So the last two posts told you all about what there is to do at Q-con, but what is it actually like to attend? For many people, Q-con is the best of the local conventions for one main reason, diversity. In this article I hope to destroy the myth that everyone who attends these kinds of conventions are ‘just a bunch of nerds playing dress up’ because as you will see shortly, there really is far more to it than that!
Over the weekend I met a lot of interesting people and what struck me most about them was how different they were in terms of their specific reasons for doing what they do and why they love Q-con so much in particular. As I said in my first post, Q-con is a real melting pot of people from all over the place who are all unified over a love of all things geeky. There are those interested in gaming, those interested in anime, those interested in both, and even those interested in neither in particular but still join in the vibe of the whole convention scene.
I was also fortunate enough to interview a number of people over the weekend and chat to them about their experiences and thoughts on Q-con. As you can hear for yourself, within just this handful of people, you can see the wide range of people that Q-con attracts.
The first person I interviewed was the lovely Sasha Conlon and those studying Law will recognize her as the President-elect of the Law Society. A fan of all things nerdy, Sasha is never one to miss a convention and this year at Q-con she cosplayed as a young Lara Croft from the latest Tomb Raider games and Daenerys Targaryen (I had to google how to spell that…) from Game of Thrones.
You can listen to her interview here:
Just yesterday, Sasha was speaking about ”What’s next for Northern Ireland” at the prestigious launch event of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice in the Great Hall of QUB when barely a week before she was raving it up big time dressed as the Queen of Dragons. So as you can see, despite having such a professional career ahead of her, Sasha is definitely not ashamed of her geekery!
My next interviewee is a regular in the cosplay scene, Damien of Agent Delta cosplay. Damien is a familiar face to anyone who attends conventions across the country and always brings the banter with him wherever he goes. During the weekend he entertained us with his Ace Ventura skit and as you can see from the featured image of this article, he was also kind enough to pose in front of our QR logo wall for a photo in his err… lovely rendition of Ryuko Matoi from the anime Kill la Kill.
You can listen to his interview here:
From the above two interviews, we can already can see the diversity of people that attend conventions like Q-con. Sasha and Damien represent different ends of the ‘nerd spectrum’ and both thoroughly enjoy Q-con for its range of activities for people of all fandoms.
For some people however, Q-con means more than just diversity of appeal. This next interview is with a lovely pair of cosplayers, India and Ollie who both have different reasons for enjoying Q-con than Damien and Sasha. They put it into better words than I can, so I would suggest listening to the soundclip before reading on:
From this we can see that events like Q-con can mean a lot more to someone than just dressing up or buying a bunch of merchandise as some of the stereotypes surrounding the scene suggest. In Ollie’s case, it can mean expressing himself in a way that they might not be able to do in everyday life, and celebrating a character from a franchise that is near and dear to his heart. For India (who has ASD), it is about meeting up with her friends in a familiar environment.
Incidentally, Q-con is the only local convention that is spread over multiple venues meaning that it offers open and empty spaces and room to breath and chill out. This is important for people like India, who can become overwhelmed with masses of people and sounds in large spaces that are typical of other conventions in massive busy venues like Kings Hall and the SSE arena.
The accessibility of Q-con doesn’t stop there however, as these open spaces also offer benefit to those with mobility difficulties as the student union offers good access with ramps and elevators located throughout the building. It is also very easy to get to compared to other conventions because it is just a five minute walk from the heart of Belfast.
As well as the venue being well laid out, the professional organisation of the entire convention by the QUB Dragonslayers is second to none and this is evident right from the moment you first walk in the door and are handed your brilliantly laid out attendee lanyard that on it contains all the info you could ever need for the weekend including all of the event listings and emergency contact details should anything go wrong.
I would like to personally thank the Dragonslayers at this point for their organisation of the event because it never fails to run like clockwork, and their hospitality in allowing me to attend the convention as a representative of Queens Radio so that I could report on what I firmly believe to be the best convention in Northern Ireland.
So I hope this article dispels some of the negative connotations that these types of conventions and the people who attend them have picked up in the form of stereotypes. These interviews are just four examples of the several thousand people who walked the halls of the SU last weekend and even from this tiny sample number, you can clearly see the wide range of people who attend Q-con and what it means to them.
Q-con truly is for everyone.
Just a reminder that you can find all of the pictures that were taken during the weekend including Sasha, India and Ollie at Q-con on our official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/queensradio/?hl=en
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