Arisia – my first convention of 2021

Usually I don’t start conventioning in January but this year I visited Arisia, a New England convention. It was held online (for the reasons we all know too well). Because of my involvement in the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid, my experience was a bit different than what I have been used to.

Fantable

I organized the Glasgow in 2024 fantable and I staffed it for the large part of the con. Even when I was not scheduled for a shift I kept checking how it was doing relatively frequently. It was not a difficult job. And it didn’t require me to skip other events that happened during the con. So despite monitoring the fantable, I was able to attend various panels and enjoy myself. Although it happened that I lost track of a panel when I was replying to someone at the table.

Screenshot from website. It contains a few icons guiding to different parts of the convention. Convention Hub with links to various spaces of the Arisia.

I expected this task to be more time-consuming but it was pretty calm. I am already thinking of the upcoming cons where we will have the fantables as well and I am looking forward to it.

Programme

The programming started late on Friday. Because of the six hours’ time difference, I managed to visit only one panel – Hold Your Enthusiasm: Problematic Things. I must say it was a nice conversation about how we can approach problematic works. To no surprise, a part of the panel was devoted to J.K. Rowling.

On Saturday and Sunday, I had more time for programming. I won’t be listing all the topics here but I need to mention some of them. Just the Facts: Supervolcanoes was interesting in both the format and the content. It was a panel discussion with the aim set to provide information about the topic. I am used to seeing such items in the form of a talk. The panel was more interactive. It also allowed each person to comment on the aspects that fascinated them the most. It was a great panel to listen to. Similarly, another item from the Just the Facts programme track was amazing. It was the panel on the Black holes. I learned some interesting things and enjoyed it.

Screenshot from Zoom. Heading is in big rainbow letters: 'Virtual Arisia' below is a picture of Dragon and text 'Door Dragon says: Welcome to Room 1! This panel will begin shortly. Join the chat in Discord Channel #room-1'. Visiting Zoom room before the panel starts.

I had high hopes for Age and Fandom: What it looks like after 50. It was a good talk even though I expected some more aspects to be touched. The panellists did a great job. It was good to see their openness and approach to fandom. I would gladly see similar panels on other cons.

Other things to do

Unfortunately I made a terrible mistake during the con. I completely forgot about the consuite on Zoom. I was too concentrated on the Glasgow in 2024 channel on Discord and because of that, I did poorly at checking other channels. When I tried to, it seemed that the social ones were not busy. Because of that, for most of the con, I missed the socializing part (apart from a few talks at our fantable). It was on Monday while I was navigating around the website when I saw the information about the Zoom consuite. I saw it earlier (on Friday I believe) but I completely forgot about it. So on Monday, I skipped one or two programme items and spend the time in the Zoom consuite instead. It was not full of people but I had a long and interesting conversation (or maybe a string of conversations swiftly changing form one to the other?). I regret I had not visited it sooner.

Screenshot from the wbsite. There is a lot of text and a big picture of a couch. The part of the wbsite guding to Consuite Zoom.

There was an Art show available and I visited it on Friday. Many artists were featured and it was great to see some of the presented artwork. I did not manage to attend any of the gaming activities. I also didn’t manage to see any of the performances.

The year has just began

I am not sure whether I was fully ready to enjoy the con. For sure I was quite tired (despite the fact that I had a nice break over the winter holidays). I enjoyed some aspects of the con but I have a feeling that if not for my fatigue I would enjoy more things. Yet this is just the beginning and now I am looking forward to the next cons to come.

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