What and when is International OpenCon Catalonia?
International OpenCon Catalonia (IOCC) is a meeting of non-monogamous people that feel like exchanging ideas, learning from each other’s experiences, getting to know like-minded people and having fun. It has run since 2012, usually in the last weekend of May (Friday-Sunday), in a very nice rural house in the Catalonian countryside we rent all for ourselves. It takes place about 130 km north of Barcelona and 20 km north of Girona (Catalonia, Spain): check the venue page for more details. We’ll be about 40 people.
IOCC is all about talking and socialising. It’s not a sex club, a fetish club, or a dating service. We have no problem with those sorts of events—we just want to run something different. This is a place to meet new friends. See our code of conduct for more detail.
Who can come?
Anyone who has any level of experience with the non-monogamous lifestyle, plus anyone who has a genuine interest for it. In case you have no idea what polyamory, relationship anarchy, etc., is all about, we recommend you to check some resources (e.g., see About Non-Monogamies) before deciding whether it’s a good idea for you to come. That said, the philosophy behind an “open” meeting is that we can learn from each other, so the more experience you are willing to share on non-monogamy, the better!
IOCC is an over-18 only meeting. Babies (0-1 years old) are allowed (see below).
English is the common shared language, so all participants should be reasonably fluent in this language, at least orally.
What will happen?
Good question! IOCC is run as an unconference, where every participant can contribute to defining the contents of the meeting, and so the programme will be work-in-progress to be updated as the meeting happens. See the what will happen page for more detail.
Is this like a holiday package, with hotel, meals and entertainment included?
No. Think about it like a gathering of friends where we all split accommodation and meal costs, and where we all decide how to spend our time together. Everyone (including those involved in the organization) is paying the same for their share of the costs, will be in the same type of accommodation, and will eat the same type of food. Someone will cook our food, but we will all participate in preparing the dining room ahead and in cleaning up and doing the dishes afterwards. Also, we will clean the rooms and common areas before we leave. We do hope you have a good time (in previous years, people did) but there will be no hotel or restaurant manager to complain to about the food, accommodation or the programme. Any problem that arises during the meeting will be solved by all of us together.
Also, we’ll all be adults there, so each of us is ultimately responsible for our own health and safety (in case we become ill or have an accident) and civic liability (in case we break something or someone). So think about checking if you are covered by insurance (e.g., associated with your bank card), and if not consider getting travel insurance. If coming from an EU country, remember to bring your European Health Insurance Card. If travelling alone, feel free to give the organisers the contact of someone we should reach in case of an emergency affecting you.
What will the event’s official language be?
IOCC brings together people from a wide diversity of countries, using English as our common language. All participants should therefore be reasonably fluent in this language, at least orally. Indeed, all workshops and activities in the programme will be in English, so that they can be attended by all participants.
Be mindful that there are different levels of English fluency among the participants, which creates a communication advantage for those who are more fluent. When people are expressing their emotions and feelings (as they often do in IOCC) it is even more difficult not being able to do so in one’s native tongue. So be empathetic and patient towards others with less fluency than you, giving them sufficient time to express themselves. If you speak multiple languages, consider helping with on-the-spot translation of a particular concept or idea if needed. And remember to speak clearly, not-too-fast, and avoiding jargon or too culturally-specific references to ensure that others can understand you.
Conversely, remember that English is the only language common to all the participants in the meeting. All workshops should therefore be in English, to ensure that all participants can participate. But even outside workshops, please make an effort to always speak in a language that can be understood by all the people present, to avoid creating language-specific groups that exclude other participants.
Can I bring my children?
Your baby (0-1 years old) will be welcomed, as long as you are responsible for them throughout the whole event. If so, please let us know in the pre-registration form, so that we can organise the sleeping quarters to minimise disturbance to other participants. If you are sharing a room with others, they will need to agree to it. There are no cots in the venue, so you would need to bring your own.
Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate older children.
I am looking for my n-th sweetheart, is this the right place to hook up with cool people?
