These are the guidelines for future BiCon organisers which were passed (unanimously!) at the plenary of BiCon 16 in Cambridge, September 1998. They are likely to be of more interest to activists and organisers. If you just want to find out about future BiCons, go back to the BiCon home page. For those of you that are interested, I've added a few explanatory notes to the main document. Most of the explanations are things I've already said at BiCon, but I didn't want the main guidelines growing any more...

BiCon Guidelines

These guidelines define what BiCon should be and what BiCon organisers are expected to do. If organisers feel they can't fulfill any of these requirements, or want to change them, they should say so when they volunteer to run the event at a BiCon plenary.

  1. What BiCon is and what it should contain
    1. BiCon is the UK national bisexual conference or convention. (We're bored of arguing about which.)
    2. BiCon should be open to all bisexuals, their friends and allies, and anyone with a positive interest in bisexuality.
    3. BiCon is run by volunteers, and should ideally be run by a different set of people and in a different place, from year to year.
    4. Groups running BiCon may be of any structure, but should be explicit about how they are organised. [1]
    5. BiCon should happen annually, generally between June and October and should be at least a two day event, including a Saturday. [2]
    6. BiCon should contain at least one plenary at which decisions about future BiCons can be made. [3]
    7. BiCon should contain at least one programme stream of workshops/sessions, where smaller groups of people can participate. Workshops should largely be run by volunteers from the bi community, and BiCon should never be taken over by professional speakers or facilitators. [4]
    8. No national or local bisexual group or organisation should be denied the opportunity to run a session (ideally no-one should be denied this, but there may well be a lack of space or time).
    9. There should be at least one party or social. Ideally there should be social events throughout BiCon.
    10. It should be possible for people from the bi community to sell their own bi related materials (zines, t-shirts, badges etc). [5]
    11. Deadlines should be made clear. Ideally extra space should be provided for last minute items.
    12. There should be chill out space. [6]
  2. Access and anti discrimination issues
    1. BiCon should allow women only or men only workshops, although it is not obliged to provide them if there are no offers.
    2. BiCon should accept transgender people as being on their chosen gender, this includes any single gender events. [7]
    3. BiCon should have an anti harassment policy. People who persistently harass others for any reason including sexually, racially, or on the grounds of sexuality, should be required to leave.
    4. BiCon should be made accessible as possible to people on low incomes by means including a variable price scheme/sliding scale.
    5. BiCon literature should give a clear description of the level of disabled access available, and provision for people with disabilities should be a major consideration.
    6. BiCon should do its best to be accessible to parents of young children by providing child care facilities.
  3. Financial
    1. BiCon should produce detailed accounts within three months after the event. These should be published and be made readily available to interested parties. [8]
    2. If BiCon makes a surplus, this should be passed on to future BiCon organisers. If the surplus reaches a higher total than is needed to run the next BiCon it should be donated to other appropriate organisations. Decisions about donations should be made at a BiCon plenary. [9]
  4. Feedback and decision making
    1. There should be ample opportunity for attendees to give their views of BiCon. There should be a feedback form for the benefit of attendees and future BiCon organisers. [10]
    2. Decisions about who should run future BiCons, Bicon surpluses, and any changes to these guidelines should be made at a BiCon plenary.
    3. Plenaries should be minuted and the results reported in BCN and on uk.bi (or their equivalents) and be readily available. Where it impossible to keep such decisions for BiCon they should be put up for discussion in these forums. [11]

Passed at BiCon 16 final plenary: 6th September 1998


[1] For instance previous BiCons have been run by collectives, by a core group with helpers, and by dictatorships with helpers.

[2] For the last nine years BiCon has been a three day event. Generally on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday, but once on Saturday/Sunday/Monday (on a bank holiday) and once on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday (because it was in a Methodist Hall). Anyone wanting to run an event of longer than three days (plus early events the previous evening) should check with a BiCon plenary.

[3] Traditionally decisions have been made at the final plenary, but it has been pointed out that this is often too late for people who need to catch the last train home. There is also a lot to be said for ending on a positive note, with a closing ceremony of some kind, so an earlier decision making plenary would be very welcome.

[4] We do mean taken over. Professionals are very welcome to run workshops, appear on panels etc, though we should think hard before paying them unless we can afford to pay all our facilitators, but we don't want, for instance, HEA to say 'here is ten thousand pounds, now you have to do it our way'. Not that that's terribly likely...

[5] That doesn't mean BiCon organisers are obliged to sell things for people - that would be far too much work. Anyone wanting to sell anything should be prepared to at least work a shift on the merchandise stall. BiCon will not normally be liable for stolen or mislaid merchandise (though we've usually managed to make the figures add up.

[6] Chill out space in any space where BiCon attendees can sit down outside of organised sessions. This includes a bar, cafe or lobby (if it has enough seats), but should preferably be for BiCon only.

[7] Transgender has been defined in slightly different ways by different BiCons. This clause is mainly meant to cover people who are living as their chosen gender.

[8] Readily available means that copies should be sent out on request and on receipt of an SAE.

[9] BiCons are not obliged to budget to keep the whole of any surplus that they are given, but they should bear in mind that venues these days are asking for deposits in the order of 2000, and should try and leave enough for future organisers to pay a deposit.

[10] In 1999 we will be putting forward the additional guideline that organisers should write a short report for future organisers. BiCon 1999 has undertaken to do this.

[11] We don't mean that all plenaries should be written down in detail, but all decisions should be recorded, along with any significant opposition.