Sectus

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Convention
Name: Sectus
Dates: July 19th-22nd, 2007
Frequency:
Location: University of Westminster, London, UK
Type: fan run fan con
Focus: Harry Potter
Organization:
Founder: elanor_isolda
Founding Date:
URL: website offline; archived version
convention logo
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Sectus is a fan run Harry Potter convention.

It was held in London in 2007 and came about when the Accio convention committee of 2005 announced that that would be unable to organize an event for 2007. The convention programming included a mix of academic presentations and informal discussions of canon and fandom-related topics. Approximately 450 fans attended the 2007 convention, with attendance limited to those over the age of 18. The convention was run entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds went to Book Aid International, a charity which works to provide books and journals to the developing world. In total Sectus 2007 raised £4000 for charity. The final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published during the conference and could be pre-reserved by attendees so that they could pick up their copies at the conference site shortly after its midnight release.

From the convention announcement: "Sectus will include an exciting programme reflecting the varied likes and dislikes of the fandom. Perhaps you’ll attend a panel discussing the appeal of homoerotic fiction or a workshop on how to write its intricacies (yes, slash!). If that’s not to your taste, you can debate Rowling’s choice of partners for our heroes or learn how Wizarding history entwines with our own. There’ll be something to suit everyone but if you have a special interest you’d like to see represented then perhaps you should host a discussion yourself! Sectus relies on input from the fans and that means you. The website will be available soon with all the details but for now you can find out more about Sectus at the official community, sectus_ltd, or ask questions over at sectus_chat. Don't forget to friend sectus_ltd so you don't miss out on all the news." [1]

icon advertising Sectus 2009 in Wales before it was canceled.

A second Sectus was planned for June 26-29, 2009 at Bodelwyddan Castle in Wales, but the event was canceled after the founder stepped down.[2] Some point to J.K. Rowling's lawsuit of 2008 to prevent the planned publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon and the fannish divide it created as the reason for cancellation.[3]

Part of a Series

See Harry Potter Symposiums.

2007 Programming

A copy of the 4 days of programming is archived here. The programming involved 4 tracks: a Main track, an Academic track (for scholarly presentations like "Negotiating with the canon: a critique of Potternama), a Fannish track ("A dragon of ill faith? Draco in DH") and a fanfiction track called Fiction Alley ("Author/Beta – the ultimate OTP"). Additional events included a Portrait Gallery, a "Not The Yule" Ball [4] and a picnic. Special guests were: Steve Vander-Ark (creator of the Harry Potter Lexicon website), Colin Manlove (author of twelve books of literary criticism), Mary Baumann (author of "A Detective’s Analysis of Harry Potter and the Mysteries Within"); Dr Catherine Driscoll (Chair of the Department of Gender and Cultural studies at the University of Sydney) and David Rowland Langford is a British author, editor and critic, largely active within the science fiction field.

The fan play "The Most Grievous and Lamentable Tragedie of the Death of Lord Voldemort" written by Rowen-R was performed. Rowen-R provides a transcript in her LiveJournal.[5]

Logo for the "Not The Yule Ball"

The Fiction Alley programming track was named after the Fiction Alley website. It hosted creative writing workshops, live fiction readings and opportunities for informal discussions and meetups. There were also drabble booths, where writers from within fandom offered to turn attendees ideas into short works of fiction. And for the artistically inclined, drawble art booths were also made available to create art sketches on demand. Fiction Alley’s SpellCast Podcast also hosted a performance of a radio play on Friday July 20th. The play was recorded live in the main lecture theatre and was broadcast on SpellCast afterwards.

To help fans keep track of all the programming, the convention also released an online newsletter The Snake's Quill in the months preceding the convention.

