James Shields Receives Irish Conference Ambassador Award

James Sheilds

James Shields

By James Bacon: For a number of years now, the Dublin Convention Bureau and Fáilte Ireland the National Tourism Development Authority have been encouraging the ‘Conference Ambassador’ scheme, which helps support and encourage individuals and organisations to bring international conferences and conventions to Ireland.

To recognise the efforts of people who give up their own time to organise international events, Fáilte have set up the Conference Ambassador awards, and plan to hold them every two years going forward.

Shamrokon, Co-Chair James Shields was invited to the inaugural award ceremony on the 21st of January at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin. Shields came up with the idea of a Eurocon the weekend after a potential UK Worldcon while on his GUFF trip to New Zealand and Australia in 2010. He was in the vanguard of efforts to win the Eurocon bid for Dublin and was subsequently joined by Brian Nisbet who co-chaired the convention.

 

He informs us:

Irish television celebrity, comedian and student of theoretical physics Dara O’Briain came on stage and gave an introduction, and spoke a little about the awards and the kinds of people who were present. He singled out a woman who happened to be sitting next me, called Karen O’Sullivan, who had held the European ice skating conference in Dublin, and is hoping to hold the European Championships, and Dublin doesn’t even have a proper ice rink!

I didn’t expect to be receiving an award. Admittedly they weren’t “best in” style awards, and there were about 40 given out on the night, but it was still really wonderful to receive such recognition and It was especially nice to be there with my partner Fionna O’Sullivan and I was really proud to be there with her.

The Irish government have always been keen to promote tourism in all its forms and see the efforts to welcome conventions as an important aspect. The Dublin 2019 World Science Fiction bid is also supported by Fáilte and I was pleased to wear my Dublin 2019 badge on the night

[Photos by Fionna O’Sullivan and James Shields.] 

Shields’ GUFF Report Available

James Shields won GUFF in 2010 and attended Aussiecon 4. Shields recently completed and published his trip report, titled A Rough Guide to GUFF.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve put a lot of work into getting the report from my trip report finished, and I hope the result makes it worthwhile. I wanted the finished product to look really good, and I hope I’ve achieved that.

Copies have been taken to a few conventions for sale, and they are also available from print-on-demand publisher Blurb.com. Shields reminds everyone that his report is a fundraiser for GUFF:

€5 from the price goes directly to the GUFF fund. Unfortunately, the shipping on single issues is pricey, so if you’d prefer to wait and pick it up at a con, it should be considerably cheaper.

Yes In Pictures


Kirk Spock
Ireland’s yes voters carried a referendum about whether same sex marriage should be legally recognized by nearly 2-to-1 on May 23.

The Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid issued a statement supporting the result:

This is a huge step forwards in recognising that everyone should have the right to love, and marry, the partner of their choice, and it is particularly important that this has been signified via the people of Ireland….

We’re very proud of the many Irish members of Dublin 2019 who supported the ‘Yes’ vote, and went out to take part in the referendum.

A fannish manifestation of the Yes campaign were James Brophy’s comics-inspired icons for James Shields’ Mammies and Daddies Matter Facebook page. (Shields was Shamrokon 2014 co-chair and is a past GUFF winner.)

While proponents of a No vote ran ads with imagery of traditional heterosexual couples and their children (see one example here), Brophy illustrated many different couples and groupings. Brophy says:

They were intended as a parody of the no campaign logo. Showing that it’s not just mums and dads that make up families, sometimes it’s two dads sometimes its two mums. Then I added in some super hero people and they got slowly stranger and stranger as the month wound on.

I’ve had requests to make t shirts by people who didnt know the origin of the images and just thought they would be lovely to have at LGBTQ events.

Kirk Spock heartAlien and DalekSuper familyAnother Super familyHarley Quinn and Green girl

[Thanks to Esther MacCallum-Stewart for the story.]

Perkovic Wins GUFF

Mihaela Marija Perkovic of Croatia has won the 2013 GUFF race and will attend Conflux, the 2013 Australian National Convention.

