OH!CONOH!CON first took place in 2022 as a small library event in the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. But the comic con was so popular, a group of volunteers got together to make it an annual event. A year later, OH!CON 2023 attracted almost 500 people enjoying a programme of activities inspired by comics, art, science fiction, fantasy, film, animation, gaming, design, prop making, cosplay and other creative pursuits.

Islanders have limited access to cultural events, due to the distance, time and cost of travelling to the mainland. So volunteers brought guest writers to the event, as well as offering drop-in sessions on LEGO-building, animation, art and cosplay competitions, and a range of activities such as mask-making and 3D-printing.

A highlight of the day was the ‘Cosplay Masquerades’, during which those who had come in costume, walked around the venue and winners received a prize. Costumes were almost all home-made from preloved clothing or recycled materials.

“OH!CON started out as a way to bring like-minded people together, but we were bowled over at the reception the con received,” says Kathleen Milne. “In a very traditional area where comic cons are not the norm, the event seemed to inspire people from all different backgrounds to attend. The event transcended so many barriers, and people came together regardless of culture, gender, age or neurotype. 

“The best thing about OH!CON was seeing young people unafraid to attend in costume, and feeling welcomed and safe. There tends to be a lot of bullying at schools in the isles, and in an area with a small population, it’s hard to be different, to be ‘yourself’. We truly believe that our event provides people with the space and confidence to be themselves and embrace their individuality through creativity.”

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