Tag Archives: Arisia

Arisia 2016 Schedule

I am quite active at Arisia this year (even in comparison with previous years)!

B&w photo of Crystal wearing goggles in Finland

Crystal can wear a pair of goggles like a pro, yo!

Friday at 5:30 pm in Marina 1

Friday at 7 pm in Faneuil

Saturday at 4 pm in Marina 4

Saturday at 5:30 pm in Burroughs

Saturday at 9 pm in Room 666
WORLDCON 75 PARTY!!! (open to all Arisia attendees)

Sunday at 4 pm & Monday at 11:30 am in Independence Room (both sessions)


Friday at 5:30 pm in Marina 1
“Although not (as of yet) connected to the rest of the TV DC Universe, the new Supergirl show is both a hit, and a blast to watch. We’ll talk about the first half-season of the show, what it means to have a positive female hero on the small screen as a headliner, and how the creators are reinterpreting a familiar mythos through an amazing new lens. We’ll also discuss the verve Melissa Benoist brings to the title role, and the dual roles played so well by Laura Benanti.”
My co-panelists are Adam LipkinSharon Sbarsky, Gordon Linzner, and Cassandra Lease.
I have already warned them about how much prep I’ve done for this panel. It may be EPIC. I may pull out various feelings about feminism and liking imperfect things. I imprinted heavily on the 80s Supergirl movie when I was a child. Seriously.

Friday at 7 pm in Faneuil
“Cixin Liu’s _The Three-Body Problem_, translated by Ken Liu, won the Hugo for Best Novel. Clarkesworld’s recent foray into translating Chinese SF has brought some well deserved attention to the vibrant body of stories in that country. Haikasoru has made a name for itself translating works from Japanese, and Tor.com has recently published SF stories translated from Spanish. What possibilities do we see in translation of other cultures’ SF? How might this change the landscape of the genre?”
I’m moderating this panel, with Ken LiuJohn Chu, Sarah Weintraub, and Morgan Crooks.
I plan to bring in plenty of stories the Finns have been telling me about SFF translation work, and we shall plumb the depths of what’s out there and what’s coming up in translation. Likely this conversation will include some structural racism of the genre. Good times, I promise you!

Saturday at 4 pm in Marina 4
“This panel will discuss etiquette for friends of authors and other creators. How do we support their endeavors without going broke or feeling obligated to attend every signing. What do we do when we don’t like their creations and are asked (or feel it’s expected) to give a reaction?”
I’m moderating this panel, with participants Timothy Goyette, Kourtney Heintz, Deborah Kaminski, and Archangel Beth.
This is a panel where I will confess all of my sins that are on-topic, so I half hope none of my friends show up … but actually, I promise to give practical as well as funny advice on this topic, as well as address some of the more sensitive aspects of the question. What is friendship, when money becomes involved? This is another aspect of that question.

Saturday at 5:30 pm in Burroughs
“Recent novels such as *The Three Body Problem*, *The Grace of Kings*, and *Throne of the Crescent Moon* join other works that challenge the cultural assumptions behind mainstream (American and English) science fiction and fantasy. How are these genres being reimagined beyond just making the space cowboys swear in Mandarin?”
John Chu is moderating this one, with Max Gladstone, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and John Scalzi on the panel.
This panel is going to be amazing, and you should come to all of my panels, but this one especially. I love Firefly, and we’re totally going to address Firefly’s racism. Also, I have some book recommendations you all want to get in on! I know where to find all the cool books doing the awesome shit.

Saturday at 9 pm in Room 666
WORLDCON 75 PARTY!!! (open to all Arisia attendees)
We shall offer some Finnish delights (which are totally different from Turkish delight), and some prizes! Some books! Some music! It’ll be great. Come visit us in Room 666, where apparently we still can’t get past the impression that we’ll nickname the Helsinki Worldcon something evil. 😉

I’m also going to be offering TWO FREE WORKSHOPS to address Impostor Syndrome at Arisia.

Sunday at 4 pm & Monday at 11:30 am
Location: Independence Room (both sessions)

“Impostor Syndrome: the feeling that you aren’t really qualified for the work you are doing and will be discovered as a fraud. Many women, People of Color, QUILTBAG persons, and others from marginalized groups deal with this feeling, especially when they’ve been socialized to value other’s opinions of their work above their own. This workshop includes practical methods of addressing one’s own Impostor Syndrome as well as suggestions for how to improve one’s community. Limit 15 (due to room size).”

