QGCon 2017 Speaker Information FAQ

1. Where is QGCon?

The 2017 Queerness and Games Conference is being held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Please note that this represents a change of location from past QGCons, which have been held in Berkeley.

All conference events and sessions will take place on USC’s main campus, in the SCI building of the School of Cinematic Arts Complex. The SCI building is the home of the Interactive Media & Games Division, which is generously hosting this year’s QGCon.


University of Southern California – located in Los Angeles, CA 90007 (Click to enlarge)

SCI building highlighted in red – Available Parking Structures highlighted in green (Click to enlarge)


2. When is QGCon? 

QGCon is taking place on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2, 2017. Please note that this represents a shift in timing from past QGCons, which have been held in the fall.

Though the official conference schedule has not yet been released, sessions and events will run from approximately 9:00 am on Saturday, 4/1 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, 4/2. On Friday evening, 3/31, there will be a speakers’ social event, which you and a plus-one* are officially invited to attend! On Saturday evening, 4/1 there will also be a social event, open to all conference attendees.


3. When will I find out what day/time I’m speaking?

A draft of the conference schedule will be available in mid- to late-January. If you have any immovable conflicts or time constraints that will affect when you can present, please notify the organizers as soon as possible. We will do our best to accommodate you.


4. When will I find out what panel I’m speaking on?

If you are giving a 20-minute talk (and you did not apply as part of a pre-constituted panel), the organizers will be placing you on a panel with two other speakers and a moderator. You will receive information about your panel in mid- to late-January, along with the schedule draft.

Once your panel has been finalized, you will be put in touch with your panel’s moderator, who will coordinate the logistics of your session.


5. Do I need to register?

Yes, all attendees are required to register — including speakers. Registering is important because it lets us know you’re coming and helps us get an accurate sense of how many people to expect at the event. If you will be attending the event with partners, friends, colleagues, etc., please be sure to let them know that they will need to register as well.

Registration is now open! You can register for QGCon 2017 here.


6. If I’m a speaker, is there a cost to register?

Yes and no. Let us explain…

QGCon is all about bringing people together from across academia and industry, and this is one of those places where academia and industry do things differently. At industry events, speakers almost always get in for free. At academic events, they pay for registration. We recognize the value of both ways of operating and we thank you for being open-minded about how we’re running our registration.

In 2017, we’re trying a new approach. QGCon is a bootstrapped operation, and our budget is especially tight this year because want to do a better job of offering travel funding for speakers. That means we need help from our community. So we took inspiration from other diversity-focused games conferences and decided on a tiered ticket model.

The tiered ticket model allows you to pay what you feel is fair and right for you. Some people receive conference funding from their universities or corporations and already have registration costs figured into their budget; others are generously looking for a way to lend support. But there are also lots of folks for whom money is tight. That’s why we offer discounted and even entirely free tickets. It’s your choice which ticket tier to pick. All registered attendees get the same access to the conference. Paying more or less doesn’t affect your experience at the event.

So “yes,” if you are able, we kindly request that you contribute through your registration. But if that’s not right for you, then “no,” you don’t have to. Simply register for a “scholarship ticket” and you’ll be all set.


7. How do I get to QGCon?

QGCon 2017 is taking place on the main campus of USC, which is close to downtown Los Angeles.

If you are flying to the event, LAX is the main airport that services the Los Angeles area, but you may also want to look into the Bob Hope airport (just north of LA) and the Long Beach airport (just south of LA).

USC is conveniently located on the Expo Line, a public transit light rail line that runs from Santa Monica and through Culver City. This is a great option for getting to campus, especially if you are staying in the Culver City or Santa Monica areas. Ride-sharing services are also commonly used in Los Angeles, and (depending on your budget) may be a good choice for getting to and from the conference.


Expo Line Map

Parking at USC is available, but it can be tricky. Street parking is limited; watch out for meters and time limits. Two parking lots on campus (PSX and PSD) offer paid garage parking for $12 a day. There is also an off-campus USC parking structure a short walk from campus ($10 a day) and a handful of other private lots nearby. Please see the USC Campus map for parking structure

A number of public bus lines also service the USC campus — though, if you are planning on taking the bus, it is worth leaving extra time, as traffic and other factors can make the bus schedule unreliable.

