Casey Blair (@CaseyLBlair)
I’ve given presentations, run roundtables, and moderated panels at Sirens. I was sort of terrified before running my first panel—I’d never moderated before, and I didn’t really know most of the brilliant women who’d agreed to be panelists—and the Sirens staff was fabulous. They were available when I was figuring out whether and how to propose the panel at all, and when I was jittery before the event itself they were ready with encouragement, distraction by book recommendation (the Sirens bookstore is a dangerous place), and calm reminders of the “just breathe, you’re fine” variety as necessary.
The great thing about programming at Sirens is that people attend because they’re actively interested. If you run a roundtable, you will have no trouble getting audience participation—and they’ll blow through easy questions. I love the opportunity to generate discussions on questions I have no easy answers for, because Sirens have so many thoughtful opinions. They’ll ask insightful questions about presentations and challenge panelists. While I think it’s important to stay generally on topic, trust the audience and panelists to move the conversation forward and adapt with them, because Sirens attendees are sharp.
s.e. smith (@realsesmith)
Sirens is absolutely my favourite con when it comes to paneling. My co-panelists are always super-involved and engaged, as is the audience, and it’s wonderful to have a chance to collaborate with guests of honour on panels, which isn’t always possible at larger cons. The broad format also leaves considerable room for opening up panels to conversations that don’t happen in other spaces, especially for marginalized people who might not feel safe at big cons. I’ve paneled on everything from religion to Katniss’ hair, and loved every minute of it.
Sherwood Smith (@sherwood_smith)
I was delighted by the enthusiasm of a packed room who wanted to hear the history of fan language drawn from a number of world cultures. Then everyone got into the fun of putting together skits demonstrating fan language, and guessing the coded meanings. The only con at which I consistently have that much fun with other creative smart people has always been Sirens.
Edith Hope Bishop (@ehbishop)
I found presenting at Sirens to be a warm and welcoming experience. I was nervous, yes, but the Sirens staff and volunteers worked extremely hard to make sure I had everything I needed. They helped connect me with people who ultimately made our panel on mothers and self actualization a success.