This workshop is usually given at a cost of $200 per person (or a company pays for their employees to take the workshop). In 2016, I’ve pledged to offer 12 workshops for free to nonprofits, and these sessions are toward that pledge. I care about the Arisia, Inc. community and want to help make fandom a better place. This is one way I’m working toward those goals.

After taking my workshop, participants have reported higher productivity on projects, improved self-esteem, and better capacity to deal with the negative messages society sends so many of us. I love giving this workshop, and want as many people as possible to take it. I hope to see many of you there this weekend!


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Yes, Codes of Conduct Are Required.

Anyone who’s spoken with me over the past couple of years, after Readercon 23, probably knows that I have a strong opinion about harassment and how we handle it, particularly in fannish events like conventions (and parties, and work weekends, and all sorts of other fannish gatherings).  I’ve also been in HR in my professional life, so hopefully I know something about the topic, at this point, from multiple perspectives.

Let’s be clear, though — I developed some of my strongly-held opinions and beliefs after experiencing harassment myself, and I did a lot of reflecting on the topic during my three years as chair of Readercon.  It infuriated me to read the following email about whether or not a convention needed to have a code of conduct (which I won’t attribute because I don’t have permission to do so and suspect I’d never get permission from the person in question)…

“Do we need such a thing?   I have never heard of this being an issue at [convention name redacted] and see no reason to open a can of worms that is best to keep closed until there really is a need to open it.

“And if we do need one, I’d rather have a very short ‘act reasonable, don’t do dumb things, or we may ask you to leave.'”

I would like to say, unequivocally, that we DO need such a thing as a code of conduct.  The time of pretending that harassment doesn’t happen is behind us (not that that was ever an appropriate decision to make, on the part of people running events).  Now is the time of making sure that our conventions are as safe as we can make them, and that when someone behaves in an unsafe fashion, their behavior can be addressed in a clear and unambiguous fashion.

As for a “don’t be stupid” statement in lieu of having a real policy?  Pardon me, but that’s bullshit.  Poorly-developed policies don’t serve anyone well, as we’ve experienced in the past.  Poorly-defined policies don’t set people’s expectations for what they can or should do when they have a problem, other than that people might expect the problem won’t be handled well by the event organizers.  The only thing a lack of policy or barely-existing policy might do is send people the message that you don’t care if they harass other members of your convention.  That’s not quite putting out a welcome mat at the door of your convention for poorly-behaved attendees, but I do note this:  at [convention name redacted] referenced above?  I experienced being harassed multiple times, and no longer want to attend it.  I don’t trust the convention staff to take it seriously if I report a problem, nor address problems appropriately.

I have been the convention chair of Arisia in the past.  A few years ago, despite some objections about it “not being relevant to science fiction” (among other things), I was one of the people who started the tradition of inviting BARCC (the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center) to run workshops with Arisia staff in order to offer some helpful training and tools for addressing harassment and other inappropriate behavior at our conventions.  Since then, I have helped coordinate workshops with BARCC for Readercon, Arisia, Vericon, and local SCA staff.  Readercon ran BARCC workshops as part of the convention programming in 2013 (and possibly also 2014; I can’t recall).

I believe it really helped to have these workshops.  Fandom is not historically good at dealing with harassment, but I hope we are improving, as evidenced by things such as this post about harassment at RWA 2014 and this post about dealing with harassment at Arisia 2014.  I have hope.

But I base that hope partly on having codes of conduct that help set the tone for attendees.  So yes, I think codes of conduct are required.  Not having one is a different message you send to your attendees, if that’s what you choose to do.

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Filed under Fandom, Readercon, Safety, Worldcon

Arisia 2015 Faux Newsletter

It turns out that the Arisia staff didn’t manage to put together a faux newsletter during con this year.  That’s a shame, and too large a crime to let stand.  So, tipsily, we must address this omission!  Let’s hope this works:

Ether Egg Arisia 2015


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Filed under Fandom, Whimsical

Arisia Plans Needing More Assistance

It’s time to ask for help for Arisia next week!  It’s past time, actually, but the past month has been hectic enough that I haven’t managed to put out another all-call until now.  Additionally, I’ve heard from an epic number of people unable to come to Arisia this year, which is sad.  So now we scramble.  I’m posting this to all my social media options.

There are two things I could use the most help with: working on the Arisia Photobooth (taking photos of people with props and backdrops we provide) and/or helping with the Helsinki in 2017 party.  Please read more beyond the cut! Continue reading


Filed under Fandom, Helsinki

Arisia 2011: Moving Locations for a Convention, Creating Positive Relationships

I wrote this up for a mailing list I’m a member of, and it seems also useful to post it here, as well.

