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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 United Kingdom's bisexual community.
While the format does vary, the typical format is a long weekend over four 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 issues relevant to bisexuals. To that extent it can often be characterised as a nexus of the sexual freedom and queer movements. Each BiCon event usually attracts between 200 and 400 people.
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 attended 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-focused events.
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 like-minded 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) and to use the name 'BiCon', in part because of the organisers' and venue's experience with SF Cons (Science Fiction conventions).
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 offshoots, such as BiFest, BabyBiCon, and the bi academic conference BiReCon, which have expanded on particular areas covered by BiCon.
In 2002 BiCon hosted the first Cake Awards recognising the breadth of contributions made to the bisexual community in the UK. Further Cake Awards have been presented at BiCon every few years since.
BICON has been a registered trade mark of BiCon Continuity Ltd since 2016.
|The Politics of Bisexuality||8-9 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, Hampstead,||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||7–10 September 1990||Tollcross Community Centre||Edinburgh||200+||no|
|9th National Bisexual Conference||20–22 September 1991||University of London Union||London||240+||no|
|BiCon 10||26–30 August 1992||University of East Anglia||Norwich||200||yes|
|BiCon 11||1–3 October 1993||Derby Hall, University of Nottingham||Nottingham||250+||yes|
|BiCon 12||3–6 August 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, University of Edinburgh||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|
|BiCon 2008||28–31 August 2008||Gilbert Murray Hall, University of Leicester||Leicester||250||yes|
|BiCon 2009||20–23 August 2009||St. John's Campus, University of Worcester||Worcester||~235||yes|
|BiCon 2010 & the 10th ICB||26–30 August 2010||Docklands Campus, University of East London||London||~460||yes|
|Bicon 2011||1–4 September 2011||Stamford Hall, University of Leicester||Leicester||297||yes|
|Bicon 2012||9–13 August 2012||University of Bradford||Bradford||300||yes|
|Bicon 2013||18–21 July 2013||University of Edinburgh||Edinburgh||311||yes|
|BiCon 2014||31 July - 3 August 2014||Leeds Trinity University||Leeds||yes|
|BiCon 2015||13-16 August 2015||University of Nottingham||Nottingham||437||yes|
|BiCon 2016||4-7 August 2016||University of Central Lancashire||Preston||304||yes|
|BiCon 2017||10-13 August 2017||Leeds Beckett University, Headingley Campus||Leeds||375||yes|
|BiCon 2018||2-5 August 2018||University of Salford||Salford||265||yes|
|BiCon 2019||1-4 August 2019||University of Lancaster||Lancaster||280+||yes|
|BiCon 2020||13-16 August 2020||Virtual event using Zoom & Discord||n/a||404||n/a|
|BiCon 2021||19-22 August 2021||Virtual event using Zoom & Discord||n/a||?||n/a|
|BiCon 2022||2022||11-14 August 2022||Leeds Beckett University, Headingley Campus||Leeds|
A spin-off event BabyBiCon aimed at bisexual youth (those under 26 years old) was held in Manchester on 5-7 June 1998. It was organised at the Ardwick Youth Club by the group BiYouth (which folded in 2000) with support from a couple of local lesbian and gay youth projects. While attracting around 25 people, discussions of holding successor events in 1999 and 2000 led to nothing.
BiReCon is a research conference for academic work on bisexuality. BiReCon originated as a series of workshops at BiCon. Elizabeth Barker-Williams came up with the name while on the organizing committee for the 2008 BiCon.
In 2010, BiCon (UK) organized the 10th International Conference on Bisexuality (ICB). The organizers decided to make the second BiReCon an international conference. It took place on 26 August 2010, the day before ICB, at the University of East London. Speakers included Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, Eric Anderson, Robyn Ochs, and John Sylla. There were approximately 100 attendees.
The third BiReCon took place on 9 August 2012 at Bradford University and focused on mental health. Speakers included Meg-John Barker, Roshan das Nair, and Christina Richards. The fourth BiReCon focused on joining academics research and community-run bi groups, and it was held on 31 July 2014 at Leeds Trinity University.
The fifth BiReCon, EuroBiReCon, was an international conference held on 28-29 July 2016 at the University of Amsterdam. The keynote speakers on the first day were Dr. Surya Monro and Dr. Alex Iantaffi. The second day included a workshop presented by Robyn Ochs, Meg-John Barker, and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli.
- Hemmings, Clare. (2002). Bisexual Spaces: a geography of sexuality and gender, p. 18. Routledge, London. ISBN 0415930820.
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- Smith, David (1985), "Banned: Bisexual Groups Banned from the Lesbian and Gay Centre", Bi-Monthly (8): 2–3
- "BiMedia Awards". BiMedia.org. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- "Case details for trade mark UK00003178021". Intellectual Property Office. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
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- Barker, Meg-John; Richards, Christina; Jones, Rebecca and Monro, Surya (2011). BiReCon: An International Academic Conference on Bisexuality. Journal of Bisexuality, 11(2-3), pp. 157-170.
- "BiReCon". BiUK. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
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- "BiCon UK: Archives" at Bicon.org.uk. Accessed 7 May 2011.
- 2 March 2002 - "BiCon's Past" at Bi.tocotox.org. Accessed 13 July 2005.
- 27 August 2010 - "National bisexual convention to include daily worship" at ekklesia.co.uk. Accessed 27 September 2010.
- Pink News - Review: Bisexuality conferences tackle hate crime, censorship and Shakespeare Accessed 27 September 2010.
- The Guardian - Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT Accessed 27 September 2010.
- BiMedia.org - Britain's Biggest BiCon Ever! Accessed 27 September 2010.
- World’s biggest Bi-sexual conference at ExCel now on Accessed 27 September 2010.
- British Bisexuality: A Snapshot of Bisexual Representations and Identities in the United Kingdom - Meg Barker; Helen Bowes-Catton; Alessandra Iantaffi; Angela Cassidy; Laurence Brewer