The World Science Fiction Convention - Worldcon is the longest running science fiction convention in the world. In 2019, the first Irish Worldcon took place, bringing 5,737 delegates to Ireland’s shores.
Accessibility can, unfortunately, sometimes be an afterthought in event planning. However, it was at the forefront of this client’s mind when organising the 77th Worldcon event. They wanted the event to be as accessible as possible to all needs.
The client was looking for a modern, prestigious large conference venue to impress delegates in Dublin city. With the expectation of over 5,000 delegates attending, they needed a venue that could provide space for a variety of events, from 6 person conversations to 2,000-person award ceremonies.
As a fully volunteer-based organisation, the client required the team at The CCD to provide a flexible approach to suit the organisers’ professional work commitments. There are three essential requirements when hosting a Worldcon in any city; administering the Hugo Awards, the future Worldcon site selection, and holding a World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting.
Accessibility - The CCD is both physically and emotionally welcoming for all, with legislative requirements for accessibility incorporated into the design and construction of the building. Before the event, The CCD investigated the types of mobility scooters used to get around the building, focusing on specifications, charging capacities, parking and plans for evacuation. Scooters were tested pre event, accessing various spaces to ensure there was enough space to manoeuvre comfortably and safely.
Crowd Management - With the event expecting over 5,000 delegates over the week, both the venue and the client wanted each attendee to have a great experience. To prepare for this, there was a lot of planning around health and safety and managing the large number of attendees. It was key to move all attendees around and through the building in a safe and comfortable manner. The CCD had a full team on the ground, directing delegates to their chosen sessions. There were also other local Dublin venues in use for the Worldcon event. Managing delegates with other venues can pose challenges, but The CCD worked closely with these venues and monitored the numbers entering and exiting the venue.
Catering - For this event, it was important to provide high quality food that could be distributed quickly to allow for free-flowing of delegates around the busy event. A fast-food style model was proposed in the Forum, allowing delegates to collect their food quickly, exiting to an outside marquee benched area and other locations around the building. To manage the flow of almost 6,000 delegates, food was provided all day with no set lunchtime. There were also cash catering points throughout the building providing hot and cold snacks for delegates to avail of.
Essential Requirements - Site visits and planning meetings took place at times and dates that suited the client, with the first meeting taking place in 2012, seven years before the actual event. In the lead-up to the event, the Event Manager communicated with the client daily, adjusting plans and delivering all essential elements. Cleaning for the event was strategically planned from the outset, achieving a 98% recycle and composite rate. CCD Cleaning provided cleaners to each floor and an overnight service each day to ensure the building was cleaned and presented back to attendees every morning.
The CCD team successfully managed changing circumstances and challenges that cropped up during the event. All staff were aware of and prepared for tight turnarounds, with increased staff numbers and split shifts, and a handover between shift teams each day. Teamwork, collaboration, and communication with all teams were crucial throughout this event, with Event Managers working closely with Maintenance for scooter parking locations, lighting times and air-con, Security for external queuing, and the Health and Safety Manager for accessible plans. A feedback meeting also took place daily to enable delegates to give feedback on any elements of the live event. The Event Managers attended the session each day and acted on feedback in live time.