I learned a lot from chairing Arisia 2011.  Arisia moved from the Cambridge Hyatt to the Westin Boston Waterfront for the 2011 convention, and it was a really fascinating learning experience.  All told, I think it went smashingly well.  This was partly circumstance, and partly really intentional work from all parties.

First off, in general, I highly recommend getting to know the staff of your hotel or facilities very well, very far in advance.  I had several lunch and coffee meetings with our hotel representatives more than a year before signing the hotel contract, even.  (The contract signing is at least a year in advance, but preferably multiple years in advance, note.)  I stayed in the hotel several times prior to signing the contract.  I became a familiar face they saw several times a year (and sometimes several times a month, in the case of the door staff).  Some Westin staffers still recognize me and remember my name, years later, and they associate me with positive things such as large-ish tips and remembering who they are.  (I am lucky to have reasonably good facial/name recollection.)

Continue reading

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Filed under Budget Impact, Fandom

Safety at Conventions

Safety at conventions is a topic I care a lot about, and it is receiving a fair amount of attention recently in the community of convention-goers and convention-runners. This includes a large amount of email discussion on the SMOF (Secret Masters of Fandom) email list. I posted to the SMOFs list recently in response to a thread in which people were discussing (and dismissing) someone’s expressed concerns about safety at conventions and within fandom. Here’s what I wrote:

No place is utterly safe from danger. There is a wide continuum to describe people’s experiences of safety at cons, and if you (generic “you,” not any person specifically) have had an easier time feeling safe than others, you are lucky, but that doesn’t mean other people are wrong to be concerned for their own safety.

Now, I am totally one to hope for sunshine and rainbows and kitties. I like to keep things positive, and have fun. I do consider fandom to be a place where I am relatively safe, generally speaking. I also received death threats as a result of my chairing Readercon 23, and I don’t think that’s sunshine or rainbows or kitties. I chose not to report them to the police because I didn’t figure they would be followed through on, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have that experience, along with many other negative experiences in a fannish context.

Sincerely, Crystal Huff (Who chaired Arisia 2011, Relaxacon 2011, Readercon 23 and 24, and is chairing Readercon 25 as well as co-chairing JOFcon I next year…)

I’ve been on several panels at conventions this past year, on the general topic of safety at conventions, harassment, and codes of conduct. The differences between each was striking.

My panels at Arisia 2013 (a year ago) were rough and emotional for me, but the panelists and attendees were very clearly invested in listening and addressing the issue. Readercon 23 had only recently happened, and some of us were still in shock, but trying to grapple with the issue of harassment.

At Eastercon last year, while I was frustrated with the panel topic being the question of whether the convention should have a code of conduct or not, I was impressed by the con’s intention to deal with challenges, and the sexist con newsletter comment that was brought up by an audience member was something the con staff on the panel wanted to address, as opposed to running away from it.

Readercon 24 had a lot of programming on this topic, as you might imagine, in an effort to address the issue with our community and keep the commitments we had made in our public statement after Readercon 23. I was too busy chairing the convention to be on many panels, but I did preside most memorably over the feedback session at the end of the convention. Several people felt that Readercon overreacted and should have emphasized far less the importance of safety and addressing sexual harassment. I believe, however, that the safety of others is more important than my personal comfort, and the Readercon committee stood with that belief as a group. We do not regret making a clear statement about prioritizing safety.

I was on a fantastic panel at Swecon, the Swedish national convention, this past fall. The panel deserves its own post, really, when I have time. There was a moment for a real-life learning opportunity within the community, in addition to everyone really wanting to tackle how to make their conventions safer. The attitude in the room was very productive and engaged. I felt comfortable talking about the complex way in which we all make mistakes, using myself as an example. It was a great discussion.

Then the panel at Smofcon last month, titled “Sexuality and the Human Fan,” was a different kind of trying to address the issue. I think that went the least well, frankly, of the panels I’ve been on. The more times someone uses the excuse “that’s just the way things were, back then” or says that if someone is feeling harassed, they should call the police … Well, this entire post was left on my drafts pile to see if I could better tackle just how poorly some of that panel went, and I think I’m going to set it aside for future contemplation rather than continue to sit on this post.

As we’ve come to a new year in Arisia, I’m on two panels this year:
“Addressing Sexual Harassment in Our Communities”
“Shame on Slut-Shaming.”

You can see the full Arisia guide here. It looks great, and I’m greatly looking forward to the convention this weekend.

I’m also very intrigued to see what conversations we will have at JOFcon in a few short weeks!

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Filed under Fandom, Safety