Monday, June 8, 2015

SW13: SteamWomen at Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose

Photo by Kim Truett, featuring from left to right: Dr. Brassy, Tempest, Frenchy, and Dogwood. 
SteamWomen doesn't only exist in the aetherworld of the internet - we also seek to make an impact in the "real" world too. One way of accomplishing this feat is offering discussion panels at Steampunk conventions.  So we were thrilled that Alyssa Rosenbloom (who we will be featuring in a future interview!) was able to schedule a round-table opportunity at Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose, CA over Memorial Day Weekend.

Clockwork Alchemy is a delightfully well-organized, mid-size event that takes place as part of the much larger Fanime convention. The staff, volunteers, and attendees have worked really hard to grow this event logically and with style.  It is self-contained within the Double Tree Hotel, utilizing nearly all of the available event spaces for a wide variety of events, including three nights of live music/dancing, large room for activities ("the war room"), multicultural performances (including a bellydance stage), author panels/row, dozens of workshops, a full-service tea room, large vendor room, and much more.

The SteamWomen RoundTable kicked off the event on Friday at noon - lead by SW Editor-in-Chief Tempest, and featuring upcoming interviewees Dr. Brassy Steamington and Dogwood - and familiar face and previous SW featured artist Samantha "Frenchy" Stephenson. Despite being one of the first events, the attendance was decent and the discussion in-depth.

Each of the panelists introduced themselves, Tempest highlighted the history and intent of SteamWomen, and then the group discussed perceptions and issues that women in the Steampunk community currently face - and what we are creating as a legacy for future generations. One important point that was made was that even though Steampunk is considered fringe/subculture - we have seen plenty of evidence that the microcosm can indeed affect the macrocosm. If we establish new ways of thinking, new lines of respect, new models for the next generation, we CAN bring about positive change and awareness for everyone.

Tempest also took part in Teri Lenfest's (featured in our SW2 issue) "How Do You Define A Goddess?" panel on Sunday afternoon - and found similar crossover topics that related back to the SteamWomen discussion.  In particular, when we look at the changing roles and identities of goddesses throughout time and various cultures, we also see an impact on how women have been and are treated as well.

Hopefully in the future we'll be filming these sessions and posting them as well so everyone can enjoy them. The next scheduled SteamWomen panel will take place at GEAR Con in Portland, Ore., July 3rd-5th!   Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the exact time/day/location!

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