A chairman's - personal - report (only in English)
DollConDK 2018, Aarhus, Denmark
They say pride is a cardinal sin but humility is a virtue. If so, I'm a virtuous sinner and proud of it! This weekend we - Danske BJD Entusiaster - hosted the first ever doll convention - primarily for BJDs - and boy, what a con! This is a short report from the two days, reflecting on both my own experience and some of the feedback we've received so far. It's a personal evaluation.
Up until the convention we'd been working for 6 months to get it going, starting out with leasing the premises and contacting sponsors. As we went along, the convention took shape and eventually ended up being 30 hours in total. We were approx. 10 staff members.
Saturday began early at 5:38, picking up people from the northern parts of the city, as well as breakfast from McDonalds, before heading to the convention site. The two previous days we'd delivered loads of con prep stuff to one of our staff members who live in the neighbourhood of the convention site.
We had 2 hours - 8-10 - until the first artists arrived, to arrange tables and mark down the sleeping area. It all went fairly according to plan, except having to switch from our original sleeping area setup in the basement to a new one upstairs. Regardless, it worked out but we will look into improving the system next year.
People started arriving at 10-10:30 and slowly the rooms filled with con goers. Welcome speech was at 11:30.
Events were held in one room on the first floor, and the first event was the much celebrated faceup-competition. We had some trouble with announcements and mixed communication. We will definitely sort out this issue next year with better visibility. If we get an IT-supporter, we will be able to announce changes online too, but unfortunately yours truly had too much on his plate to handle online as well as irl announcements, and I sincerely apologize for the confusion it may have caused. Some people thought the doll care workshop was late when in fact no one showed up during the time the event was said to run according to the program. Trust the program, it's there to help you when we're not around!
The con is a place for everyone. With or without dolls, young and old. We will look into age appropriate areas or some form of restriction to make sure everyone can feel safe leaving their dolls without worrying about toppling over. If you experience noise or some form of worrying behaviour or activity from another con goer, let the staff know and we'll deal with your concern and convey your message in an appropriate manner to the person/people in question. Your safety and peace of mind are our priority.
Saturday rolled by and we closed the doors at 11 in the evening. We may have restrictions regarding how late you can come back in due to the noise level experienced in some parts of the sleeping area. But at the same time we also hope some of you will go out and enjoy our beautiful city!
We would have liked to cater some kind of food for breakfast, but due to restrictions for an association such as ours we couldn't. We will try and look into the possibilities, but we can't promise anything. Some people also suggested dining together in the evening, and unfortunately the same limitations apply here. There may be extra fees involved and we will evaluate this too.
Sunday was mostly centered around the award ceremony and a single panel held by yours truly about the association. We're hosting the annual general assembly on the 9th of June, and if you bought a weekend ticket, you're already a member of the association and therefore automatically invited! At the general assembly you can share ideas, concerns and maybe sign up to help us. We have a central base here in Aarhus, but we'd like some ambassadors around the country as well to host local meets and come help us when it's time for the next DollCon. You don't have to be a board member to suggest changes or ideas, but the decisions lie with us ultimately.
We tried to offer both English and Danish information ahead of the convention, and we're very sorry that we only a week before the con got a separate English website instead of the additional English on the Danish site, BUT we simply couldn't afford it until then. However, merely having the need to provide English information was a pretty sure-fire way of telling us that we can attract an international audience and not just a Danish one.
We've had HUGE support from our world-wide sponsors, whove generously donated so many amazing gifts to us. We could not have done this without them! They were the ultimate bearings, pillars and foundation upon which we were able to design, shape and built our convention, and we sincerely hope to have the same - if not more? - backing next year.
If you have sponsor suggestions OR you'd like to sponsor us, let us know! We love supporting both the companies and the independent artists in this hobby <3
The award ceremony started at 12:15-ish Sunday, and was done in 1½ hour which was WAY faster than any of the staff members had expected, due to the sheer volume of raffle prizes which needed to be picked after the announcement of the competition winners. A resounding congratulations to all our winners and the lucky raffle participants!
After that we slowly started disassembling 6 months worth of work. I hope some of you took your time to talk to our sweet local news reporter, Henrik Brylle from Aarhus Lokal TV, who came out - a bit late - to find out more about us and our hobby.
We will be checking up on everyone who've sold items in our B'n'B and also start ticket refunds to our gophers. If you haven't heard back from us before the 16th of April, contact us and we'll find out what's been going on.
I hope you all had a great experience. I can safely say that I'm looking forward to next year already and I'm so grateful for everyone's support and kind words and love for what we've managed to create. It is such a victory for me, personally too, as a person with heavy mental illnesses, to be able to bring something like this to life. A lof of ideas and inspiration has awakened the passion in me to go further and do more and challenge my own limitations.
If we don't see you in June, we'll see you next spring at DollConDK19!
- Gabriel Alex Kielland-Brandt