OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Naomi Jacobs

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.

Naomi Jacobs is an interdisciplinary Research Fellow, whose work looks at how technology and society interact. In addition to her purely academic writing, she has also co-written two books in the Black Archive series, which takes critical looks at individual episodes of Doctor Who. The second of these (on Kerblam!) is due to be released in November 2019. Today, Naomi talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures on fan conventions.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

My first experience of fandom was in 1995, when I was about 14, and came about because I noticed a sign in a local gift shop. It was advertising a painting demonstration by Clarecraft, a company that made figurines of the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I’d had been reading these books avidly for a number of years, so of course went along.

The lovely lady I met that day was Isobel Pearson, who alongside her husband Bernard (known to Discworld fans as The Cunning Artificer) founded Clarecraft. She told me they were hosting a fan gathering in the summer at their headquarters in rural Suffolk, and encouraged me to come along. Attending that event was my introduction to Discworld fandom, and led to me attending (and eventually helping run) many conventions and events.

Around the same time, we got our first modem at home and I discovered the internet. I was also a big fan of The X-Files at the time, and found a forum where I made many friends, one of whom introduced me to the concept of fanfiction, and got me interested in the (at that time niche) fandom for Doctor Who. We’re still friends! Read More

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Brianna Dym

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.

Brianna Dym is an information science PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she works in the Internet Rules Lab (IRL) with Dr. Casey Fiesler. She investigates norms in online communities and ways in which different minority groups carve out spaces for themselves online, in addition to researching how vulnerable users might empower themselves through existing technology platforms. Today, Brianna talks about her recent article in Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) that was co-authored with Casey Fiesler.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

When I was a young teenager, a friend mentioned the website and I got curious enough to go check it out for myself. I spent a lot of time reading, since I was quiet and shy, and I could never find books that had the kinds of characters I wanted to read about, such as queer women like myself. Read More

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Rebecca Black & Jonathan Alexander

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.

Jonathan Alexander is Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of California Irvine. The author, co-author, or coeditor of 16 books, he writes frequently about literacy, multimedia and digital forms of composing, and issues of social difference and justice. Rebecca Black is an Associate Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She studies the role of digital media and popular culture in how young people learn, develop, and play. Today, they talk about their recent collaboration studying fanfiction.

How did you first find out about fandom or fanworks?

JA: I’ve long been a fan myself, particularly of science fiction and SF film and television, and have written in the past as (what Henry Jenkins calls) an “acafan” — an academic who also studies fandoms and the popular genres that we enjoy in our “private” lives. I’ve written about comics, graphic novels, SF, and most recently young adult fiction. In my most recent scholarly book, Writing Youth: Young Adult Fiction as Literacy Sponsorship, I look at how many young adult novels model for young people ways to manage the various media tools that surround them. But I also examine the kinds of media content — including short films or video trailers —- that young people make in response to their favorite Young Adult (YA) novels and narratives. I’m interested in how young people use popular narratives -— from Hunger Games to Harry Potter — to think about their lives, their worlds, and their futures.

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