Swancon Thirty Six | Natcon Fifty Program

Well, Worldcon is over. Already? There was such an awesome Perth contingent at Aussiecon 4 and it was so great to see everyone! Thanks to all the people who came over and said hi and to those who grabbed flyers and/or spread the word about Swancon.

We’re collecting a list of programming and other elements of the con that worked (or didn’t) and suggestions and feedback from people for what would or wouldn’t work for Swancon. If you came and chatted to us or threw an idea or suggestion our way, please follow it up with an email. They were all worth following up on and we don’t want to forget any of them.

Thanks again.

PS A pdf of PR1 is available here if you missed it!


  1. Jeremy
    Posted 8 September, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    NatCon 50 Wishlist:
    . cheap/free wifi;
    . double-sided badges (with dark-on-light text);
    . LiveCon;
    . more discussions, presentations, interviews and readings; fewer panels; and, of course
    . per-stream hashtags, ubiquitous qr codes and livestreamed audio. (Also World Peace.)

  2. Posted 8 September, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Best feature of Aussiecon 4 = sense of community, an egalitarian (mostly) group of enthusiasts where anyone was happy to talk to anyone else.

    Definitely LOVED the kaffeeklatsch idea (especially the inclusion of drinks preference!) and the incredible spread of panel topics from academic through to populist. Having said that, my Aussiecon became more about tweetups and reunions and meeting new people, and I saw maybe one third of the panels I planned to see. Then again, it was fabulous to have such a smorgasbord of choice.

    Agree re the desirability of cheap/free wifi (or at least early research of the venue to provide a list of nearby hot spots in the info pack) – and if not wifi, at least good 3G access. Also good idea re easily read badges!

    And yes please to WP

  3. Glen Tilley
    Posted 8 September, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    - Wifi – not fussed
    - I like Panels, need good panelists or readers or presenters. Just cause they know the stuff doesn’t make them entertaining.
    - Liked the (what I saw) iPOD app for programming, android version?
    - There seemed to be still a call for old fashioned panels, Dr Who panel was packed and ran out of time. Copyright panel was packed and ran out of time.

  4. Posted 8 September, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    There definitely needs to be more recording/streaming of events (either officially or crowdsourced).

    As a podcaster & new media producer and keen social networker, maybe there is room for a track with this theme? It was my experience at Worldcon that this was missing and that people already involved will enjoy it & that there are so many people who don’t know it exists who could benefit greatly.

    I’m more than happy to share my experiences and expertise in this area if required.

  5. Posted 8 September, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    There is an android version of LiveCon, though it’s not as pretty as the iDevice version (but it will be updated soon).
    As far as LiveCon goes, there will be a new version soon which includes filters, so you can plan a program, and more features. The android version will have parallel features soon (I think). There is also gonna be a web version.
    The will never be a Symbian version, sorry.

    Ok, enough pimping.

    I loved some of the academic panels. Not the ones that were presentations (though they were great), but the ones with a few panellists. One that springs to mind are the Racism in Hollywood panel. The round-table type discussion, like what Gynæcon does, are also really fun. I’m thinking of the Bechdel Test in Fiction panel, which was more of a group think.

    Some panels that didn’t work: Plight of Women in Comic Movies, but that wasn’t because of the subject, but because of a panellist that derailed the discussion (argh).
    Another one that didn’t work was the Fantasy Film After LotR. The panellists were getting things blatantly wrong (facts, not opinions) and refused to listen to the audience. Very agravating.

    Moderators are a blessing. The diversity of the program was great. I loved that I was never bored, and instead had too much to choose from.
    Having said that, please include a lunch break. And late night wacky panels!

  6. Posted 8 September, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to double-post but I just wanted to add:
    So important knowing where guests and panellists are! I turned up to a reading and a signing where the author never turned up, and no one knew where she was. I didn’t get to see her all convention, and it was so disappointing :-(

  7. d
    Posted 8 September, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Double-sided name tags, with good readability – trivial and essential.
    Program updates should be issued as errata, *not* entirely new programs. I spent heaps of time working out what to see when I got my program, which I more or less had to throw out ’cause I could not see what had changed in any session. The ‘reissue the entire program’ model also introduces more errors, names being left off panels etc.
    I attended Aus4 on my own and I was a bit taken aback that there were no opportunities for ‘mixing’ – that is, no social events or organised forums for discussing what went down in the sessions. I acknowledge I’m probably odd – It’s been 20 years since I attended a Con – but I was expecting some sort of reception, or banquet, or party. Worldcons are famous for their hospitality, but unless you were a reader of George RR Martin, there was nothing at Aus4 that provided an opportunity to meet other fans.