Perkovic received over 50% of the 86 first-place votes cast.

  European Australasian Other Total
Julie McMurray

19

5

6

30

Mihaela Marija Perkovic

31

12

6

49

No Preference

4

2

1

7

Fund administrators James Shields and Kylie Ding report no one voted Hold Over Funds.

This year’s race raised a total of AU$1,098.02.

Fans from 15 countries voted – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Channel Islands, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK, Ukraine, USA.

GUFF, created in 1979, exchanges fans between Europe and Australia, therefore is called the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund, depending on which direction it’s running. Well, honestly, for that very reason it’s always called GUFF even though the variable name is a cute idea…

[Note: The winner’s last name is correctly spelled with an accent over the “c”, unicode U+0107, a character that does not seem to be available in this program.]

2013 GUFF Race Begins

Voting is now open to choose the GUFF delegate Conflux, the 2013 Australian National Convention. Anyone can vote who was active in fandom prior to January 2011, and who contributes at least GBP5 or AUD8 (or the equivalent in other currencies) to the fund. Candidates for the Europe to Australasia race are: Julie McMurray and Mihaela Marija Perkovi?.

Julie McMurray: I’ve been in Fandom since 1989 starting out in media fandom. Then I went to Novacon 23 and was completely drawn in by the diversity of the conventions and amazing people I met. I volunteered from my first convention doing all sorts of fun and exciting stuff. My passion is travelling and meeting people and I’ve always dreamed of going to Australia. Some of my favourite authors include Shaun Tan & Garth Nix. I love reading, larping and volunteering. I’d love to travel to Australia and have an active trip meeting fans, promoting European fandom and worldcon/loncon3 in London 2014.

Julie’s nominators are James Bacon, Emma King, Jim Mowatt, Dave Cake and Richard Crawshaw

Mihaela Marija Perkovi?: A Croatian fan who is downright crazy about Australia; she earned her degree with a paper on “SF tropes in Peter Carey’s short fiction”. Active in fandom since 2004, she has participated at Croatian conventions as lecturer, moderator and GoH host. She runs the SFERA Award Jury and writing workshops, is PR manager of SFera and SFeraKon, and coordinated Kontakt Special Track at Eurocon 2012. Enthusiastic, cheerful and chatty, she is an active blogger and lousy photographer. She plans to attend Swancon and Conflux, visit Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand. Her report will be fun to read.

Mihaela’s nominators are Cheryl Morgan, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf, Cristian Tamas, Anna Hepworth and Adrian Smith.

You can vote via PayPal (the online ballot is available here) or use the print ballot (see link below) and send cheque (made out to ‘GUFF’) or money order or cash in person to James Shields. 7 The Way, Highlands, Drogheda, Co. Meath, Ireland (email james [at] lostcarpark [dot] com); or Kylie Ding, 80A Forrest Street, FREMANTLE WA 6160, AUSTRALIA (email kylie_ding [at] hotmail [dot] com).

GUFF_2013_ballot

2012 Smofcon Scholarhip Winners Named

CanSMOF has awarded Danielle MacDonald (Ontario, Canada) and James Shields (County Meath, Ireland) scholarships to the 2012 SMOFCon.

MacDonald has worked a number of art shows, and is also interested in masquerades and food and hospitality services. This will be her first Smofcon.

Shields has worked in programming, and is interested in developing uses of web technologies to further aid conventions and their memberships with their online experience. This will be his first Smofcon in North America.

The winning applicants were selected based on a demonstration of their potential for contributing to their local fandom and Canadian fandom. The 2012 selection committee was Terry Fong, Diane Lacey and Kevin Standlee.

CanSMOF Inc., is parent non-profit organization of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, The first scholarship was open to a Canadian citizen or resident, while the second was open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence or citizenship.

Smofcon 30 will be held Philadelphia from November 30-December 2.