Going to a meeting exclusively centred on non-monogamy will definitely give you more chances to find like-minded people than at the bar around the corner, and meeting new people is likely to be a nice side effect of participating in IOCC. Having said this, we want to state it clearly: this is NOT a dating event. Our goal is to get like-minded people together and have them (us) learn from each other about non-monogamous lifestyles. In other words, please feel free to socialize as much as you want but always with a lot of respect for other people’s boundaries (explicit or implicit)… Just like in “real” life! Read the code of conduct!
What about my privacy?
We will not pass on your details to anyone else. At the meeting you have the option of either introducing yourself under your real name or using a pseudonym. The code of conduct mandates that you must respect the privacy of other attendees. Nonetheless, you should be aware that we have no way of ensuring that other participants will respect your privacy; for all we know, some participants could be undercover journalists working for the tabloid press. So if you are not entirely public about everything you discuss at IOCC, you may wish for example to be guarded about your real name and other identifying details.
Note however that (as per the Spanish law), you will be asked by the Venue owners to give your real name and your Passport/ID number, as you would do if you were checking into a hotel. This information is collected and kept by the Venue owners for their own records.
I’m a journalist looking into poly: I’d like to create a well-researched and positive documentary. Can I come?
We would really appreciate if you could contact us first and tell us more about your project. Also, read the Privacy section in our code of conduct.
What’s the venue like? What are the sleeping arrangements?
Accommodation takes place in a very nice and cosy house, mostly in double rooms and a few small dorms. The house has a nice garden and a swimming pool, and plenty of indoor socialising space (see the Venue page for more details). There is wifi (not very strong, but it is there). Bed linen, blankets and towels are provided (but not toiletries).
What’s the food like?
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) will be provided from Friday dinner to Monday lunch. The food will be prepared by two cooks who will be in-house for the weekend and offer healthy and well-balanced menus mainly using organic ingredients. The main menu will be vegetarian, but always with vegan options. Non-gluten options will be provided for those who need them. We will also have a few non-vegan extras on the side. We are afraid we cannot cater for more specific requirements. If you have any specific food allergies please let us know and we will tell you in advance which specific meals may pose a problem to you; you should then plan accordingly by bringing a replacement for those meals. Let us know if you need access to a kitchen where you can cook and a fridge where you can store food.
Note that there is nowhere within walking distance from the venue where you will be able to buy food, so if there is something very specific you need make sure you bring it.
The cooks will cook, but it will be up to us to prepare the dining room before, serve the meals, and clean it up afterwards. So each participant will belong to a (pre-defined) team, and each team will be on duty just once, associated with a specific meal.
What about drinks?
Feel free to brink your own drinks: you will have access to fridge space to keep them. If you are arriving by train or bus, we will also give you the option of pre-ordering some wine and beer from us (we’ll buy it for you and then you will pay us back). Note that there is nowhere within walking distance from the venue where you can buy drinks.
Please drink responsibly: you need a clear mind to ensure that you respect the code of conduct at all times.
You’ll be able to do tea and coffee (filtered, drip-brew) at all times.
How can I help / get involved?
Awesome question! The basic answer is: if you’d like to see something done, make it happen! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Before the meeting: publicise and spread the word, reserve your place early, think about stuff you can contribute (especially workshops!), and think about organising shared rides with others from your city or area, as well as lifts from the station. After you register, you will be invited to join a Facebook group (just for the participants of each year’s IOCC) which is a good place to start bouncing ideas and offering and asking for help and advice regarding transportation.
During the event, you can organise a workshop and contribute to evening entertainments (more info here). You will be in a team charged with preparing before and cleaning up after a meal, and if you pay attention you will find many other opportunities to help keeping the place tidy.
More importantly, keep a eye on yourself and on the other participants to make sure everybody is doing well. Ask for support if you need it, and offer support to others if you think they need it. We are collectively responsible for contributing to creating a safe and welcoming environment.