  8. Posted 10 September, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Oh yes – forgot to say MUST have good moderators who can lead discussion well. And more importantly prevent derailing by panellists and/or audience. Specially audience members who do speech-disguised-as-question thing (sheesh).

    Program updates do need to be accurate, whether totally new or just errata. One of the early pink sheets at Aussiecon had a separate list of who had pulled out and who had been added, but that only happened once – fab idea worth copying!

    BTW I know one author had to go home sick on the Saturday morning – program mgrs were advised by her publisher but didn’t update program until last day. It was SO not her fault, or her publishers! Assume overworked volunteers missed it, they have my sympathies but it would have been aggravating for her fans :-(

  9. Posted 23 September, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Loved the AHWA masque on the friday night.

    Need to ensure the pink sheets are actualy handed out at arrival when I turned up on the Saturday (@ Aussicon) my welcome pack had everyhting but. Finally found a folorn pile of pink sheets off on a ledge..okay Flinthart found them to be honest.

  10. Posted 4 October, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to be involved in encouraging new and shy members to attend. I think we need more informal “So this is your first con” sessions to catch the people who only go on one day. And more effort towards marketing (or just explaining) what Swancon is, to justify the costs and effort required to get there. Cheap day is essential!

  11. Posted 5 October, 2010 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I would love to see a panel on “Should non-Indigenous people write about Indigenous people at all? /Respectfully depicting Indigenous culture in historical fantasy”.

    This is a topic that some people tried to raise at Worldcon, but the American guests were only able to talk about the American First Nations people, who are a world away.

    Somebody to organise this conversation might not be a person with her foot perpetually in her mouth, like me, but a person who published the only Indigenous speculative fiction story I’ve read this year, Gillian Pollack.

    Writers I would be keen to hear from include Yaritji Green, Alexis Wright, Tara June Winch, May O’Brien, Anita Heiss and Melissa Lucashenko.

    And maybe there could be some kind of tribute to Patricia Wrightson, who died in March 2010.

  12. Martin
    Posted 5 October, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    One panel I really enjoyed at a previous Swancon but has never been repeated since was “Iron Writer”, where three writers attempt to write a short story in half an hour based on suggestions from the audience and constant interruptions and additions throughout the time. Funnily enough, it’s an activity close to my heart. ;)

    I’d also love to see an SFnal version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (Whose Alien Is It Anyway”???), with a bunch of good improvisers making up SF-related skits on the fly, again from suggestions from the audience. But I think that might be wishful thinking on my part! Ditto with a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game show for film nerds. ;)

  13. Posted 5 October, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be great if the program could be offered in wiki format. It would serve two purposes – it’s easy to update but also, the wiki page for each event could become a place for bloggers to add links, thereby collecting all the coverage on each even in one place.

    One thing I found with WorldCon is that there was so much blogging that much content probably got lost in the deluge.

    Posted 13 October, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Truly a great effort went in to doing the recent Aussie Worldcon, but I found THE CON to be a geart disappointment as far as the MEETING OF NEW FANS,artshow,networking,fannish activities and opportunities for meetings pros (many of whom I’ve already chatted to at cons in USA, but few have that privelege). The indecipherable nametags were, I’m sure, a printing accident.BUT UNFORGIVEABLE!aND OF COURSE THEY WERE SHORT OF VOLUNTEERS AND ARTISTS AND COSTUMIERS…’cos treating creative people badly for years doesn’t make them flock to your cause.Next year I’m going to a fanrun litcon in NSW where costumes and fannish creativity are encouraged, but other litfen will never learn.

  15. Ann Poore
    Posted 22 October, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    It was lovely to have filking on the Worldcon program. Mind you, it would not have happened if it hadn’t been pushed…Would love to see more…And Perth has always had good filkers…If there was to be filking on the program, I would love to be involved, as it is a little niche of fandom that is close to my heart, and would be a sure way to drag me and my harp 5 days across country….(good thing I like long distance travel!!)