IAFA Update and New Venue Survey
By Skye Cervone In IAFA, ICFA On April 24, 2019
ICFA 40 STATS
ICFA 40 “Politics and Conflict” saw about 480 attendees. About 210 people attended the banquet. About 285 people delivered papers or presented on a panel. A total of 95 attendees were invited creatives (authors, editors, artists). Thanks to all for their contributions!
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
ICFA 41 “Climate Change and the Anthropocene” will be March 18–21, 2020. The guest author is Jeff VanderMeer, and the guest scholar is ecocritic Stacey Alaimo (University of Texas at Arlington). Abstract submission and conference registration will open on September 1, 2019. Abstract close date is, as always, on Halloween—October 31, 2019.
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Interested in what goes down at the board meetings? The minutes may be viewed here: https://www.fantastic-arts.org/about/governance/minutes/
The Sched app was a hit—so much so, in fact, that we have decided in future to stop printing the pocket program. Special thanks to Mike Smith for inputting all the data and keeping it up to date during the convention, and to those who tested the app before wide release.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MOVING
The ICFA 41 meeting regarding site options was well attended. Thanks to all who came, and thanks to those who raised important questions about representation. Your voices are important, and we want to hear them. Previously we sent the IAFA membership a survey to open a discussion about venue. In short, costs are going to go up. We wanted to know how this would affect attendance. The initial survey revealed that cost was the primary concern. With that in mind, we have explored various options, including moving the venue to another city altogether, including consideration of sites outside the United States.
We are contracted to the current Marriott property through 2021. Therefore, discussions about the future are for 2022 forward.
We also remind the membership that we save money by negotiating multiyear contracts; by owning our own AV equipment; and by having the ability to maintain a book room, which would be prohibitively expensive to move to another country. Previous feedback has indicated that ICFA attendees strongly feel that the book room adds great value to the convention experience.
Below please find a note from the president. Please see a copy of this message with link to a brief new survey in the email address associated with your IAFA Registration. The survey asks you to select among various options to help us plan future conventions.
A NOTE FROM IAFA PRESIDENT DALE KNICKERBOCKER
I write to you on behalf of the IAFA board with an update concerning the site of future conferences. Researching venues for our conference is a complicated and time-consuming endeavor, and we have been fortunate to have had Donald Morse take care of this for so many years. In the past, the IAFA has been successful in keeping costs down by negotiating long-term relationships with hotels. Unless there were problems with the venue or management, boards past have simply continued to negotiate the best rate to stay at the property. A deteriorating relationship with the hotel is why we moved from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando; we did not contemplate another move until it became clear we might be facing a similar situation at the new property. When we found out last summer that the hotel’s new owners were considering drastically raising prices, we had a lot of work to do in very little time, and our first move was to consult the membership at a point when we still had very little information to share. Fortunately, by looking elsewhere, we have received an offer from the Marriott that is much more favorable than their initial one. We must accept or refuse by the end of the June board meeting. Nonetheless, we are still considering a variety of options, and we seek further input from you.
We are still researching other North American venues, including the Rosen Plaza in Orlando (https://www.rosenplaza.com/), and we are sending a representative to negotiate with two properties in Toronto later this month. They are the Delta Hotels Toronto Airport and Conference Centre (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yyzda-delta-hotels-toronto-airport-and-conference-centre/) and the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yyztc-sheraton-centre-toronto-hotel/). Both are Marriott properties. Unfortunately, waiting for a solid offer from them would not give us time to consult the membership before the June 7–9, 2019, board meeting. Below please find a link to the survey asking for your opinion regarding under what situations you would favor a move, and where.
Please keep in mind that the board must consider the effect of a conference move on all our members. Travel costs have a particularly harsh effect on graduate students, authors (who generally do not enjoy institutional support), and adjunct faculty. One of the things that makes the ICFA different is the presence of both creators and scholars. Graduate students are our future, and we’ve always taken great pride in welcoming and mentoring them as many of us were welcomed and mentored. And all too many academics are underemployed and exploited, as you well know. There are many other factors we must consider as well—not only costs to members but also costs to the organization, as well as the effect on the conference culture if it were too expensive to move the books and maintain a bookstore, or if there were no comfortable outdoor space.
The board has also discussed non–North American venues for future conferences. One exciting option we are looking into is authorizing comity conferences, where we could partner with and support a local group or institution, such as our sister organization, Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (GFF; http://www.fantastikforschung.de/), in organizing a conference at a time of their choosing. The IAFA could contribute some seed money, advice, internet and database support, and the presence of an official from IAFA’s board. This would be in addition to our usual conference. The local group would do the organizing and would take all legal and financial responsibility.
Of course, all future options are on the table, including moving the conference outside of North America for a year, and even a possible rotation if that is successful, and the board will consider any proposal put forth by any party. However, it is necessary that everyone understand that board members are all volunteers who have full-time jobs or are full-time students. None of us has the time to research and negotiate with an unlimited number of venues. Moreover, negotiating successfully in other cultures is different, even if negotiations are conducted in English. Perhaps most important, we cannot be responsible for signing contracts within a legal system with which we are unacquainted. No one on the board has such experience. For such a venue to be considered, we would need a local group to come forward and do the research necessary so that the board can present the facts to the membership and make an informed decision. I would be happy to provide a list of the information we’d need to any group interested in proposing a site (email me at iafa.president AT fantastic-arts.org).
We would appreciate it if you take the time to answer the survey and make your opinion known. Many thanks for your attention and patience during this process.
The survey (estimated time to complete: 2 minutes) is in the email account associated with your IAFA Registration.
The survey closes on May 24, 2019. For context, be sure you read Dale’s remarks before you take the survey!
The survey has places for comments, but if you want to reach out to Dale directly, the email is iafa.president AT fantastic-arts.org. You can also reply to this email (iafareg AT gmail.com), and I will forward remarks to Dale.
THANK YOU for your support of the organization!
IAFA Membership and Registration Coordinator
iafareg AT gmail.com