Ever wished there was a place you could go just to check out diverse perspectives in science fiction and fantasy?
A team is currently crowdsourcing for a convention of diverse science fiction — appropriately named DiverSciFi. I had the opportunity to chat with them about their mission and their vision of the DiverSciFi convention, which is planned to take place in New York City in 2016.
Who are the team members behind DiverSciFi?
Hey Girls In Capes! First I want to thank you guys so much for having DiverSciFi on your blog for what I’m sure will be a fantastic interview!
DiverSciFi was founded by three sci-fi obsessed friends.
William Green is a father, husband, & media designer among other things. He and his wife have brought their digital designs into the real world with Camp Green Creations.
Paris (pseudonym Nova Sparks) is a science fiction author/screenwriter of the DOME trilogy which is available on Amazon.
James Crawford is also a science fiction author with his books, the Leech Series, available on Amazon as well. Together we have worked really hard to create DiverSciFi which we hope will be a welcoming platform for all in the science fiction genre.
What inspired you to launch the initiative?
What a great question! I think our biggest inspiration for launching DiverSciFi was our own lives. As you may know, we are three friends originating from three different places with three different backgrounds but we all came together in our passion for all things Science Fiction and Fantasy. Two of us are published science fiction authors and one of us is a rather talented Media Designer. It was no doubt that we would all come together to create something that we are passionate about.
But behind all that, we wanted to create something of importance, something that could impact that lives of so many other people. Each one of us have had personal struggles in our own lives and we continue to go through hardships even today. For one of us, growing up as a black little girl with a passion for writing science fiction screenplays seemed insane when she never saw anyone like her in the very genre she grew to love. For another one of us, being gay and writing science fiction seemed just as far fetched. And how hard is it to imagine a superhero battling evil and making it home just in time to kiss his wife and four little girls goodnight before bed?
We wanted to create something of importance, something that could impact that lives of so many other people.We all craved representation; not just on television and on the silver screen, but in literature and art as well. But instead of complaining about it, we decided to act on it and be the change we want to see in the world, as Gandhi has taught us. DiverSciFi was born not only from our passion and love for the world of fiction and magic, but from our desire to change the world!
Do you have a location set for the first con?
The decision of where we would like to have our first DiverSciFi con was super hard. How do you narrow down a specific place without neglecting other people? With that being said, we tried to think of a city in the United States that is 1) diverse, 2) popular with the tourists, 3) littered with resources/organizations aligned with the DiverSciFi mission.
New York City quickly came to mind, and we fell in love with the idea of having the first con take place in the city that never sleeps! Plus, one of the founding members was born, raised, and still lives there so it makes it a lot easier to set things up. Score!
We all craved representation; not just on television and on the silver screen, but in literature and art as well.As for the exact venue in New York City, that is still being worked out. We have a venue in Hell’s Kitchen in mind. Maybe Daredevil will make an appearance. (That was for you, COSPLAYERS!)
Conventions are full of totally exciting programming for creators and attendees alike. What are you most excited to have on your programming track?
Oh my goodness, we have so many ideas! What we really want to do is set up a panel of amazing guests to talk about their work and their influence in the sci-fi world of diversity. And we don’t just want to have big name celebs either. We strongly believe that the lesser known guys have a lot to say and we can definitely learn from them. We would love to have cool bloggers of sci-fi sites *cough, Girls in Capes, cough*.
In addition, we’ve spoken with a few people who are really passionate about easily accessible science fiction programming. They have developed some great sci-fi web-series. We’re planning on doing some viewings for the attendees to introduce them to the work. Our focus is to not only celebrate and encourage diversity in sci-fi, but to also promote it as well, which will mean lots of newcomers on the scene given an opportunity to have a platform at DiverSciFi. Everyone wants a chance to be seen and heard.
In addition, we will have author-signings, raffle prizes, giveaways, cosplay competitions, and a photo area to capture the memories of DiverSciFi 2015! Oh, and food… because conventions make me hungry and “I know I’m not the only one” (as sung by Sam Smith).
Our focus is to not only celebrate and encourage diversity in sci-fi, but to also promote it as well, which will mean lots of newcomers on the scene given an opportunity to have a platform at DiverSciFi. Everyone wants a chance to be seen and heard.If you could have any Guest of Honor at DiverSciFi, even someone who’s passed away, who would you invite?
I think if we could chose anyone it would be Levar Burton. I mean, what kid didn’t want to wear that visor? Or Danai Gurira because she is kick ass and beautiful. Well, any Walking Dead cast member, really, because that show is so diverse. Others? George Takai, Zachary Quinto, the kid from flash, a huge list of fantastic authors. Damn how do we limit it? This question is so unfair!
What are your goals for the fundraising campaign? What will the money go towards?
Our big goal for our fundraising campaign is to raise $30,000 within a year through donations, admission sales, and vendor space. The money that we raise will go towards finding an awesome location that will work well to accommodate all of our many attendees and the amazing people who will sell their work at DiverSciFi.
In addition, we would love to be able to have some special guests conduct a presentation of some kind and/or be a part of a panel discussion. Then there are the necessities like tables, chairs, sound equipment, official DiverSciFi apparel, on-site advertisement, and light refreshments.
Aside from the much-needed funding to get this initiative off the ground, our bigger goal is to raise awareness. Every time someone re-tweets our posts on Twitter or shares our statuses on Facebook, someone else is able to learn about not just what it is that we do and what we stand for, but about why something like DiverSciFi needs to exist.
This isn’t just a fun thing to do for us, although we are having a blast. We strongly believe that we are doing important and necessary work. Representation in media is so crucial. Whether we want to believe it or not, media is the biggest form of communication and the biggest teaching machine in the world. Given the current state of media, we are really doing a disservice to humanity if we aren’t including everyone!