2007 Convention Reports

  • "Absolutely magnificent. I was never bored at any time, and despite having 2 hours of sleep in the space of 64 hours, I was so buzzed with excitment, I didn't doze off. My one point of comparison was the Accio conference which I attended in 2005, and Sectus beat that 10 times over with trumpets."[6]
  • "SECTUS WAS SO AWESOME AND AMAZING AND BRILLIANT AND JUST ALL AROUND FLAIL WORTHY!!"[7]
  • A Spanish convention report is archived here.
  • "All in all, Sectus was a fabulous and unique experience. I really hope to stay in touch with some of the lovely people I met there, and the memories of such communal passion and enthusiasm will stay with me for a very long time indeed."[8]
  • A photo filled convention report can be found here.
  • "Cheers all for a fun filled weekend!! Was a MAD old time, with a great buzz and energy you guys were all producing. I've not felt that at a con for some time, so was cool to be there with everyone...I've never seen so many excited people apart from queueing up for Star Wars in 1977 when I was 8.".[9]
  • after-sectus, a LJ community was also set up for fans to share convention reports and photos.
  • "Sectus had a peculiar innocence, like early Discworld conventions before the fans realized they could skip occasional programme items to socialise in the bar. On the Thursday evening I sat bemusedly on a bench outside a deserted pub near King's Cross, watching a very, very long queue move very, very slowly into the Camden Centre for the Sectus opening ceremony. They nearly all seemed to be women: apparently less than 20% of the 450 members were male. Most were interestingly dressed. With me on the bench was the noted Irish SF fan James Bacon. "God," he kept saying Irishly, "Lookit THAT girl with the knee socks. Aren't those school uniforms GREAT?" He dribbled particularly about women with loosely knotted school ties dangling between their bosoms. It was like a flashback to the sixth form at St Trinians. Did I mention that no under-18s were permitted?"[10]

2007 Residential

Following the convention, a one week long event was also offered to attendees. Known as the "Residential", it was essentially a week long sleepover held in a dormitory in Wales. Dates were July 23-28, 2007.

From the Residential ad:
What is the residential?

It's a Harry Potter themed week in Wales, aiming to provide a calm and stimulating atmosphere for:

  • Discussion of the HP books, especially the freshly released book 7
  • Discussion of related academic topics in themed roundtables and seminars
  • Creative writing, fanfiction, filking and other fandom activities
  • Commiserating the end of the series in a serene environment with like-minded people
  • Or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful landscape, pony trekking, hiking, playing Harry Potter charades ... whatever stroles your fancy!

There will be 30 fans, including many of the Sectus committee, at the residential course, and we're anticipating that it will provide a unique opportunity to get to know each other. The residential has been booked up for months and this place has only become available due to very unfortunate circumstances!

Where is the residential?

We will have exclusive use of the Bwlchcoediog (pronounced bull-coy-dee-og) Bunkhouse, which is a converted wooden barn in the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Accommodation is basic but comfortable, consisting of dormitory-style single bunkbeds with two shared bathrooms. There is also a kitchen, a delightful common room and facilities for long bomfire nights.

Photo Gallery

Additional art gallery photos can be found archived here.

References

  1. Convention ad posted to the slash_con LJ community, June 21, 2006.
  2. "I regret to announce that, for personal reasons, I am unable to continue as Chair of Sectus 2009. I have tried very hard to find a way for the event to go ahead without me, but unfortunately this has not proved possible. We have therefore had to make the decision to cancel Sectus 2009."' announcement from convention chair elanor_isolda posted to the Sectus Insanejournal community Feb 21, 2008.; WebCite.
  3. Source: Starcombing By David Langford. "One result of this somewhat vitriolic controversy was that next year's UK Harry Potter convention Sectus 2009 was canceled." See also this fannish discussion here.
  4. The ad for the balls stated it was "a chance for you to dress up in either costume or evening dress; Sectus are proud to present Not the Yule Ball. We will be providing a buffet-style dinner, and in keeping with what a Yule Ball should be, the venue will be decorated with a winter Christmas theme."
  5. rowen_r. It's aliiiiive!!!!, 13 March 2005. (Accessed 21 November 2012)
  6. Sectus Report 19th-22nd July, dated July 29, 2007; WebCite.
  7. Late Sectus Squee, Photos and Vids! dated August 14, 2007;WebCite.
  8. Sectus Report dated July 27, 2007; WebCite.
  9. Fun Filled Weekend, dated July 30, 2007; WebCite.
  10. David Langford in Potterdammerung, an SFX magazine column, issue #162, November 2007; WebCite.