2017 Natcon BM minutes
This article includes the minutes of the Business Meeting of the 56th National Australian SF Convention (the Natcon in 2017), which took place at Continuum 13 in Melbourne, in the Fallout Zone Room of The Jasper Hotel, 489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000, at 17.00pm, Sunday, 11 June, 2017.
An agenda was produced, circulated to various email lists and made available to attendees.
Chair: Peter Lyons
Minute taker: P R Khangure (PRK)
Present: Peter Lyons, P R Khangure (PRK), Grant Watson, Bill Wright, Lync, Jack Bridges, Bell McQuattie, Brianna Flynn, Fe Waters, Emilly McLeay, and Bruce Gillespie.
Meeting opened at 17:07pm, 11/06/2017
0. Grant Watson moved that standing orders be suspended to carry out site selection. Seconded Emilly McLeay, carried.
1. Site Selection for the 2018 National Convention
Jack Bridges bid as Convenor of Swancon 2018, theme of Transformation. Professional Guests of Honour Kameron Hurley & Ryan J Griffen. To be held at the Pan Pacific the Easter long weekend in 29 March - 2nd April 2017. Awards coordinator selected (Frames White) to handle the Ditmar Awards.
Grant Watson spoke to the convention running experience of the Swancon committee.
Lync moved Swancon 2018 be appointed the 57th National Science Fiction Convention, Bill Wright seconded. Carried unanimously.
2. Site Selection for the 2019 National Convention
Grant Watson presented a bid on behalf of Swancon 2019 - The Future is Now. To be held in the first half of 2019, date not set yet, venue to be determined, guests will be named at the launch, but aiming for diversity. Aiming for strong academic programme.
Bell McQuattie presented a bid on behalf of Continuum 15 - Otherworlds. One guest confirmed, a second to be invited, guests will be announced until launch. Queens Birthday weekend 2019.
Vote held by secret ballot, Emilly McLeay scrutineered. Continuum 15 declared winner, 6 - 3.
Fe Waters moved that Continuum 15 be appointed the 58th National Science Fiction Convention, Grant seconded. Carried unanimously.
Standing order resumed.
3. Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting.
Grant Watson moved that confirmation of the 2015 minutes be moved to the 2018 BM. Belle McQuattie seconded. Carried unanimously.
4. Business arising from the Previous Meeting.
Pending confirmation of the previous meeting minutes, to be carried forward to the 2018 BM.
5. Natcon Standing Committee Report
Has not done a lot of work since the last business meeting. Have not provided a procedure to allow a Ditmar nominee to withdraw.
Has provided Ditmar assistance.
PRK noted that we had a request from a nominee to withdraw, and the subcommittee accepted that, despite not having a formal procedure.
6. Ditmar Subcommittee Report
While nominations were down in 2016, they were still relatively healthy. Still, it would be good to know what we did in 2015 that didn't happen in 2016. Worryingly, the trend in voting has continued downwards.
The conclusions for 2017 are very much the same as for the 2016 report. Nominations were down again this year, which is a worrying trend. While this is a perennial problem, it is something that needs to be addressed. While the downtrend in voting has at least temporarily stabilized, it is still much lower than desirable.
One thing of note is that we no longer have a member of the Standing Committee who is a member of the majority of the Australian SF mailing lists. This restricted the dissemination of the call for nominations. Next time, we should attempt to contact the list maintainers earlier and make arrangements for announcements to be posted.
Multiple announcements went out using Twitter, and these seemed to garner some attention. However, little use was made of other mechanisms, such as Facebook. More use of social media could prove helpful in drawing attention to the awards.
Finally, we would like to thank Jeremy Byrne for providing access to the online systems used for administering the Ditmars.
Discussion about dwindling nominations and methods of getting the word out further and wider. Timeline to push for people to think about nominations.
Query about how to tell who is active in fandom to be eligible to nominate.
Suggestion to change the nomination form from "please list a person" to "please list one or two fandom communities or conventions that you participate in." Generally agreed.
Motion to thank Jeremy for maintaining the Ditmar voting systems, accepted by acclaim.
7. Convention Reports
a. 2015 – Swancon 40 - PRK reported on Swancon 40 being successful, Ditmars were held.
b. 2016 – Contact 2016 - No report received.
c. 2017 - Continuum 13 - Belle reported on Continuum 13 going well, lots of positive feedback, Ditmars to be held tonight.
8. Selection of the Standing Committee.
Peter Lyons nominated. David Cake nominated. PRK nominated.
Emilly McLeay moved to accept the three nominations. Grant Watson seconded. Carried.
9. Motions on Notice.
Peter temporarily steps down as Chair, Grant moves that Jack Bridges step up as Chair. Fe seconds. Carried.
That in 3.11 of the rules, all occurrences of "recognised award" be replaced with "national or international award",
so that 3.11 reads:
3.11 New Talent: This award recognises excellence of achievement in any field of the genre by an individual who has never been nominated for a national or international award, or has only been nominated for a national or international award in one or both of the two calendar years prior to the year for which they are a Best New Talent nominee. Recognized awards include but are not limited to: Australian SF ("Ditmar"), Aurealis, Hugo and Nebula Awards. Once nominated, an individual may only be nominated once more, in the year following the first nomination.
Proposed: Peter Lyons
Discussion: Previously it has been enough to be nominated for a local convention award (such as the Chronos or the Tin Duck) to eventually disqualify you from a New Talent nomination. This serves to eliminate potential awardees before they have gained sufficient recognition to receive nominations for the Ditmars.
Lync: Nominated 5 years ago, not new talent.
Jack: Nominated in different categories.
Grant: Won amateur Tin Ducks, but not professional awards.
Emilly: This motion doesn't solve this problem. Doesn't specify category of the nomination. If we're talking different categories, needs different motion.
Belle: Re-word the motion to specify fan or category.
Peter: Best New Talent is neither fan, nor profession category, could be either.
Bill: Fandom is a community of cheerful anarchists and we shouldn't try and micromanage. Let's not be over bureaucratic.
PRK: Queried wording, Peter amended that last instance of "recognised awards" was also "National or International awards." Amendment accepted.
Peter Lyons moved that in 3.11 of the rules, all occurrences of "recognised award" be replaced with "national or international award",
so that 3.11 reads:
3.11 New Talent: This award recognises excellence of achievement in any field of the genre by an individual who has never been nominated for a national or international award, or has only been nominated for a national or international award in one or both of the two calendar years prior to the year for which they are a Best New Talent nominee. National or international awards include but are not limited to: Australian SF ("Ditmar"), Aurealis, Hugo and Nebula Awards. Once nominated, an individual may only be nominated once more, in the year following the first nomination.
Motion seconded by Belle McQuattie. Motion carried.
Jack Bridges stepped down as Chair, Peter Lyons resumed.
10. General Business.
Jack Bridges queried desirable time for Natcon Business Meetings. Meeting was generally in favour of late afternoon meetings.
Meeting closed at 18:08pm.