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VividCon 2010 Progress Report #1 [Jun. 25th, 2010|11:25 am]

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[elynross]
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This is the VividCon 2010 progress report, and I’m happy to report that things are, in fact, progressing! :) Themed vidshows are being compiled, Premiere vids are starting to trickle in, and everything else is moving right along.

All of my staff are fantastic, but I want to particularly shout out to Shoshanna and Par Avion, who have gone above and beyond to support me this year by taking on additional duties.


  • The VividCon 2010 Schedule

    The VividCon 2010 Programming Schedule is live!

    Vidshow descriptions are here, and Panel descriptions are forthcoming! These will be linked from the Schedule soon.

    New this year is a “Welcome to VividCon” gathering on Thursday night, at 8:00 pm. We hope that this new element will be a place for new attendees to come and learn a little about VividCon and what to expect, to meet some of their fellow attendees, and to ask any questions they might have. Experienced attendees also welcome! :)

    This year we’ll have set hours for Thursday night registration from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, in the 2nd floor mezzanine area as usual.


  • VividCon Background and Policies

    Introducing the shiny, very much expanded VividCon Background and Policies! We realized that many of our newer attendees were unfamiliar with VividCon’s roots and culture, and we felt it was past time to try and clarify and document some of our unspoken policies. We welcome comments and feedback.

    Many thanks to Shoshanna for taking the lead on composing this document, and to those that we consulted in its creation.


  • 2010 VividCon Scholarship Recipient

    I’m excited to announce that hapex_legomena has accepted our offer to be our scholarship recipient this year. She is a new vidder, having made Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers of Death (3 parts of which are showing in VVC vidshows this year) in the aftermath of Racefail ‘09. We agreed with those who nominated her that her voice would be a valuable addition to the con, and we hope she finds attending to be a valuable thing for her! And hopefully it will encourage her to make us more vids....


  • Academic Research at VividCon in 2010

    Longtime fan and vidder Professor Tisha Turk (tishaturk) has received a University of Minnesota Imagine Fund grant as well as approval from the University IRB Human Subjects Committee enabling her to pursue her research into vids and vidding, and she will be conducting formal interviews at this year’s convention. Those of you who know her know that she’s been attending VividCon since 2002. Watch this space for her announcement and call for volunteers!


  • Club Vivid Bar Access

    Wristbands for Club Vivid will officially go on sale on June 28th, $25 for the full open bar, $10 for anyone 18-21 who wants unlimited water and soda. The $10 wristbands are only for anyone 18-21, as VVC has to pay the full price for anyone using the bar, regardless of what they drink. You will be able to purchase a wristband until at least July 10th (and they will be available for anyone who moves off the waitlist after that)


  • Hotel Rooms

    King rooms remain available at the con rate. For Doubles you will still need to go through the hotel manager, information available here. If you choose to go through the regular hotel registration, you may be told that the con rate is not available for the type of room or dates that you want! This is not the case (apart from the scarcity of Doubles); going through the hotel manager should prevent this kind of error, and he does try to respond quickly. Contact information is available on the website.

    If you have any questions, please ask!
  • linkReply

    Comments:
    [User Picture]From: elynross
    2010-06-27 11:22 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    To you, as well, my deepest personal apologies, and apologies on behalf of the concom, for some of the language, particularly, that was used, and our failure to check our privilege. In our desire to maintain a chatty, informal tone, we utterly failed to recognize that some of our language choices were offensive. That's not an excuse, and we appreciate that it's been brought to our attention.

    We are currently looking at the concerns that have been expressed to us, and will be publicly addressing this.

    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: kate_nepveu
    2010-06-28 01:27 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Wiscon's access policies were a revelation to me, language-wise. I highly commend them to your attention.

    http://wiscon.info/access.php
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: elynross
    2010-06-28 03:11 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Thank you. We're nowhere on the scale of WisCon, nor do we have all of their resources, but we can definitely take a lesson from the language.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: vom_marlowe
    2010-06-28 03:28 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    ....

    Wow.