How much does it cost?
We do our best to keep the meeting costs (mainly: accommodation and food) as low as possible. In 2020, the registration costs 160€/person. You will be offered the option to contribute an extra 30€ or 60€ to allow a participant with a low income to participate. Conversely, if paying 160€ would be an obstacle to your participation, you can apply for a 30€ or a 60€ discount.
This covers your share of the costs for accommodation (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and all meals from Friday dinner to Monday lunch. Because these costs need to be paid upfront, we ask everybody who wants to reserve a place to pay their share of the costs ahead (see the registration page).
What if I register and then I cannot attend?
Sorry, we cannot reimburse you. But we will keep a waiting list, and (unless you cancel at the last moment) odds are you will be able to pass on your reservation to someone else. We will put you in contact with people in the waiting list, but cannot guarantee they will be able to pay the price band as your ticket costed.
Acceptance of a replacement person is subject to confirmation by us, so please contact us to formalise the change before money changes hands.
What if the meeting needs to be cancelled?
If something really nasty happens and the meeting needs to be cancelled for reasons beyond our control (e.g., a natural or human-made disaster) we will reimburse you as much as we can. Note that the closer in date to the meeting, the less we would be able to reimburse you, because as organisation progresses we make more and more irreversible expenses (e.g., we need to pay a deposit on the accommodation months ahead; we need to buy the food days ahead). So when you reserve your place and pay for your share of the costs you are accepting to share this risk with us. Remember that organisers pay for their share of the costs too, so we’re all on the same boat.
Where does the money go?
The registration money goes almost completely to food and accommodation. Other expenses include: rental of the sound system for Saturday’s party, office consumables for the workshops, a few administrative charges. The organisers of IOCC make no profit whatsoever from this meeting: our work is on a totally volunteer basis (no-one is paid for their time) and we pay our share of the costs just like everybody else.
As organisers we have defined the “format” of the meeting (e.g., dates, language, code of conduct) and will provide the “shell” that makes the event possible (e.g. by booking the house and organising catering) but the event itself is a joint initiative of all participants. Hence, your registration fee is not a payment for a service: it’s the way in which you pay for your share of our common costs with food, accommodation, and activities.
What is the history of International OpenCon Catalonia?
IOCC has its roots in two events: International PolyWeekend Girona and OpenCon in the UK. International PolyWeekend Girona took place in May 2010. OpenCon UK ran from 2010 to 2014 in Dorset, having grown out of Polyday, which has been run in various cities in the UK over the last years. International OpenCon Catalonia took much of its structure and flavour from OpenCon UK.
Previous editions of IOCC took place from 2012 to 2019. The 2020 meeting will thus be the ninth edition.
Who runs this thing?
The initial 2012 meeting was an initiative of David, Sara, Ana and Michele who participated in OpenCon 2011 in England and enjoyed it so much that they decided to organize something closer to where they live. It built from an international “poly-weekend” David and Sara had also organized at their own place in the Catalan countryside a few years before. Luca and Aurélie joined the organisation in 2013. The 2014 meeting was organised by David, Aurélie, Michele, Ana, Sara, Ignacio, Luca and Andrea; in 2015, by David, Michele, Aurélie, Sara and Stuart; in 2016, by David, Michele, Aurélie, Sara, Stuart and Ana. Since 2017, it has been coordinated by David, Michele, Aurélie, and Ana.
We are simply a group of friends who enjoy working together and who want to give something back to the poly community. We have not been elected by anyone so we do not represent any broader group of people. Our guiding principle is that we organise a meeting that we ourselves want to attend, hoping that others will want to join us.
While we have decided the “format” of the meeting (dates, language, code of conduct) and arranged the “shell” that makes it possible (the food & accommodation, this web, the booking, etc.), we count on you all for creating the “content” (workshop, debates, shows and so on) plus helping out with the logistics during the event itself. We are also collectively responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all.
Any other questions?
If you have a question and cannot find the answer in this website, send us an email.