The Memphis in 2023 Worldcon bid chairs Kate Secor and Cliff Dunn have posted a statement about their plans for averting some of the high profile controversies that overshadowed the recently completed Worldcon: “Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion”. The full statement is at the link.
Given recent circumstances, now that CoNZealand has (officially) closed we feel that a well-though-out response is merited to questions asked of us over the last few days. We have chosen this format to try and respond in full; to quote a mutual friend, you can’t tweet nuance.
RETRO HUGOS. The 2023 Worldcon will have the choice to award the 1948 Retro Hugos; Memphis won’t exercise that option.
The easiest question to answer is whether or not we intend to run Retro Hugo Awards: No, we do not. While we understand that some family members very much appreciate getting Hugos for the work their parents (or grandparents) did, the reaction to the Retros has been increasingly mixed. On balance, we therefore believe it is time to move on from these, at least for the time being.
CODE OF CONDUCT. The Memphis bidders describe ways they would use their Code of Conduct as part of their answer to the question, “What do you intend to do to make marginalized people comfortable at your convention?”
Beyond communicating the Code of Conduct to staff, panelists, emcees and guests of honor, they say —
…Most importantly, for major speakers and guests (e.g., ToastPerson for the Hugos, and Guests of Honor), we intend to have a serious discussion with them well in advance of their events to ensure that they are comfortable with the Code of Conduct and that any questions are answered. We will do our best to vet any remarks which are to be delivered at major convention events in advance.
More to the point, if we cannot come to an understanding with a guest or speaker regarding the Code of Conduct, then we will not put that guest in a position where they feel they cannot comply with it. If we are sent an advance recording of non-compliant remarks, we will either edit them, or we simply won’t run the remarks.
As to “live” material –
…While we intend to be proactive (see above), we know that the odds are good that we will have to respond. So we intend to communicate the consequences for breaking the Code of Conduct as well. These may include, depending on the exact circumstances (i.e. seriousness of the breach, whether it was or seems to be premeditated, etc.), anything from a reprimand, to the premature termination of a speaking opportunity, to removal from programming and/or the convention.
PROGRAMMING. Doubtless with the “Statement of 2020 Hugo Finalists re: Worldcon Programming” and similar criticisms in mind, Secor and Dunn also say —
We intend to be as proactive and attentive as we can be regarding the makeup of panels and making sure that panelists are not “miscast” out of the blue or placed with people they know they do not get along with. We will also do our best to ensure that a broad range of topics are covered, and to work with various marginalized groups to ensure that their views are represented.
Memphis, TN (USA) and Chengdu, China are the two declared bids to host the 2023 Worldcon.