Statement Regarding the Previous Stance on the Conpulsion Logo Competition

This statement is regarding our stance on 7 April regarding the exclusion of the entry ‘Feminism’ from the Conpulsion Logo Competition. We would like to apologise sincerely for the errors of judgment in the way the Conpulsion committee decided to remove the entry, and the way the GEAS Committee handled the situation afterwards. We had not fully understood the consequences our decision would have on members of our community.

The GEAS committee realises that as a gaming convention, Conpulsion has a responsibility towards the community, and that our actions are part of a broader context of a culture and industry where women, non-binary people, LGBT+ people, and people of colour are excluded or harassed. This means that we as an institution have to make further efforts to include these groups and validate their experiences. We regret that by being deliberately neutral on the question of equality our actions failed to do so, and instead contributed to their exclusion. We will strive to ensure that this does not happen again. We wish to work with them to rectify this, and we welcome any feedback to help us do better.

We acknowledge that having ‘Feminism’ as a convention theme would have been a much-needed step forward for conversations around representation. Unfortunately, having considered our current options carefully, we feel that it would not be viable because giving it such prominence in our convention masthead risks drawing widespread, public backlash and attacks at the event from people in the hobby who are openly hostile to equality, and the scale of such backlash would overwhelm the limited resources and skills we have as a small, student-run charity convention. This is not a justification for our earlier decision to exclude it, but a practical constraint on what we can and cannot achieve within our limited means: we deeply regret that this is the state of affairs, but we simply cannot afford the police protection that we would need to hire as a precautionary measure.

However, regardless of the theme and available resources, we will take a feminist perspective in how we run the event and we will address the structural issues of discrimination at an institutional scale within our capacity. We commit to ensuring that GEAS and Conpulsion will always be inclusive and safe spaces for people from marginalised groups, and that their experiences will be validated and welcome. We have already enacted some initiatives in previous years — for example a robust harassment policy to protect members of the community from the aforementioned discrimination and hostility, and a panel on the ‘death of the gamer stereotype’ to spotlight discussions of equality and diversity — and we would like to build on these going forward and strive for institutional change.

To these ends, GEAS will take greater oversight to ensure that the organisers of Conpulsion and the GEAS committee going forward are sensitive to these concerns, actively work towards addressing them, and that they take responsibility for their actions and their consequences. We are currently reaching out to local organisations that work for gender equality with the intent of collaborating with them to learn more about issues relating to structural inequality and inclusion, and to develop our skills when addressing these issues within the gaming community; we will also select this organisation as our partner charity to support at next year’s convention. We will provide more information once we confirm the details. We will also organise events that spotlight feminism and the role of women, non-binary people, and LGBT+ people in gaming, so that we validate the voices and perspectives that the theme of Feminism sought to amplify. And whatever the theme for the convention, we will prioritise intersectionality and inclusion in the programming, organisation and communications for Conpulsion.

It is with great humility that we thank the members of our community for their patience and continued support, and we wish to reciprocate this by reassuring them that they are welcome at Conpulsion, their voices are valued, and that we are working towards making them included within the community.

Emily Booth, GEAS President

And the GEAS Committee

If you would like to get in touch with the GEAS Committee regarding our statement or our position, or with any feedback, please feel free to email geas.committee@gmail.com

If you have been affected by these issues or have any concerns pertaining to equality and welfare, please contact our Wellbeing Officer via email at geas.welfare@gmail.com or via our anonymous form on our Tumblr http://geaswelfare.tumblr.com/

Logo competition statement

It has been brought to our attention that there has been concern towards the decision to not place one of the submissions for the Conpulsion 2019 Logo Contest in the public voting stage. Amongst other entries, Conpulsion Feminism did not make the public voting stage. We have realised that this decision has upset some of our society members and con attenders, so we would like to explain the reasoning behind our decision.

GEAS has always strived to be an open, welcoming society where everyone and anyone who loves roleplaying can come together to make friends and have fun. In order to keep our society as open as possible, we have taken the stance of an apolitical society, to ensure that no one feels excluded or unwelcome because of their political beliefs. We want our events to represent this as well, so we strive to ensure Conpulsion is apolitical also.

Concerns were raised that if Feminism were to win the logo contest, GEAS and Conpulsion would be forced into taking what could be interpreted as a political stance, which may make some of our members feel unwelcome, and may make otherwise interested convention attenders feel unwanted, if their political views did not align with this perceivable political stance.

We feared the theme of Feminism would appear against our apolitical position as a society, so we decided it was best that Feminism did not make the public voting stage of the competition. This is a decision we would make for any logo submission that appears to make a political statement. We apologise for any upset this decision has caused; it was not our intention.  

With respect,

Emily Booth

GEAS President

Conpulsion is coming!

Proudly brought to you by GEAS, the University of Edinburgh’s roleplaying society, it’s …
Conpulsion 2019!

Yes, Conpulsion, Scotland’s oldest and best (we confidently claim) gaming convention, is back for its 32nd or 24th year running, depending on when you count from (it’s old, is what I’m saying things get complicated when they’re that old).  This year it will be more hardcore and spooooooky than ever, as the theme is Death.

So join us at Teviot Row House, Edinburgh, Scotland, for a phantasmagorical weekend of all your favourite nerdy things, including:

– Role Playing
– Board Games
– Traders
– War Gaming
– LARPs
– Auctions
– Panels
– A Pub Quiz
– And much more!

Not only that, but all of the convention profits will go to a local charity!

So keep an eye out here and our Facebook for updates and where to buy tickets once tickets have been released.

There’s a Facebook event for it too!