WisCon and POC Space

WisCon and POC Space

I just got my final programming schedule and all of my panels are on Sunday! And now that the process is complete, it’s time to discuss the POC-only panel “Intra-POC Relationships & Coalition Building” that was first suggested in this thread. As discussed there and elsewhere, there are issues surrounding creating a POC-only space officially at WisCon. However, if we decide to hold this panel/conversation unofficially (which is what we’re doing–genius!) then that does not impact on the WisCon organization and bring up icky legal issues.

There was also an interest in having a POC-only space for folks to retire to throughout the con. Again, such a space can’t be an official WisCon thing, but, again, we’ve found a way to work it out.

The only thing left to do now is organize and set dates and times. For the panel discussion, I thought it would be a good idea to do it during the lunch break on Saturday and have people eat while it’s going on. A lunch meeting! The room will be on the 6th floor, right down the hall from the con suite, so people can pop down there, grab something to eat, and join in. However, this might not work for everyone, so I created this poll:




Next issue, the POC-only space. Again, this will happen in one of the rooms on the 6th floor during the day (i.e. before the dinner break). But in order for it to work we’ll need to have one person in the room during the times it’s available to be a doorkeeper, as it were. We don’t need to have the room available all day, certainly, because all of us want to enjoy the con. So it will, essentially, be open when there is someone there to take a shift. You probably won’t know for certain when you’d want to do a shift until the programming schedule is posted and you see which panels you want to attend, but if you’re at all interested in taking a shift, please say so in comments (and leave an email address where I can contact you!).

Other tasks that need doing:

  • Designing a flier to tell people about the panel and the POC-only space
  • Blogging about it so that people know what’s up before getting there
  • Deciding who the “panelists” (or, as I like to think of them, moderators of the group conversation) will be
  • Scoping out if people want to have other POC related conversations/panels in the space as well — maybe people from deadbro?
  • Scoping out if we want to do a POC author reading

I’m excited!

ETA: Some folks indicated Friday afternoon so in order to prepare themselves for the con ahead.  I think this is a good idea, but we should also remember some folks won’t hear about this until the con, and we don’t want to leave them out.  But if we get together for dinner Friday or have a general meet & greet, that would work, too, and have the major discussion on Saturday once we’ve had a chance to spread the word about it.

26 thoughts on “WisCon and POC Space

    1. We’ve had some discussions about this, but nothing had been decided. There are a lot of issues around it, like obviously we don’t want to jump on every person who walks in and check them against a paper bag or something insane. And if a non-POC happens to wander in by accident, how to deal with telling them to go. (I would just say “sorry, this is a private meeting!” cheerfully.) Anyway, there should probably be a separate post about this.

      1. As far as doorkeeping goes, we could have the door keeper say to everyone something like “this is a space for POC. If you self identity as a person of color, feel free to come in”

        1. yeah, i’d have to bring my own paper bag–maybe a plastic “thank you” bag?

          i think julia’s idea is a good one.

        2. There will also be a large simmering stewpot somewhere, to handle people who fake it?

  1. I voted for the Saturday lunch slot, but now that I think about it, I’d like to shift my vote to Saturday after lunch/before dinner… I know the con suite is down the hall & convenient, but, er, not everyone can get a decent lunch out of what’s in the con suite. And part of what I love about WisCon is that they give you meal breaks so that you don’t have to survive on stale popcorn for 3 days. On the other hand, I know if I rally for another timeslot, something that I really really want to go to will end up scheduled then. Tough decisions!

  2. I am not voting because I intend to show whenever it is held, but I did want to register my interest.

  3. I wont be anywhere near Wiscon but I support the cause wholeheartedly. I also, because I am cynical like that, look forward to hearing breathless accounts of what big meanies you all are for insisting on having a poc only space at the con.

  4. I can’t be there in person this year, but I will be there in solidarity!

    PS. – if you guys collect a list of authors/artists to share, I want a copy. ;)

  5. I would only object to Friday because I think that there will be a few POC who are not aware of this going on from the Web and will have to be told AT the con itself. However, we can certainly have the POC space open on Friday or maybe organize a dinner with the folks from the internet and then have the more formal panel on saturday once we’ve had a chance to get fliers into the hands of POC at the con itself.

  6. Friday night is my preference too. Oyce makes a good point about a chance to get armor together. It’s also a good time to find people to help you get your thoughts together on various issues. And it’s always nice to know who else will have your back.

  7. I voted for Friday for the same reason as Oyce, I think it would be really good to get to know other POC a little and build up some armor before the Con goes into full swing but I’d also definitely be willing to do it Saturday @ Lunch.

    So glad you’re on top of this Tempest!

  8. I was just thinking about this so I’m glad you’re on point. I’d be willing to do mod duties if necessary if that helps.

    What to talk about/discuss? Gah, there’s just so much! *flails*

    Anyway, maybe some semi-planned (is that even a word) meet ups not unlike what Oyce suggested for Friday would also be fun to do. A way to quickly get to know faces and names before things get really hectic. Just a thought.

    Viva la revolucion!

  9. I’m really excited about this! I suggested Friday night because I thought it might be nice if we could all meet-and-greet before the heavy panel days so there’s a bit of mental armor for nervous people like me wandering into an all-white panel later and trying to figure out if I should make a fuss or not.

    Also, er, do you think it would be ok to bring up IBARW planning?

    I’ll definitely put this up on my LJ when we figure out logistics.

  10. I’m not going to be at WisCon (sigh), but I’m curious: what legal issues would the con face for creating a POC-only space?

    1. I’m not a person of color and I’m also not a lawyer.

      But, I can answer this. It’s not officially scheduled and not officially con sanctioned. It is in someone’s room, where they can choose who goes in or not. It’s not a Wiscon event, but it is happening at the con.

      I am 100% supportive.

      1. Oh, yes, I agree; I wasn’t wondering why the unofficial space wouldn’t be problematic, but why the official space would.

  11. Tempest, is there a link or set of links that you could direct less educated but supportive white folks to that explains the need and desire for POC-only discussions and spaces at a con or related event?

  12. I am not voting as I do not count as a POC. But I still think it’s cool. And I’m glad you’re still doing it unofficially.


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