The History of the Victorian Steampunk Society.
The Victorian Steampunk Society (VSS) was formed as a not-for-profit society dedicated to promoting steampunk within the UK. In the early years of Steampunk the people of Britain were clamouring for events to attend. The VSS was set up to create events for the community. The idea was simple. If active steampunks organise events then other steampunks in the UK can attend them if they wish. If this comes from within the community it is not just an attempt to "chase the brass pound" and make money from steampunks. The VSS strives to listen to the community and always invites feedback. We understand however that we cannot please all of the people all of the time. Our philosophy is simple -
(1) Listen to what people are asking for.
(2) Set up events which people may want to attend.
(3) Run them to the best of our ability.
(4) Try to raise money for charitable causes if we can.
There are currently just eight full members of the society (MVSS) who co-ordinate and organise activities, managing the day to day running of the society and working on events, features, exhibitions and other activities.
Steampunks who attend VSS events are automatically afforded the status of Associate members (AVSS). Whilst events are primarily aimed at these members it would be impossible to run without their help. AVSS volunteer as stewards, facilitators, workshop leaders, exhibitors and ambassadors.
The Society also award honorary fellowships (FVSS) to individuals whom it is considered have made an invaluable contribution to the Steampunk Movement in the UK. There are currently five Fellows:
Mr Robert Rankin and Mr Peter Harrow Esq. Mr Art Donovan, Mr Ian Crichton. and Dr Geof Banyard.
We got off to a flying start. In our first year, 2009, the VSS:
- Advised on education projects incorporating steampunk Two MVSS also met the then Foreign Secretary David Milliband securing his support for the aforesaid projects.
- Organised the first ever UK steampunk festival.
- Supported the first formal steampunk exhibition at the Oxford Science Museum
- Raised around £1000 for charity
- Organised and supported a range of meets, gatherings, camps and promenades plus visits to historic sites.
- Exhibited at the huge MCM Expo to thousands of visitors and presented two features on fashion and the nature of steampunk.
- Facilitated and supported music gigs, theatrical performances, markets and sales.
- Promoted steampunk in the media through radio, magazine and newspaper interviews and articles.
Through 2010 the VSS built upon this phenomenal start and went from strength to strength establishing it's place as one of the leading organisations for the promotion of steampunk in the World. The Asylum festival doubled in size and established itself as the largest steampunk festival in Europe (incidentally injecting over a quarter of a million pounds into the Lincoln economy.) The VSS has raised even more money for charities and promoted steampunk at events across the UK.
In 2011 the VSS produced a major art exhibition ran a plethora of other events and saw The Asylum grow to its biggest and most successful to date. (Ultimately being voted best International Convention by readers of Steampunk Chronicle).
Into 2012 and 2013 the VSS has continued its work. 2013 saw the launch of our second annual major in the form of Steampunk at the Seaside which it is envisaged will be held each spring in the South of England. We have also expanded our "steampunk outreach" to other events and conventions such as the SF Ball and Geekfest.
2014 will be an exciting year for the VSS and steampunk in the UK. We are delighted to be supporting a major exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. When we were approached about an art exhibition with a time travel twist at the home of World time we leapt at it (of course!) The Asylum continues to grow and now attracts visitors from around the World. Steampunk at the Seaside is in its second year and grows too. With other events yet to announce it will be a busy and creative year.
Initial contact with the VSS can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org