A League of Wonders


Posted on: July 30, 2009

One of the current challenges that CONvergence is facing is an old, familiar one: How big do we want to get?

Compared to something like San Diego Comic Con — which could fit the size of CONvergence’s membership into one room — we’re all still small stuff.   4,000 people?  That is nothing when you’re looking at 40,000- or 125,000-person events.

I’ve been looking at some of the footage from San Diego last weekend, and it’s really incredible how the one event becomes the center of the entertainment culture for a weekend.  And while it is called “Comic Con”, it really is a “geek pop culture” event.

But my experience is that size isn’t the only thing with bearing on the quality of the event. One of the values that I share in this discussion is that we are putting on participatory activities—we want to build a culture and environment where people are encouraged to engage with their passions. The community that we want to build and maintain is one of a participatory culture around our entertainment sources.   That’s true whether you are involved in some sort of cosplay or having a writing workshop.

I want to keep the traditions of our community going—so many of the events in this area are member-and-participant driven. I can’t predict the future, and I don’t know where the community will take us.

In Norse mythology, Fafnir was turned into a dragon to better protect the treasure. But the dragon is a symbol of greed in Norse mythology — and something of which to be wary. And for good reason.  Could CONvergence turn into Fafnircon?  A Dragon*Con of the north?  Is that what we want? If it is not (and I’m inclined to think it isn’t) — what are the best ways to keep our community healthy and sustainable?

One way I see of doing this is encouraging more things—CONvergence isn’t designed to be the only convention in this metro area, and for some people, it’s going to be too big, or too noisy, or too long.  As a community we have multiple events; and we spread it around the calendar year.

9 Responses to "Fafnir"

What is a post that reads mostly about CONvergence doing in a blog about multiple MN local fangroups working together?

That’s a really good question! One of the things that I believe — and some of my posts in this blog is about — is that even when we aren’t working together, we are connected in this community.

I am referring to a specific current challenge that CONvergence has at the moment because that was one I’m most familiar with. And some of these challenges are ones that pre-date CONvergence, from the 1990s and the large Minicon days.

Just my POV this current challenge is also relevant to Anime Detour :)

Thanks guys.

One of the real strengths of the community here is the variety of events and activities we have, and it grows all the time. While some may argue it is more cost efficient to run a single con like DragonCon once a year, that misses the point entirely.

If Detour or Convergence get too big for you, go start a new con more focused on what you really value. The more the merrier, I say; we’re not competing, but complementing.

And it needn’t be a convention. With a community center, we can accommodate monthly/weekly meetups, events that don’t need sleeping rooms (and therefore a hotel), and who knows what folks will come up with next.

The idea here is not to centralize, manage, or supervise the various cons in town; but to cooperate, providing resources and opportunities that none of us individually could manage.

“A Dragon*Con of the north…” Ahh, Google Alerts, you’ve been fooled once again. :)

ObTopic: At Con of the North, we’ve had occasional discussions on the “how big” topic, but from a different perspective. We’re staying about the same size every year, so our questions are more like “Do we want to grow? If so, how? If we have a how, then who will implement it?”

ObOffTopic: Many years CONvergence is too large, too noisy, and/or too long for me, even though all I’m doing is helping out in the CotN room. Not all of us are well-suited for being in a “community pool”, geeks or not. Size isn’t always the issue: my SuperCon year was much like the worst of my CONvergence years, and that was ~70 people. Ah, well.

Good luck with…whatever it is you’re trying to do here? :)


Well, that “whatever we’re trying to do here” could depend on you! =)

If you’d like to participate and help turn this into something, please do, we welcome input—in fact that’s the point. Glad Google Alerts helped bring us to your attention lol.

The size issue is an important one to talk about, not just in terms of MNSTF’s ugly experience but also in terms of why some conventions like SDCC and Otakon and DragonCon manage to succeed at doing the large convention thing while others don’t. It’s not just an issue for Convergence and Detour; it’s entirely possible that some new fandom we can’t even conceive of yet may come out of nowhere and mushroom into something that grew more rapidly than Detour. So it’s certainly something League of Wonders ought to be discussing.

I agree completely with Uberhill’s comment. If you pool the resources, experience and talent of MN fandom, some amazing things could be accomplished. Maybe even a Worldcon in 2013. *ducks*

String him up. ;)

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A League of Wonders

A league of wonders is one evolving vision of hoped-for community building. The focus here has begun as a product of Twin Cities-based fandom and geek communities. There are desires to grow this vision regionally.

Participation in this project is voluntary and is not officially endorsed at this time. Participants are also welcome to be contrary, provided they are respectful.
This lists authors who have recently made posts. Also see Contributors for a full list.

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July 2009
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