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The UK BiCon (more formally known as the UK National Bisexual Convention or UK National Bisexual Conference), is the largest and most consistent annual gathering of the UK's bisexual community. It is also the world's longest running bisexual community event.
While the format does vary, the common format is a long weekend over 4 days consisting of workshops, discussions, meetings and social events. Although being billed as a "bisexual" event, it is open to partners of bisexuals, supporters, non-bisexuals, non-definers, and anyone else interested in the issues around bisexuality. To that extent it can often be characterised as a nexus of the sexual freedom and queer movements. Since the late 1980s, BiCons have normally attracted between 150 and 250 participants.
Each year BiCon is organised by a different team of volunteer activists, sometimes under the banner of a local Bisexual group, sometimes as independents.
History[edit | edit source]
In December 1984 the London Bisexual Group (in association with the now defunct zine 'Bi-Monthly') ran a conference called "The Politics of Bisexuality" at The Factory Community Project in Highbury. Around 40 people braved the icy weather to attend and judged the event to be a huge success. A second event was then attended by over fifty people in April 1985. Unfortunately the venue used, the London Lesbian and Gay Centre, had just decided to ban bisexuals (and some other groups) from their premises. This did not stop the conferences which soon gained popularity in a Britain devoid of bisexual focussed event.
That following October the Edinburgh Bisexual Group took up the torch and ran an event called "Bisexuality and the Politics of Sex". This established the idea of conferences moving around the nation. The next was run by a bisexual women's group in London. By this point the community was starting to know what they wanted from BiCon - a chance to meet other bisexuals (and their allies) from across the country, discuss sexuality issues, relax in the company of likeminded folk and network.
Armed with an agreed purpose, for the next few years the conference alternated between venues in London and Edinburgh. Then in 1989 it branched out to Coventry. As well as being the first one outside the two capitals, it was also the first to be residential (previously, people from outside the host city had either booked accommodation privately or stayed with local attendees: 'crash space') and to use the name 'BiCon', in part because of the organisers' and venue's experience with SF cons.
A range of cities and towns have hosted it since. Over time BiCon has evolved to fit with the needs of the community. The word 'conference' has been largely replaced by 'convention', but there is still a political and campaigning side to the event. In recent years the momentum behind the event has spawned a number of off-shoots, such as 'BabyBiCon', BiFest and the 'Bi Academic Conference', which have concentrated themselves on particular aspects covered by BiCon.
Past events[edit | edit source]
|The Politics of Bisexuality||December 1984||The Factory Community Project||London||40||no|
|2nd Politics of Bisexuality Conference||April 1985||London Lesbian and Gay Centre||London||50+||no|
|Bisexuality and the Politics of Sex||October 1985||The Pleasance Student Centre||Edinburgh||52||no|
|4th National Bisexual Conference||July 1986||The Mary Ward Centre, Bloomsbury||London||70||no|
|5th National Bisexual Conference||? 1987||The Pleasance Student Centre||Edinburgh||119||no|
|6th National Bisexual Conference||October 1988||Friends Meeting House, Hamstead,||London||154||no|
|BiCon 7 : The 7th National Bisexual Conference||26–30 August 1989||Coventry Polytechnic (now Coventry University)||Coventry||200-?||yes|
|8th National Bisexual Conference||? 1990||Tollcross Community Centre||Edinburgh||200+||no|
|9th National Bisexual Conference||? 1991||University of London Union||London||240+||no|
|BiCon 10||26–30 August 1992||University of East Anglia||Norwich||200||yes|
|BiCon 11||? 1993||University of Nottingham||Nottingham||250+||yes|
|BiCon 12||? 1994||Methodist Central Hall||Edinburgh||~200||no|
|13iCon||1–3 September 1995||University of Central England||Birmingham||245||yes|
|BiCon 14||30 August - 1 September 1996||Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames||London||250||yes|
|BiCon 97 / BiCon 15||28–31 August 1997||University of Greenwich, Woolwich||London||180||yes|
|BiCon 98 / BiCon 16||4–6 September 1998||New Hall, Cambridge||Cambridge||?||yes|
|BiCon 1999 / BiCon 17||16–18 July 1999||Pollock Halls (Edinburgh University)||Edinburgh||201||yes|
|BiCon 2000 / BiCon 18 (incorporating the 6th ICB)||24–28 August 2000||Owens Park Campus, University of Manchester||Manchester||265||yes|
|BiCon 2001||24–27 August 2001||Singer Hall and main campus, Coventry University||Coventry||169||yes|
|BiCon 2002||16–18 August 2002||College Hall, University of Leicester||Leicester||189||yes|
|BiCon 2003||22–25 August 2003||Docklands Campus, University of East London,||London||237||yes|
|BiCon 2004||26–30 August 2004||Fallowfield Campus, University of Manchester||Manchester||273||yes|
|BiCon 2005||25–29 August 2005||University College Worcester||Worcester||(+170)||yes|
|BiCon 2006||13–17 July 2006||Glasgow Caledonian University||Glasgow||200||yes|
|BiCon 2007||16–20 August 2007||Trefforest Campus, University of Glamorgan||Pontypridd, nr Cardiff||246||yes|
BabyBiCon[edit | edit source]
A spin-off event BabyBiCon, aimed at bisexual youth (under-26's) was held in Manchester on 5–7 June 1998. It was organised at the Ardwick Youth Club by the group 'BiYouth' (folded in 2000) with support from a couple of local lesbian & gay youth projects. While attracting around 25 people, discussions of holding successor events in 1999 and 2000 led to nothing.
Future events[edit | edit source]
|BiCon 2008||2008||28–31 August 2008||University of Leicester||Leicester|
|BiCon 2009||2009||T.B.A||T.B.A||T.B.A (Looking at the Midlands)|
|BiCon 2010 & the 11th ICB||2010||T.B.A||T.B.A||T.B.A|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "BiCon UK: Archives" at Bicon.org.uk.
- March 2, 2002 - "BiCon's Past" at Bi.org.
- November 16, 2006 - "Bicon 2007 Venue" at bicon2007.org.uk.
[edit | edit source]
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