5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Nele Noppe Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Nele Noppe, who volunteers as a staffer in the Communications Committee and runs the OTW’s Fanhackers blog.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I work to make fan studies more accessible for fans (and fan studies researchers) mainly by posting quotes from fan studies articles on the Fanhackers site (which has a Tumblr mirror). There’s a ton of fan studies research happening on every topic, and much of that research contains important, new, or just plain interesting ideas that should find their way back to fans. However, it’s not always easy for people to find their way to fan studies work. That’s where we try to make a small difference.

Take the many articles published every year in our academic journal Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC). TWC is an open access journal, meaning that the articles in it are open and free to read for everyone on the internet. However, it’s not because something is free to read that people will also find their way to it. They may not hear about the article at all, because it’s not linked to in the spaces where they hang out. They may not have time to read a full-size academic article, which is pretty damn long. The article may be a bit inaccessible in other ways, for example because it uses a lot of obscure terminology (although many fan studies researchers are very good at not overusing jargon, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that they’re often fans themselves).

Publishing bite-sized quotes from these articles in fannish spaces like Tumblr is a way to draw eyeballs to them, and make it more easy for fans to discover important ideas from fan studies research.

(more…)

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Antonia

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Although juggling her PhD research and full-time work at two different institutions, Antonia nevertheless finds time to both attend and volunteer at fanzine events around Tokyo. Her current research interests include time travel themes in contemporary manga and “miritarii” dōjinshi fandom. Today, Antonia talks about what it’s like to volunteer for Comiket, a major dōjinshi convention held in Japan.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

Gosh, it depends on what you mean by fandom and fan works, but I guess it all starts with being drawn to (and gradually infatuated with) one or several original texts. For me those “texts” were Tezuka’s Astro Boy, TV Tokyo’s little known series Samurai Pizza Cats and ThunderCats. I guess I had a thing for androids and “animaloids.”

Like most kids, I enjoyed watching these shows, but you know, sometimes you reach a point when you feel like something in the original text is missing — that’s when you start searching for alternative interpretations or wind up creating them yourself. In my case, I was exposed to a bunch of cartoons and anime series and was fortunate enough to live pretty close to the only comic shop in my town so I got my hands on a lot of Marvel stuff too. So with all these different stories running through my head, I started doodling my own derivative works for fun from the age of nine or so. I hadn’t really thought about why I did it until now. I guess that this kind of fannish activity stems from not being 100% satisfied with a particular source text and wanting something “your way.”

(more…)

OTW Celebrates

International Volunteer Day

In 1985 the United Nations designated the 5th of December as International Volunteer Day, a day to celebrate and honor volunteerism in all countries. Given that the OTW has always existed solely because of the time and efforts of volunteers, we salute all of those, past and present, who have given their time to us.

Although the exact number changes from month to month, the OTW’s 595 active volunteers and volunteer-staff come from a number of countries across all timezones and serve in many different positions on our committees. While those committees have changed over time, what has kept them running, and thus our projects open to the public, is the dedication of many people giving freely of their time and talents. Without them there would be no AO3, Fanlore, Transformative Works & Cultures, Open Doors, or Legal Advocacy.

The OTW’s staffers and volunteers’ countless unpaid hours allow the OTW to make progress in its mission of providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan cultures while still operating on a minimal budget for projects of our size. Whether volunteers have joined us recently or have been with us for most of our nine years, we all owe you a huge thanks.

If you would like to know more about some of our volunteers’ experiences, check out our Five Things series for a look at the tasks that make up their weeks.