But when it came to it, I didn’t want to just write a typical con summary like others I’ve written before, because FIYAHCON isn’t like other cons.
What I will say is that my very positive experience volunteering at FIYAHCON aligned with thoughts I’ve been having more broadly about where and with whom I want to allot my available volunteer time (and work time, as well, but that’s a somewhat larger and more complicated topic).
There is no end to the causes to volunteer with and it can be easy to overextend yourself when you know you can help and, particularly, when you have skills that are in need. And a lot of them are perfectly decent organizations.
But there are only so many hours available and it becomes a matter of what is worthwhile, what will have impact, and what is of most value.
I’ve spent a lot of time on things (organizations, issues, etc) that are good (sometimes very, very good), but unlikely to result in meaningful change and certainly not in the short- to medium-term. And I don’t think that people who continue to be part of those things are wrong, necessarily, but within the context of limited time and energy, they’re not areas I want to put my effort anymore.
So what is of value? Doing whatever I practically can to assist in undermining this racist, misogynistic, colonial, homophobic, transphobic, ableist system we are mired in.
That may be a large statement, but I am tired of fucking around and life is short.
FIYAHCON was a great weekend.
I am going to finish this off with a short bit about the panels at FIYAHCON, because every one I attended was amazing. Often at conventions, when panels address “diversity” or similar, the discussion is, at best, at a 101 level (what is this form of diversity? should there be more of it in SFF?). Hopefully the latter question is rhetorical (but sometimes you wonder).
But here is a list of some of the panels I had the privilege of watching at FIYAHCON.
- Palestinian Futurism
- They Came in Great Ships/First Colonization
- Consciousness and Capitalism
- Law in SFF, and Why It Matters
- Homegoings: Death Isn’t Always Mourning
As well, there was BonFIYAH, fringe-style programming aimed at those in non-North/South American timezones. Which meant more awesome panels, like:
- A World Made for Us: Disability-/Neurodiverse-Friendly Architecture and Industrial Design
- Time is an Illusion: Alternatives to the Gregorian Calendar
- It’s Still Colonialism When It Happens to Elves
- Sensitivity Reading While Marginalized: Workshopping Around White Fragility
Such depth and such wonderful panelists offering really thoughtful analyses. There wasn’t a bad panel amongst them and so, so much to think about in the content. (Never mind the additions to my to be read list which are … a lot. A wonderful person compiled many of them.)