Frequently Asked Questions
Everything posted here is the personal opinion of the author or authors, and does not represent an official view of any group.
What is an Eastercon anyway and why should we care?
Eastercon is the British National Science Fiction Convention and has run nearly every year since 1948. It is organised each year by a different committee in a different location, voted on by all interested members at a previous Eastercon. It has many traditions and almost no rules. The most recent Eastercon was Innominate, the 68th Eastercon, held at the NEC Hilton, Birmingham, in 2017. There is more information available here: http://www.eastercon.org
What are you doing?
We’re looking at possible options for changing the basis on which the Eastercon is organised. At present every convention exists in isolation, having been voted into existence by the business meeting (bidding session) at an earlier convention. It’s been suggested (not by us) that there should be some sort of continuing organisation or forum. We are trying to make sure the discussion about this happens as widely as possible.
Why are you doing this?
Members of recent Eastercon committees have had some common issues while running their conventions, and have discussed them informally, but there was no way of opening up the discussion to a wider constituency. At Dysprosium, the 2015 Eastercon, there was a panel item on the future of Eastercon and we were all on the panel. At the end of the panel, the audience voted to appoint us to go away and look into the issues in greater depth and to report back. So that’s what we’re doing.
Eastercon has happened each year, without a continuing organisation, for a long time. Why meddle?
There are a lot of things that work well for Eastercons working the way they do, and a lot of good reasons not to change what works. The questions are about what does work and what actually doesn’t, and what might work better if we tried to do it differently.
What gives you the right to speak for Eastercons?
There were 1,200 people at Dysprosium and 150 or so turned up to the panel, including a good many people with recent experience of running Eastercons. Almost all of the panel audience agreed to ask us to do this work. To start with, we are opening the discussion as widely as possible and looking at suggestions and options.
Why you and not anyone else?
We are the people who were asked to be on the panel by Dysprosium and who said yes. We’ve all been in UK fandom for some time, a couple of us have chaired Eastercons and we’ve all been on numerous convention committees. We’re trying to get more people involved. Email us if you want to do some of the work. Meanwhile, anyone can read and comment on the website, or if you want something posted just email it to us and we’ll discuss it.
Why do you want to turn Eastercon into somebody’s private property?
We don’t. We’re looking at the problems with the existing structure and trying to identify some options for dealing with them. A few people, none of them on the panel, have said that they think Eastercon would benefit from being a limited company. There may be other options. We’re going to talk to these people and try to understand their point of view. Then we’ll report back.
What sort of options are you looking at?
There’s a post on the website with some of the options we’ve identified. They include limited companies, charities, community organisations and so on. There may also be some options for supporting the current structure of Eastercon organisation. All of them seem to have drawbacks, but then so does the current setup. If you keep reading the website, you’ll get some idea of what we’re thinking about.
What’s wrong with the way things are done at the moment?
There are a number of things that, while separately quite small, add up to a fair amount of hassle. For instance, since the tightening up of Data Protection laws, every Eastercon has had some trouble with passing on membership details to the next year’s committee. Conventions need insurance, but that has got much harder recently, since Eastercon has no credit history. Similarly, we can’t easily take internet-based payments, or even credit cards, largely because we don’t have an organisation that’s in existence for more than 2 years. Recent Eastercons have had trouble setting up bank accounts because they triggered all sorts of red flags in current banking processes. We also think that information is falling through the cracks, so that every committee has to reinvent solutions to problems that have been solved every year.
When are you going to report back?
We have been reporting back at Novacon and Easterons, most recently Innominate in 2017. After each public meeting we will update the website to report the discussion.
I’m interested in the future of Eastercons—how can I join in the discussion?
- You can write for or comment on the website.
- You can join in the public discussions we plan to organise at conventions. We will publicise these beforehand on the website and in the relevant convention publications.
- You can talk to us in person at a convention or at the London meeting each month
- You can volunteer to help us to do the work. The only qualifications needed are a continuing interest in Eastercons and the ability to communicate via the internet. We are particularly interested in any experience in organising charities, voluntary associations or Community Interest Companies, and moderating internet discussion.
Who Are You?
John was on the committee of Illumination in 1992, has been involved in the programming of many other Eastercons, most recently Mancunicon, often on the science side. He has copious free time since his very early retirement 🙂
and older contributors who have stepped down
Caroline has done most of the jobs a concom needs doing at least once, and was on the committees of the Beccon ’87 and Speculation 1991 Eastercons. She has been Trustee and Chair of the Science Fiction Foundation, which is a Registered Charity. She has a wide range of fannish interests, and a collection of her fan writing, Reflections in the Shards, is available on the Efanzines website. She is a business systems analyst, but currently works casually as a social research interviewer so she has some time available to do other things.
Steve has been on a large number of convention committees, including 6 Eastercons, and chaired the 1999 Eastercon, Reconvene. He was part of the Hugo-winning fanzine collective ‘Plokta’ and has a wide variety of other interests from masquerades to filk. He works as a management consultant, enterprise architect and has written a book on IT strategy.
Tim has been attending cons for 25 over years. He turned up early to help, as suggested in the final PR, at his first Eastercon, and has been gophering etc ever since. He has been on Eastercon and Unicon committees, and was Committee Member without Portfolio for Dysprosium. Outside fandom he works as an IT Manager in academia, and once accidentally won a national boardgames championship.
Judi Hodgkin has been attending conventions since the early days of Swancon in Western Australia, when some Swancons might not have happened had her family not provided the venue. She served as Treasurer for Concussion (Eastercon 2006), was Chair of Dysprosium (Eastercon 2015) and has volunteered at a number of Eastercons. She has also helped organise a number of non-fannish events throughout the years in various voluntary capacities. She is a IT Project/Process Manager, Stay-At-Home-Mum, Freelance IT Consultant and Jewellery Maker & Designer.