how nervous they feel about volunteering, almost always find it very fun and rewarding. For that matter, if you know someone coming to the convention who you think would be good on programme, why not ask him or her to think about volunteering? Whilst emphatically not wanting to co-opt anyone onto programme, we are very open to new people, and it may be that all that an interesting or insightful friend needs is a gentle hint to consider filling in our volunteer form.
So – tell us what you want to see, and tell us what you’d like to help us do. Make our programme your programme.