Imladris XXI – An Excellent Weekend

Some days are bad and some are good. The weekend of Imladris XXI was definitely in the latter category. The convention felt exactly as it should. It was a good mixture of programme and socializing. I didn’t know what I needed before the con but during it I understood that I am in a right place.

Special Place

Imladris is a convention that has a special place in my heart. Back in 2003 it was my first SFF convention to attend (and ninth in general). Since those beginnings I have felt a special connection to it. I am not a regular concom member. Looking historically I usually helped somehow. yet I was in a concom only four times out of fourteen editions I visited. Still I love this con and I know that I will join the team again one year or another (should they let me!).

A woman with colorful hair stands behind a desk and points her hand towards a screen.
Siem during her talk about Elizabethean Sea Dogs during Imladris XXI.

Last year Imladris was also a Polcon and I was in the Programme Division and had a great time. This year unfortunately I had to refuse this position. It made me heartbroken but I had too much on my plate and couldn’t add anything else. Yet obviously I was willing to help somehow so at least I prepared a talk that was accepted into the programme.

In fact the idea for the talk came from the convention chair. She asked me whether I can tell something about the Fandom Exhibition I was preparing at the time. I gave it a thought and although speaking for an hour about the exhibition didn’t sound so great it allowed me to think of something I found interesting. Finally I decided to call my presentation Little joys of fan archaeologist. During fifty minutes I gave a brief tour of fandom history and talked about collecting fannish memorabilia. I also said a few words about the exhibition, and presented a few artifacts from my collection. Some of them I even managed to bring with me . I needed this talk. The room was not full but I had an audience bigger than on many fandom-related presentations I did. This boosted my confidence and showed me it is worth to talk about fandom. When I finished one person from the audience offered to share with me some items that she has and that I may be missing. It was so lovely! If you are reading this – thank you!

Six people sit around a table and play a game.
RPG in Games Room.

Great Mixture

I allowed myself to mix programme and socializing. I think that I didn’t attend any two programme items in a row. Instead after every talk or panel I was either walking around the con or I was talking to my friends. I spent quite some time in Blue Room. I am not sure about the colour in the name as it functioned as a Green Room. Regardless the colour it was good to talk to people there.

It was also good to go to some programme items. I managed to listen to a presentation about Elizabethan Sea Dogs. It was very interesting and informative. Another one I really liked was a talk about the famous crime stories of Kraków. The one I think I liked the most though was a scientific talk called When the Sun Fell on Earth. It was a presentation on nuclear fusion and what are our chances for using it to generate clean energy. The good thing is that none of the talks/panels I attended was boring. I enjoyed each and every one of them!

A woman stand in front of a classroom of people sitting behind the desks.
When the Sun Fell on Earth

On social aspect – what can I say about meeting people? Was it awesome? Of course it was! Did it make me happy? Sure thing! During my first round around the school where Imladris XXI was held I entered Chill-out room. It was ran by Phoe and the whole idea was to serve tea. I was masked and didn’t plan to drink at this point in time but I had no other option. I got some oolong(?) tea in a beautiful tea bowl. Well the ceramics used in the room is a topic of it’s own. I could spend there a lot of time to just enjoy the view of bowls and kettles! Although I didn’t try any other tea I visited the room a few times during the con to chat a bit.

Kettle, chawan and ceramic rabbit on a wooden stand.
A cute set of ceramics in the Chill-out room.

On Saturday morning I went for a breakfast with a few friends. It was good to talk with them and eat together. It was also good to enjoy some conversations with the group afterwards. I also enjoyed Friday evening social event in a nearby pub. The time I spent at Janusz A. Zajdel Award booth was very nice. I enjoyed both manning it and chatting with people. And last I cannot forget about some conversations in the Org room which I allowed myself to visit. All in all I had a time to talk to many people and I treasure all those moments.

A man points his hand towards a board with the time shcedule.
Phoe proudly presenting his schedule in the Chill-out room.

Party Not Hard

I am not a party person yet I tend to visit evening socialising at conventions. Usually I get home early and Imladris XXI was not an exception. It may look like I am not enjoying my time but it is not true. I appreciate those moments I just need some more sleep to survive the convention. On Friday evening I went back home quite early – no later than 9 PM. On Saturday though I had to stay longer.

At the end of 2012 we lost a fannish friend – Krzysztof “Funio” Świątek. It was a big blow towards our fandom. At some point in time over the last eleven years idea to have an award named after him was born. Imladris XXI managed to make it happen. Instead of having an official gala for the award they decided to give it during the evening in a pub. I didn’t know Funio very well but I think he would be happy about it. The time for awarding was however a bit late – 11 PM. I would normally go home by that time but I wanted to stay.

Multiple people stand around a smiling smiling.
Seji receives first ever Krzysztof ‘Funio’ Świątek Award.

The ceremony was rather laid back and short. I liked it. What I liked even more was who received the award. It was Seji whom in my opinion has deserved it very much. I kept my fingers crossed hoping it would go to him and it did. The award recognizes fans for their contributions to fandom in general and to Imladris. I cannot imagine better person to receive the first ever award named after Funio. Congratulations Seji!

The award will have different form each year. Seji was recognized for a few things. One of them was hunting the typos in the convention materials. This is, I believe, why he received a fountain pen with the award name engraved on it. He also got a special version of programme book which, as I suppose, contains a lot of typos.

Superb Atmosphere

Apart from programme and meeting people I enjoyed the atmosphere. Imladris XXI was a place where I should have been and I was there. There were many things that will stay with me. For some years convention newsletter – Głos Elronda (Elrond’s Voice) is published. This year an unofficial second newsletter was created – Oko Saurona (Sauron’s Eye). On top of that I heard that another unofficial conzine is planend for next year – Szepty Shire (Whispers of Shire). Will it happen? I am not sure but seeing the friendly teasing between two newsletters I cannot wait for the third.

A woman and a man sit behind a desk and smile.
Janusz A. Zajdel Award Booth.

The biggest issue of Imladris was that it ended so soon. I would love to spend there one more day. Maybe two more. Yet there is an end to everything good. I am already looking forward to the next year. Probably I won’t have the time to be an organizer but I already told that I want to get back to running the con. Hopefully I will be able to do so in 2025 – the time will tell. And for now I have great memories to cheer me up during the current winter days.

You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.
You can expect thenext post treating about Nordcon before the end of the year.

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