    Someone says: Here's someone doing it right, and all you can say is we don't have the resources so we'll just learn from the language? HOLY MOKE. Could you guys get more defensive and faily?

    Just when I was thinking of taking your apology and desire to do better seriously, you leap straight into a 'no, no we can't' again.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: elynross
    2010-06-28 06:20 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Clearly this is an area where I'm still learning, and I won't make any excuses for myself. This was very poorly said on my part.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: vom_marlowe
    2010-06-28 07:01 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    I'm going to be honest with you, as well as blunt. I've seen you around in fannish circles elsewhere, and you mostly seem like a really good and honorable person.

    One of the reasons I even considered VVC (not this year, but in past years and had hoped sometime in the future) was that it had a group of people who were (to my knowledge) kind and compassionate and generally issue-aware. I am not able to handle, for instance, a con that would have something like boobgate or other random imbroglios. I don't have the spoons, period.

    I am disabled, but I am also young and appear (at times) to be abled. More and more, however, I must rely on the assistance of mobility devices and aides. I find this emotionally harrowing, in part because of the ablist views that say (sometimes quite loudly and publicly) that I must be abusing disability access. Even something as simple as using a handicap door opener has gotten me many complaints, even though I am not able to open heavy doors without a high physical toll, and even though using that push button costs nothing to anyone.

    The policy as written emphasizes how much trouble I would be, even to get me a seat (half a day's advance notice!). This attitude--that disabled congoers are trouble and a drain on already stretched thin resources--is hurtful. As is the stated threat that an aid "proven" be not needed (how? by whom? a doctor? a trained medical professional? discussed by the concom? a random con-com member? any person holding a grudge?!) will get the disabled person kicked out of the con. You may not see that as a threat, but oh yes, it most certainly is. If you use an aide, you'd be better be disabled. OR ELSE. The attitude is very much assumed that disabled people are liars, or out to get you, take advantage of you, etc. The belief that the disabled are abusing the system is a very pervasive one and is all over the document as written.

    Every single time I have to ask for special treatment (can you hold that door open? can you set me aside a seat? can i have a few extra minutes to get settled? can I have my friend bring me my pills?) is harrowing, emotionally. So much different are policies and procedures (which I see even in small business situations with limited resources!!) that assume those needs are normal, not weird, not a drain or a big trouble.

    I don't know why VVC and its policies are so damn hostile to people like me who might need to fly in a SO to help me move around what is apparently a difficult to navigate, hard to get to con. I can only tell you that they are, and that the responses so far have been defensive and (to me) strange. The repeated cries of 'we're welcoming really' contrasted with the threat of being banned for 'fraud' is all very, very odd, and makes me sick to my stomach. I'm not sure what's going on for you.

    I've now wasted absolutely all of my spoons (fueled mostly by rage and hurt), so I'm pretty much done here. I hope you work things out and consider your perspective and do some research; none of the ideas I had for making this con one that is easier to attend involved more than a telephone and some tape. The Wiscon stuff is good, Jonquil's comments are awesome and right on. It's sad to me that a con I used to think of small and friendly and one to hope to attend someday is now is branded with ableist wretchedness in my mind. I'm clearly not the sort of person VVC wants to have attend, at least not in its current incarnation, so I'll leave you in peace. Be well. Apologies in advance for lack of proper punctuation or whatnot, this is a bad pain day for me and my functioning isn't what it could be.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: elynross
    2010-06-28 07:46 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    I completely understand all of this, particularly your anger. There were attitudes and language and implications in our policies as posted that I look at now, and I have no idea how we could have not noticed how unfriendly and hostile they are. I see things in my own language that indicate unconscious attitudes that I was not aware of, and I hope I can keep them in mind in future.

    I do believe that in our past interactions and dealing with the members we've had who have access issues, both wheelchairs and the kinds of issues you have, we've been responsive and (I hope) non-offensive, and have worked with our members to provide early access to vidshow rooms, to let them know about problems like hotel rooms that are behind heavy doors, so they don't end up on a bad floor, etc. This is not an attempt to ameliorate what ended up in the policies. I make no defense for that. But the responses we've gotten from the members in those positions has been positive, and has indicated that they're pleased with our response. Perhaps that made us complacent and careless in composing our policies.

