Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon has opened the FANtastic Dublin Fund (FDF) to help diversify attendance and programme participation by groups including people of colour, people from marginalized communities such as Irish Travellers, people with limited financial means, and people who experience other barriers to coming to Worldcon.
Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said: “It’s incredibly important to make sure that we are as inclusive as possible and that all kinds of people have a chance to be part of our dialogues about speculative fiction and the future. We need your help in making this a Worldcon for all of us.”
To achieve its goals, the fund invites contributions, in any currency, through the FDF webpage. Fans who have bought memberships they are unable to use may gift the membership back to the FDF at any time.
The FANtastic Dublin Fund and other diversity efforts are aimed at helping several groups, in no particular order:
- Irish fans of limited financial means: Dublin 2019 will offer heavily discounted memberships to residents of Ireland and Northern Ireland who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend. Dublin 2019 will match the first 12 membership donations either purchased via FDF contributions or gifted to the FDF. People who will not be using their attending memberships are encouraged to donate them to this pool as it is most likely that local fans will be able to use them.
- Irish Traveller community: Dublin 2019 has set aside a number of memberships for members of the Irish Travellers, who are Ireland’s only indigenous ethnic minority. For more information on this group, visit Pavee Point: Traveller and Roma Center and the Irish Traveller Movement.
- People of colour: Dublin 2019 has also donated 12 memberships to Con or Bust, a non-profit organization that helps people of colour/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Additional travel-related support for fans of colour may also be available through Con or Bust.
Fans who could benefit from the FDF should consult the FDF webpage where instructions on applying for grants will be posted. Information about Con or Bust grants will be available through the Con or Bust website.
As well, the fund will help broaden programme participation, especially for participants from marginalized communities and participants of colour. Part of the funds donated to the FDF will be used to provide these participants with memberships and travel stipends. Eligible programme participants include artists, musicians, writers, publishing industry professionals, scientists, engineers, academics, and organizers from diverse communities, presenting in panel discussions, lectures, readings, performances, and other activities.
Prospective programme participants who could benefit from FDF grants should consult the FDF webpage where application instructions will be posted.
“Dublin 2019’s programme participants are highly visible members of the convention and have a direct impact on which fans choose to attend Worldcon,” convention chair James Bacon said. “It’s especially important because a Worldcon coming to town is often a member’s first experience with fandom. Diversity in areas such as background, experience, race, country of origin, socioeconomic status, language, and religion leads to a deeper and more enriching convention experience for all of our members.”
Schemes that have helped diversify participation in Worldcons include the TransAtlantic Fan Fund, begun in 1953 and the first of a number of global mobility funds; Con or Bust, which began in 2009; the FANtastic Detroit Fund, developed for Detcon1, the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention; and most recently, the Mexicanx Initiative led by John Picacio, which brought 50 Mexican creatives and fans to Worldcon 76 in San Jose.
I knew little abour Irish Travellers, save that the name of their language, Shelta Thari was borrowed by Zelazny for the language of Amber.