OTW Signal, December 2023

Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

The New York Times recently quoted Fanhackers volunteer Francesca Coppa in a discussion of fan vidding:

These types of short videos — in which scenes from films and television shows are remixed by avid viewers and set to music — are known as fan edits or, simply, edits. In recent years, they have become a staple of online fandom, giving watchers an outlet to champion their beloved films, shows and celebrities…

“It’s a very personal kind of expressivity, a meditation on character where the music and the editing is meant to share the filmmakers’ — and they are filmmakers — readings,” said Francesca Coppa, a fandom scholar who teaches English and film studies at Muhlenberg College. “And then other people buy into those readings, like, Yes, I totally see that.”

Coppa co-edited a special issue of the OTW’s journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, in 2012 called “Fan/Remix Video” focused on academic discussion and analysis of vidding practices. As Coppa and her co-editors explain in their editorial, they “zoom in on questions foregrounded by the proliferation and mainstreaming of remix video over the past decade.”

Transformative Works and Cultures releases at least two issues a year, some of them general issues but others, like “Fan/Remix Video,” concentrating on specific themes. Its most recent themed issue, released this year (2023), is “Trans Fandom.”


The OTW received a request from Yiyang Liu, a fourth year student at the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University. Yiyang is conducting a research project, “LGBTQIA+ Identity Exploration and Expression Through Self-Insert Fanfiction” which will examine the experiences of queer and trans readers and writers with self-insert fanfiction. This research has received IRB approval and is being supported by Dr. Jolie C. Matthews, associate professor of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University.

If you are interested in taking part, interviewees for this project are being recruited via a screening survey. You must be 18 or older and reside in the U.S. in order to participate. Questions about the study can be directed to Yiyang Liu or to Dr. Jolie C. Matthews.

OTW Tips

If you’re inexperienced in fan studies but looking for a gateway into it, try the OTW’s Fanhackers project! The Fanhackers blog connects fans with academic research on fandom and encourages readers to engage with what they find. One such way is through the classics of fan studies series, written by our volunteer Maggie, which introduces readers to some of the authors and works referenced by many current fan studies works.


We want your suggestions for the next OTW Signal post! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or news story you think we should know about, send us a link. We are looking for content in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in an OTW post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Signal

Comments are closed.