BiCon comes to London
BCN talks to Marcus Morgan,head of the BiCon
2003 organising team.
BCN: First of all, it’s London. Everyone knows London is an expensive place so why bring BiCon there?
The last big BiCon was the Manchester one in 2000, which had IBC6 to swell its ranks. Since then BiCon has been smaller, and we felt it was time to get more people to BiCon again. To have new faces arrive for the first time and see what the BiCon magic was like and tempt some of the old hands around the capital into popping in again.
We realised that the best way to get new people to BiCon was to hold it somewhere where they could come as day attendees. The cost does put people off, though we have tried to make it financially accessible, and one of the larger factors in that cost is the accommodation. To an outsider unsure if they’ll enjoy the event the idea of saving some money and being able to take the tube home to their own bed will, we hope, encourage many to come along.
Do you have many new people coming this year?
Yes. At the time of writing (the end of July – Ed) we’ve got 175 people pre-registered and over a quarter of those are first timers. Consequently we’ve made sure there’s going to be a lot of events programmed for people new to the community – both social events to allow them to get into the swing and discussions on the various issues that we all confront when we start identifying as bisexual.
Where did you find them all?
We’ve made quite an effort to get the idea of BiCon out to as many people as possible – we’ve sent flyers to every gay pub, club and shop in Britain and to every single Students Union. It may be that not everyone who sees our marketing and thinks “Wow, I should go to that” will come along this year, but
hopefully it’ll provide us with an influx for years to come.
You mentioned ‘financial accessibility’ – how accessible is this year?
Financially the registration prices compare quite favourably with previous BiCons, given that London is always going to be pricier. The Helping Hand Fund has worked wonders for thepeople who still couldn’t afford to come. In terms of helping our disabled attendees we’ve organised all the daytime sessions and evening entertainment in rooms with level access. We’re going to have large print programme booklets
available on the day too.
Previously BiCon’s had a “Hardship Fund” – this year it’s a “Helping Hand Fund” – is the new name helping?
Very much so. Changing the name has enabled people to see it as being a request for assistance rather than a plea for charity – the old name was too austere. In total we’ve been able to offer financial assistance to over 30 people, which is marvellous.
There’s a lot of people on your committee too – has this helped?
Yes. Oh god yes! Eleven people doing the work means that some can be given set areas and concentrate on just those, and everyone knows where their responsibilities begin and end. Of course, we’re not a committee, we’re a team – so although we can discover there are areas where we all have conflicting ideas or opinions we don’t get bogged down with voting.