Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon: A Review in Ribbons

September 1, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Conventions | 4 Comments
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So, there was a Worldcon in Dublin, and I ended up being much more in the middle of everything than I ever was in Helsinki two years ago, where I just carefully dipped my toes in. This time, I jumped in at the deep end, and in spite of being a lousy swimmer, survived to tell the tale! Lots of memories came up when I finally unpacked my suitcase after traveling around Ireland after the con, so here’s what I found inside:

Dublin 2019 - Memories!

The colour-coded hi-vis vests were used to indicate staff members on duty for a particular area. Since I was mostly running around the Warehouse location in a few different roles, it at least gave me a chance to be off-duty once in a while.

Iain J. Clark posted about the process of creating the Souvenir Book cover on his Facebook page, and we got to see quite a bit of the artwork including the original painting as part of the “Art of Putting on a Convention” display.

The staff badge with its ribbons deserves a closer look:

Dublin 2019 staff badge with ribbons

Let’s go top to bottom: The badge itself has lovely artwork from Jim Fitzpatrick.

My official role was as one of three Displays Area Heads, responsible for organizing all the displays in both locations excluding the Art Show. We ended up having about 50 different displays, with plans constantly changing pretty much till the con closed!

On to the ribbons: I got introduced to the magic that is Worldcon ribbons two years ago in Helsinki. Some of them are functional, others just for fun. I think the set I ended up with tells a good part of my personal Worldcon experience, so let’s use the ribbons as a guide!

I Made This Happen! This ribbon was given out at volunteer registration to everybody who helped prepare for this Worldcon pre-convention. It has pride of place, since I spent uncounted hours in the past year (first email in my Dublin 2019 inbox dates 2018-09-06, so yes, it really has been a full year!) making sure things were going to happen in the Displays area. There’s almost 4000 emails in that inbox, and that excludes all the general mailing lists, so is just the “work” emails I got. Yes, more than 50 emails while sleeping happened almost daily in the last few weeks before the convention!

Volunteer: Everybody working for the convention is a volunteer, and I’m proud to have been one of them. At least for me, working together with other volunteers is where most of the fun is! This ribbon also gives access to the volunteer lounges.

EXHIBITS: The light blue ribbons come from my division, Exhibits. As a division, we were responsible for running pretty much all of the space in the Forum at the CCD and in Warehouse 1 at Point Square: Dealers, Fan Tables, Creative Alley, Art Show, and Displays. Seeing all that planning come to life during move-in was amazing. I also worked for Exhibits two years ago in Helsinki, but in a much smaller role and totally ignorant of the bigger picture. This year I got the full benefit of a front-row seat, including all kinds of last-minute crises! I think Exhibits is a natural home to creative me, and I had loads of fun even when stressed out.

Displays Staff: Organizing the 50 displays we ended up with is a load of work. We ended up with three Area Heads (which is already one more person than you’d usually have – normal is one Area Head plus a Deputy), and we still had more than enough to do. Without the lovely volunteers on our staff, it would have been frankly impossible to pull off. Everybody matters, and that’s what makes this so great.

Raksura Colony Tree Builder: I gave out this one to everybody who contributed to my personal project for this Worldcon. I may have been a bit overambitious to take this on on top of everything else, but getting to enjoy the results was prizeless.

Programme Participant: This one came with the Programme Participant package. I ended up being on eight programme items, which may have been a few too many, in hindsight. But it’s so hard to say no to interesting things! Five of those were in conjunction with the community art project and totally self-inflicted. I also suggested to Programme that somebody ought to run a workshop on Irish Crochet Lace at an Irish Worldcon. While I would have preferred that somebody local do this, I was totally expecting to have to run it myself, and that’s exactly what happened. We had fun, everybody learnt something new, but preparing and running this was another nontrivial amount of work added to my load (And yes, for everyone waiting, I will post my class handout with additional notes). I also got drafted into a panel on Hyperbolic Crochet together with a mathematician, which went well. And last, I got talked into running the cross-stitch section of one of the speed-crafting sessions. Loved the idea – people getting the opportunity to try out three different crafts during a 2-hour session, rotating between different instructors.

I made an exhibition of myself in Dublin: That’s a fun one, also from Exhibits. My exhibition mostly being running around like a headless chicken the first couple of days, I guess.

Glasgow 2024: This obviously wasn’t stressful enough, so I went and pre-supported the Glasgow 2024 bid, so we can do it all over again 5 years from now?

Mother, may I? Got this one from one of the people at the Raksura Colony Tree celebration, while unsuccessfully trying to herd everybody around. We were laughing a lot and enjoying ourselves immensely.

Sure, it’ll be grand: I was offered this one at the Dead Dog Party after the con was officially closed and I had done most of the move-out from the Warehouse. I took it because “grand” really is a multi-purpose word that can mean almost anything in Ireland, and I heard it used as such by our lovely hosts. Yes, this was an Irish Worldcon, not only in name, and I loved it because of this.

Whew, that’s quite a lot! Given all that, it’s not surprising I didn’t manage to catch any daytime programme items except for an excellent talk about pulsars by Guest of Honour Jocelyn Bell Burnell on Thursday. I did make a point of going to the evening events, though. For me, those are some of the best parts of a Worldcon!

Dublin 2019 - Events Programmes

Programme leaflets for the evening events. Opening ceremony/1944 Retro Hugos on Thursday, Worldcon Philharmonic on Friday. No printed programme for the Masquerade on Saturday, and the Hugo Awards Ceremony on Sunday.

Those leaflets make excellent souvenirs. Love the sketches of the Retro Hugo and Hugo awards bases on their respective programmes. Actually showing some of the work that goes into making such an event a reality seemed to be an ongoing theme, which we also took up within Displays – showing both pictures of the making of the different awards given out and a lovely display titled “The Art of Putting on a Convention”, which showcased some of the artwork that was used for the convention’s promotion and publications.

And, last, some printed items of my own:

Dublin 2019 - Printouts!

Thanks to some of the artists working for the convention, we were able to put together a set of excellent colouring pages for people to enjoy. Iain Clark’s “Green Woman” was one of my favourites, and you may see more of her in the future since I think she needs to be a quilt!

On the right is a letterpress-printed poster from the workshop the National Print Museum was running during three days of the convention. You could typeset your name and add it to the prepared plate with the Dublin 2019 logo. This was also one of the 50 displays on our list, and right next to the craft workspace where I spent most of my convention time. I think it makes an excellent souvenir, and it’s always nice to be able to work with technology where not everything’s hidden under a sleek hood!

Wow, looks like I had rather a lot to say about my Worldcon loot. It’s been over for two weeks and I still end up really excited just thinking about it.

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