By Siggy & Sennkestra, mirrored here
TL;DR: A blogging carnival is a regularly occurring event that collects submissions from bloggers and other creators on a single topic. One example is The Asexual Agenda’s Carnival of Aces. Now, we are excited to announce the launch of a new sister carnival, the Carnival of Aros. This February, both carnivals are holding a joint event hosted by The Ace & Aro Advocacy Project, which is now accepting submissions on the theme of “The Relationship Between the Aro and Ace Communities”. From March onwards, the Carnival of Aros will continue as an independent project, managed by Sennkestra, at its own website. If you would like to participate or help, see the section “How you can help” at the bottom.
How it all started
As many of you may know, The Asexual Agenda has long sponsored the Carnival of Aces, an asexual blogging carnival founded in 2011. Every month, a new blog hosts the carnival, meaning that they publicly declare a theme, and then collect submissions from bloggers and other creators on that theme. Recently, The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project (TAAAP) asked to host the Carnival of Aces on the theme of “The Relationship Between the Aro and Ace Communities”, as part of their rebranding effort. In response, we observed that the Carnival of Aces, while it is inclusive of arospec aces, does little to actively include arospec people specifically on the basis of their aromanticism. But perhaps there was some way it could?
For as long as internet asexual communities have been around, there has been discussion of asexuals who want romantic relationships, and those who don’t. This evolved into the modern concept of romantic orientations, including the aromantic spectrum identities and alloromantic identities. And over time, many non-aces began to find these identities useful for themselves as well.
In recent years, aromantic spectrum (arospec) people of all stripes created their own spaces where aromanticism is treated as a significant identity independent of a/sexuality. The earliest formal arospec communities can be dated to around 2012, when the AroPlane forums were founded. These communities offer space for anyone who wants to discuss the aromantic spectrum, whether ace or otherwise.
Arospec communities are now also getting official recognition from advocacy organizations that were previously focused primarily on ace issues. Aces & Aros, for example, is an initiative by the non-profit organization, Asexual Outreach. More recently, the Asexual Awareness Project has recently rebranded as The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project. These organizations are essentially making a promise to serve not just acespec communities, but also arospec communities. And while the organizations may not always be perfect, they make an effort to address their shortcomings as they are brought to light.
Back to the Carnival
Siggy, who was managing the Carnival of aces, briefly considered rebranding the Carnival of Aces to make it explicitly welcoming to folks who are more closely associated with arospec communities. But this would be making a promise, and he didn’t think the carnival would be able to uphold that promise to the extent that aro communities deserve. The carnival relies entirely on submitted content that he had little control over. It seemed likely that content from the arospec community would get lost among the usual more ace-focused submissions.
Sennkestra suggested that it would be far more helpful for there to be an independent Carnival of Aros, and she volunteered to manage it. This provides more space for the arospec community to be in the spotlight, and build its own archives. The very first thing that the Carnival of Aros is doing is holding a joint carnival, the carnival hosted by TAAAP this February. From March onwards, the Carnival of Aros will hold its own independent carnivals, with the support and promotion of the Carnival of Aces. The archives will be maintained on a new website dedicated to the Carnival of Aros.
Siggy: I, Siggy, am the current manager of the Carnival of Aces, and I was inspired by those organizations making steps to advocate for aro communities, and have put a lot of work into launching this Carnival of Aros. But I prefer to see myself not as a leader of my project, but a supporter of Sennkestra’s project. I myself am on the aro spectrum, but I am mostly known as a veteran of ace activism, not aro activism. Therefore, I corresponded with multiple aro bloggers to make sure we were doing it right. I would like to thank Laura G. from TAAAP, aroacepagans, arokaladin, and of course Sennkestra for giving feedback and helping to make this happen.
Sennkestra: I had once proposed a similar aro blogging project to this years ago, but between all my other projects I was spread too thin at the time, so it never went anywhere. But time has passed since then, and in addition to getting my own commitments more in order, the aro community itself has made leaps and bounds since then, so when we put our a few initial feelers we were able to get so much more interest and support. I’m really excited to see this project move forward, especially as a bit of an old timer that finds it hard to keep up with where all the good aro writing is these days – structured events like blog carnivals are much easier for me to follow these days, and I hope they will help a lot of other aros who also struggle to find and keep up with trends in aro blogging. I’m also really excited for the potential to help develop and inspire a whole new generation aro writers, and lift up a wider variety of voices and perspectives.
How you can help
This month, please take a look at TAAAP’s call for submissions, and consider participating! The Carnival of Aros is also looking for people to host the carnival (and select themes) in future months. Finally, in the long term, we would like to find someone (or someones) willing to eventually take over Sennkestra’s role of maintaining the carnival archives, and keeping track of carnival hosts. If you would be interested in helping maintain the Carnival masterpage, or if you have questions and would like to learn more about what’s involved, you can contact Sennkestra at firstname.lastname@example.org.