Program Participation Process

How can I apply to be a program participant at Arisia?

Fill out the online form.

  • Give us your name and make sure your email address is one that you check regularly
  • Give a description of your background and relevant expertise/experience to the type of programming that you think you would be interested in. Be thorough! This is how we will make decisions about new potential participants.

We will be sending out invitations in early Fall to those who we would like to add to pool of panelists. At that point if selected, you would be able to sign up for Zambia, our programming database. There you would be able to add information about your availability and general interests.

After the end date for sign-in to Zambia, you will be able to look through and express interest in panels that need panelists. Finally closer to the convention, but in time to get corrections before our publications deadlines, we'll let all participants know their assignments and preliminary schedules.

Please note:

  • Having suggested a panel idea doesn't give "dibs" on it even if we end up using the idea or a variation thereof.
  • Not every panel listed in Zambia will actually be scheduled, for many reasons (some of which are discussed below)
  • Signing up as being interested in being on a panel does not guarantee you a spot on it. We work hard to get the most qualified candidates on each topic that are available, and there are at most 5 spots on any panel.
  • Not everyone who signs up to be on panels will be on enough panels to get a comp membership for the weekend.
But Arisia isn't until January! Why so early? Well below you can see some of the major steps we go through to create our programming schedule. Everything needs to be completely scheduled, checked with panelist availability, and revised by early December for publications such as the program guide.
Notice that the blue boxes are ones where new people, who have not previously been program participants can get involved in some way.

So after panelists sign up in early Fall, Programming staff will need to look at what panels have enough interested, qualified panelists to run, how many rooms we have available, and when to schedule each of the selected panels in each room.

Even once we have a list of panels we would like to run, scheduling can change which panels are possible. This is why we ask for participants' availability when they sign up in Zambia. If you tell us that you aren't available on Friday, then we will assume that you can't be on a panel that would have to run on Friday, even if you are the most qualified person ever.

In order to have a panel run, we need enough interested, qualified panelists all available at the same time at a time at which we also have a free room to run it in of the type needed. Whew!

Furthermore we try to avoid cross-scheduling related-interest panels as much as possible. Given all the prior steps, that is not always the case, but having panels signed up in early Fall is what gives us enough time to do all this fine-tuning by the time we need to send our program to the editors and printers.

I don't want to be on a panel, I just have a good idea ...
We run a semi-open forum called "Brainstorm" for panel suggestions year 'round. But we stop looking at new ideas in the forum late-summer so that we can sift through the hundreds of suggestions we have been receiving to make them ready for the convention.

Have an idea that isn't a panel?
We're still considering ideas on a one-at-a-time basis through emails directly to or We're particularly interested in ideas that:

  • are something other than the 5-people-sit-at-the-front-of-the-room panel format
  • are timely or in some way connected to THIS year's Arisia
  • give us suggestions of who could carry out the ideas.