    I hope we can revise our policies and the underlying attitudes sufficiently to make them go with what I believe we genuinely want to be and to provide to those of us who have access issues. That will not wipe away the current problems, and I understand that. And I would also understand if we have managed to permanently taint our con in your eyes, and those of others. I can't ask you to withhold judgment, and I don't; we have been stupid and clueless and oblivious. We have good intentions -- but that is meaningless when our actions are not good, and I know this.

    I can only hope that we have the opportunity to make amends, if you and others ever decide that you are willing to try attending, and prove ourselves willing and able to do whatever we can to make such attendance as easy on you as we are capable of. We do currently have one member whose SO attends as her aide, and we have worked with them to make that both possible and comfortable for them both, and will do so with anyone else who needs assistance.

    I've read over this multiple times now, in hopes of catching anything else untoward and offensive in my words; I don't know if I've been successful. I appreciate your directness, and I apologize again for my failures. I know those are only words, but I do mean them. If I fail again, I'll try to learn from it.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: antarcticlust
    2010-06-28 10:49 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    With the cost of a roll of blue painter's tape and a couple of hours (if that) of volunteer time, you could make your space almost as accessible as Wiscon. Seriously - so much of what makes Wiscon great is accomplished not with money, but with volunteer hours. I'm sure people would volunteer even if they couldn't get half their membership fee returned, or a shiny volunteer gift.

    ~antarcticlust, an able-bodied person who has volunteered for Access for the last two Wiscons
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: laurashapiro
    2010-06-28 11:53 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Should the concom decide it needs more volunteer hours in order to meet accessibility needs, I would happily volunteer for additional hours.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: elynross
    2010-06-29 03:29 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Thank you! I definitely misspoke when I implied it was all about language. And we do try to make our areas as accessible as possible, given space constraints, working directly with our individual members who need better access or additional accommodations. Given the smallness of our space (the entire con programming takes place in two large rooms), we work to set aside space as needed, tailored to the individuals, so we can maximize access for everyone. And clearly we're still learning what other things we can do.

    And we have many, many volunteers, usually more than we can place, which is definitely a bonus in many areas.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: antarcticlust
    2010-06-29 03:49 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    I was more referring to the statement about resources - it doesn't take a lot of money. A lot of the response I've seen suggests that being pro-active about access rather than re-active would be a better choice, even in a small space. My problem with the statement was that it was more of a statement of inaccessibility than accessibility - it came across as "it's too crowded and busy so disabled folks might as well not come."

    If you tape off a few chairs in front or remove a chair for wheelchair access as a matter of course, it takes little time and effort (especially since you're just in two small rooms). Those chairs may or may not ever be used, especially at first, but it's important for them to be there. The smallness of your space means you need to be EXTRA thoughtful about access, instead of thinking of it as a reason why you can't make your event accessible.

    The problem with "working with individual members" beforehand is that you're putting the responsibility of accessibility on the disabled people to speak out and identify their needs. This, especially as it was written, makes it come across as though 1) the default/normative space is able-bodied, and 2) anything else required prohibitive effort. Asking for help is difficult for a number of reasons. The point of my comment was basically that it's actually easy to spend a few hours at Wiscon (so less for your event) making it a welcome space. You might not think you need it now, but that's probably because so few disabled folks want to attend a con where they feel unwelcome (i.e., If you build it, they will come!).

    The world already maximizes access for able-bodied people. Besides, most accessibility efforts have all sorts of collateral benefits to able-bodied people (automatic doors are great for strollers, designated open walkways mean we can all get from point A to point B without banging through crowds, etc.). In other words, if you really want to make your event accessible for everyone, then do it - without being prompted by individual concerns - and then advertise widely that you've done so.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
    [User Picture]From: lobelia321
    2010-06-29 09:53 pm (UTC)

    Re: on accessibility, 1

    Wow, that link is amazing. Thanks for sharing it.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)