Preparing ISDC'98

Why we decided to bid to hostan ISDC

[from the ISDC '97 bid documents,1994]

"To put on a precedent-shattering conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the L5/NSS merger" (in March 1987 at the Pittsburgh ISDC.)
That was one of the main drivers behind the bid for the ISDC '97 slot. We made that bid at ISDC '94 Toronto, but lost to Orlando, when they said it was 1997 or never, and we indicated that if we lost we would rebid. In fact, going through the bidding process is a lot of work, and we came very close to deciding not to go through the hoops a second time. However, we did, and the decision of the Board was unanimous - there was no opposition at ISDC '95. That is how we came to run ISDC '98 instead.

[from the ISDC '98 bid documents,1995]

"We have entered a prolonged period of retrenchment in National Discretionary Efforts. We will surely lose the many faint of heart. Yet the rest of us cannot afford to mark time or tread water until better conditions return. We must greet those better times better prepared
  • laying foundations
  • making our own opportunities
  • displaying the industriousness of a frontier people.

To this end, we intend to put on a conference that will establish a new benchmark for both productivity and participation."

We also saw the conference effort as anopportunity to build our chapter, acquiring new talent, freshblood.


Developing a ConferenceTheme

The original theme proposed by the conferencechair, was:

"Space: this Land is Our Land", after which was appended an empty box, within it, the caption: LOGO under development. Those words, within the box, were seized upon by the rest of the committee, and by wide agreement, the theme became "Space: Under Development"

[from the ISDC '98 bid documents,1995]


Space is not just a set of horizons and places to explore. It is a set of horizons and places in which to make new homes for pockets of humanity, and Gaia (Earth life). It is with this in mind that we are planning our tracks, sessions, and symposia. It is the spin we will put on our call for papers.

Our regeneration as a Frontier Society will be the real goal: i.e. Industriously laying foundations and making opportunities.

The '98 Conference itself will be but a pause to take a look at this "Work In Progress", to regenerate, rededicate, and redirect our efforts in a manner that addresses the enormous obstacles that lay in the way of the realization of our collective dreams and visions.

It is our hope to "Debut" a number of new tools for this frontier-building effort, both at, and leading up to the Conference. And to help reinvigorate us, we hope to "Demo" a number of frontier technology items, as lead up time allows. We propose to achieve some of these "Debut & Demo" goals by an Interactive Outreach Program in which schools, universities, industries, and organizations will each take ownership of a piece of what we hope to be an ongoing effort.


Choosing a ConferenceLogo

The logo sketch presented by the conference chairto the committee was:

This design had the approval of Hyatt

However, the conference committee wanted something simpler. A decision was made to request designs from a graphics designer known to one of the committee persons, Tom Gill of Gill Design. He submitted several design suggestions one of which was adopted (see masthead), another adapted as a logo for the Lunar Reclamation Society (see masthead).


Preparing the BidDocuments

The task of preparing the bid documents accordingto the guidelines set by the NSS Conferences Committee, wasundertaken by the chair, Peter Kokh, with continual input fromJeffrey Liss, CC Chair, and suggestions from David A. Dunlop, who wasthe original co-chair, speaking for Operations and Outreach.


After LRS" Bid for ISDC '9 wasAccepted

A bold plan is one thing. Execution is another.Brainstorming the conference by David Dunlop and myself started onthe trip home from ISDC '93 in Huntsville. We wanted to put on asuper conference -- after all, anything worth doing is worth doingwell.

We wanted a super set of tracks, and we had one, but not supported by as many quality speakers as we had hoped. A number of top speakers who had presented at previous ISDCs, elected to take a pass on ours.

We had an extensive outreach plan, including outreach to minorities, but in the end, no one to pursue it.

We conceived of a major Exhibit Feature, which we called the Lunar Homestead Show, but only the chair was available to pursue that. Some items were realized, but not all.

We conceived of a start on a Space Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Again, no volunteers to head this effort.

We wanted an Art Show with a major collection of Space Frontier Art. Our volunteer disappeared.

A one-day Science Fiction symposium also failed to materialize, because we did not succeed in finding anyone to direct it. As did our "first annual Space Frontier Fashion Show."

A lot of what we wanted to do absolutely required considerable lead time, and an early start. However, once the bid was approved, it was difficult to energize the team. "Lead Time turned to Lead." as Paul Swift, chair of ISDC '94 Toronto put it.

Six months to go, and a couple of years wasted, we finally had an energized team. And we are all still proud of the conference we put on.

Report by ISDC '98 Chair, PeterKokh


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