Pre-paid on-campus parking permits may be available for speakers. More information about parking passes will be available closer to the event.


8. What about accommodations? Where should I stay?

Because hotels near the USC are pricey, there is no official QGCon conference hotel or room block. However, there are a number of alternative options in the LA area.

For those with flexibility in their budgets, the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Midtown is conveniently located right across the street from the USC campus. There are also traditional chain hotels in downtown Los Angeles, which is a short car ride away from USC.

Speakers and attendees looking for a more cost-effective option might want to investigate AirBnB rentals. USC is located along the Expo Line, a light rail public transit line that runs west through Culver City and (now) all the way to Santa Monica. Accommodations located near Expo Line stops may give you easier access to the conference.

QGCon also offers speaker the opportunity to participate in a “homestay” program. More information on the homestay program is available below.


9. Does QGCon offer assistance to help speakers with the cost of travel?

While QGCon is unable to cover the cost of travel for all of our speakers (we wish we could!), we do offer a limited number of grants for those traveling to the conference from outside Southern California. For information about how to apply, please follow this link.

In addition, QGCon also offers a “homestay” program that pairs speakers with local community members in order to provide them with a place to stay at no cost. For information about registering for the home stay program, please follow this link.


10. Is the conference building accessible for those with disabilities?

The conference building is wheelchair accessible. There are elevators and the entry doors are at ground level. Whenever possible, amplification will be used for presentations, to ensure that all attendees can hear the speakers.


11. Are there any speaker specific events?

Yes, there is a speaker and volunteer reception in the evening on Friday, March 31st. More details on the reception will be available soon, but we suspect is will run from approximately 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm in the evening. Information regarding RSVPs will be available closer to the event. Plus-ones are welcome.*


12. It’s my first time presenting at QGCon. What’s the tone?

Oh hey, welcome! QGCon is a diverse event, and though the tone is professional, it’s also fun and dynamic. We encourage you to dress, act, and share your ideas in whatever way you feel most comfortable.

Because QGCon speakers come from many different backgrounds, they also have different ways of presenting. That’s great — but also, remember that your audience will not all share the same expertise as you, so it’s important to make your talk accessible and engaging even when you’re presenting your most brilliant, nuanced ideas.


13. Should I provide content warnings in my talk?

There’s no one easy answer for what material attendees will feel comfortable with and what material might be triggering. If your presentation includes images or language that might be upsetting to those who have suffered from experiences of violence, abuse, self-harm, or hate speech (to name a few considerations), we recommend providing content warnings at the beginning of your presentation so that attendees can decide whether your talk is right for them. We will also be reaching out to you closer to the event to ask about potentially triggering content in your talks, so we can give attendees heads-up in the program.

In addition, we recommend watching out for problematic images or language in your presentation that might not be necessary to convey your meaning. Presenting challenging material is important and impactful, but self-awareness is also key.


14. Do I need to bring my own computer? What equipment will be provided?

Yes, unless you have made specific arrangements with the organizers or your panel moderator, please bring your own laptop for showing slides, videos, etc. Standard Mac and PC adaptors will be provided, but please bring your own adaptor if your computer has a non-standard or older output format. There will also be volunteers on hand to help with tech in case issues arise.


15. What about things like food and quiet spaces? Self care is important, too!

Why yes, yes it is. Coffee and snacks will be available for speakers (and attendees) throughout the weekend. A light lunch will also be provided for speakers on both Saturday and Sunday, to help defray the cost of attending and minimize stress around finding food nearby.

In addition to a number of social spaces, there will be a designated “quiet room” available throughout the weekend where you are welcome to retreat and recharge.


16. How do I get in touch with the organizers if I have a last-minute problem?

If you need to reach the organizers between now and Thursday, March 30th, please send an email to contact@qgcon.com. If you need to reach the organizers between Friday, March 31st and Sunday, April 2nd (i.e. the weekend of the event), you can use the emergency phone number that will be provided to you in an email approximately one week before the conference.


* A note on “plus-ones”: it is important to us to welcome and support speakers of all relationship styles. If you would like to bring more than one partner with you, we would love for them to join us. When you RSVP, you will have the opportunity to let us know you are bringing multiple plus-ones — no questions asked!