GUFF Call for Nominations

[From the press release by James Shields]: GUFF is the Going Under (or Get Up and Over) Fan Fund which transports SF fans from Europe to Australasia (and vice versa). Nominations are now open for the southbound race, to transport a European fan (or fans) to Conflux, the 2013 Australian National Convention (NatCon), to be held at the Rydges Capital Hill in Barton, Canberra, on 25th to 28th April 2013. Depending on the length of trip they’re able to make, the winner could also consider attending Swancon in Perth (29th March to 1st April) and/or Au Contraire 2 in Wellington (12th to 14th July). The winner will also be required to take over the administration of the fund for the next northbound and southbound races.

If you wish to stand, please contact us at the postal or email address below. You will then need three European and two Australasian nominators (who will each need to confirm their nominations), a 100-word platform to appear on the ballot, and a bond of £15/€20/AU$25  guaranteeing to attend the 2013 Natcon if you win. If you wish to stand and are unsure about how to go about getting any of these things, what the fund pays for, or the duties of a GUFF delegate and administrator, then feel free to contact us in confidence.

Nominations are open until Thursday 11th October 2012, and candidates will be announced on Saturday 23th October at Octocon in Dublin. Voting will then run until Monday 7th January 2013, with the winner announced at GenghisCon in Perth, Western Australia on 13th January.

Nominations should be sent to james@scifi.ie or James Shields, 7 The Way, Highlands, Drogheda, IRELAND; or kylie_ding@hotmail.com, or Kylie Ding, 80A Forrest Street, FREMANTLE  WA   6160, AUSTRALIA.

Please disseminate widely.

The FAQ follows the jump.

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Ireland Wins Eurocon 2014 Bid

Eurocon 2014 will be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 22-24 — the weekend after the London Worldcon.

The bid for Ireland outpolled the rival Romanian bid 61-16. The vote took place at Kontakt, the 2012 Eurocon in Zagreb, Croatia.

The 2014 con’s name will be Shamrokon. The first two Guests of Honor to be announced are Seanan McGuire and Jim Fitzpatrick. Other names will follow.

Jim Fitzpatrick is an Irish artist and writer known for his illustration of Celtic mythology. He has written and illustrated two books re-telling Irish myths and legends, The Book of Conquests and The Silver Arm. He has produced many illustrations, including an iconic two-tone portrait of Che Guevara created in 1968, based on a photo by Alberto Korda.

Seanan McGuire is a U.S. writer of urban fantasy detective stories who also has written zombie novels under the pseudonym Mira Grant. She won the Campbell Award in 2010.

The Dublin Eurocon will be held at the Burlington Hotel. A series of travelling events for the time between the London Worldcon and the Eurocon is being planned by Dave Lally. 

James Shields reports he has already taken 30 memberships.  

[Thanks to James Bacon for the story.]

Dublin 2014: Don’t Panic

Who wants to read a fan news story with no controversy to report? We’re going to find out today, because here it is.

Irish fan and 2010 GUFF winner James Shields’ e-mail of September 8 titled “Dublin 2014” caused a momentary spell of vertigo among fans who know that’s the same year London is bidding for the Worldcon.

The dizziness passed once fans realized Shields really wants a London Worldcon. It will draw well-known authors to the U.K. who might be persuaded to attend the convention he wants Irish fans to run in Dublin the weekend afterwards. That’s what he means by Dublin 2014.

Shields is taking inspiration from Au Contraire, the New Zealand national convention he attended on the way to Aussiecon 4. “It’s interesting to note that the New Zealand NatCon the weekend before got about 150 extra attendees. (normal attendance 100 – was 250)…. Dublin is much closer to London than New Zealand is to Melbourne, so I think we could get even more visitors as a result – 300-400 attendence would seem credible.”

He emphasized, “I don’t wish to run against London, rather complement it.”

James Bacon mentioned the development to the London in 2014 Worldcon bid committee and they concluded, “No issue our end.”

See? No reason for controversy. Try not to be disappointed.

[Thanks to James Bacon for the story.]