Symposium 2017 Feedback Report

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After a week’s worth of responses to our 2017 Symposium Feedback Poll, we now have a pretty good feel for what you enjoyed about the convention, and ways that we can make it even better for 2018.

Most people thought that Symposium tickets were reasonably priced; only a couple of responses thought that the tickets were too expensive, but a handful of people also thought that ticket prices were cheaper than they had expected.

The "30 Years of Steampunk" exhibit. Photo by Lee Spellman.

The “30 Years of Steampunk” exhibit. Photo by Lee Spellman.

While people liked the atmosphere of the 2017 Symposium, several people missed the more immersive quality of past Symposiums. Admittedly the 2017 Symposium eased off on the theme in order to have general Steampunk as its theme with the 30 year retrospective, but the fun returns for 2018 with Steampunk Superheroes & Villains.

General ratings for the host hotel were not favorable, and complaints about the hotel seemed to be the biggest gripe that people wished to express. Over the last five years, we have now hosted a total of four conventions at this hotel and have had great experiences in the past, but this year the hotel did seem hit by several problems that we had not seen there before. We have shared feedback with the hotel to help them resolve these problems, but as you will have seen, the 2018 Symposium is moving to the Ramada Plaza. The Ramada was actually the location for the 2013 Symposium, but in its second year the show wasn’t yet big enough to fill the larger space; five years later, however, we will totally take over that hotel 🙂

People liked the selection of vendors we had this year, but there were mixed feelings about the room vending. While many liked the “town” feeling that it gave, the overall consensus was to return to a traditional vendor hall . . . which is exactly what we’re doing for 2018.

Attendees were very pleased with the entertainment program, and it looks like many of you would like to see Aurelio Voltaire come back to another Symposium. A surprisingly large number of responses also expressed a willingness to pay an additional ticket for bands if we were to bring in some of the “big names” of Steampunk music; we are currently looking into this, and in the near future will have polls regarding which bands you would like to see at the Symposium.

The panels, workshops, and Steampunk Olympics continue to be popular, and we have noted requests for which ones you would like to see more of. Our guest authors this year got a lot of positive feedback; attendees really appreciated getting to see K.W. Jeter, Cherie Priest, and the vast array of creative talent giving talks and writing workshops. The hands on maker workshops were popular and new special guest Joey Marsocci (AKA Dr. Grymm) was a hit with many who took the survey. Due to popular demand, and that he’s a tip-top chap, Joey will be returning in 2018 with even more projects for you to build.

Electronics workshop. Photo by Lee Spellman.

Electronics workshop. Photo by Lee Spellman.

For next year’s Symposium, we aim to have more “hands on” workshops available for you to learn how to make and craft Steampunk props and costume pieces. A large number of people who took the survey expressed a willingness to pay an extra fee to cover materials for some of these workshops. We are looking into this option, but will also keep enough knowledge based workshops that do not involve an additional cost. There have also been requests for more history based panels, more costuming workshops, more tabletop gaming, and other things to which we are making notes and plotting 🙂

One of the biggest complaints that we have heard at the Symposium since its first year in 2012 is that there is “too much going on” at a given time. We appreciate that this can be frustrating, but we also take that as a compliment. To answer this concern, however, this year we did some experiments with the schedule that we feel went very well; the panels and workshops that we predicted would be popular were actually held on both Saturday and Sunday at the same times so that people would have a second opportunity to see them if there was a scheduling conflict. Also, as per many people suggesting in previous years, we made a scheduling break on Saturday from 6PM to 7PM so that people could get dinner, make those evening costume changes, or just simply have some down time. We feel that both of these ideas worked out well in 2017, and plan to utilize these ideas in 2018 as well.

This month we are working on new things for the Steampunk Symposium website, and come June 1st, 2017, look out for the start of some exciting announcements for the 2018 Symposium as we set the countdown clock for fun with Steampunk Superheroes & Villains!

ISS2018 Poster 032917

 

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