Today we shine the spotlight on the OTW’s Internationalization & Outreach Committee (I&O). I&O serves as the Org’s diversity advisers, advocating for the representation of cultural, linguistic, and fannish diversity in the Org. Although their focus on specific projects may shift from year to year, I&O works with all committees and workgroups as needed.
For this Spotlight, we talked to Sole G. and Priscilla, two staff members in I&O. Sole G. is an Argentinian Literature student. Her main fandoms are Johnny’s Entertainment boybands and Avengers ( mainly the comics). She’s I&O’s co-chair and Category Change lead, as well as tag wrangler. Priscilla is a Brazilian postgrad studying in the UK. She’s a staffer in the Development and Membership and the Translation committees, and has been in way too many fandoms to mention.
What’s the typical day of an I&O staffer like?
Sole G.: I&O is not like other committees. We have no on-going tasks like Support or Tag Wrangling do. We consult with other committees about their projects.
Priscilla D.: And try to flag up instances of wording or practice to make them more accessible and inclusive. We’re sort of a meta-committee. Our bread and butter is helping in what other committees do.
What are some challenges you face in your work?
Sole G.: It can be difficult to keep up with everything that the OTW does and it can be difficult to coordinate with so many people.
Priscilla D.: We have to represent a very very plural perspective, and we’re by necessity limited. I can do my best to make things better for fans everywhere, but I’m limited by my Brazilian-ness?
What projects are you working on this term?
Sole G.: Our current projects are the cross-committee Category Change workgroup which addresses the fandom media categories in the AO3 and a planned series of posts spotlighting AO3 language features and content. New projects will arise as the year goes on. They always do.
And finally, what’s your favorite thing about being an I&O staffer?
Priscilla D.: I think the feeling that we actually have a voice. That we can change things. And seeing that the OTW takes inclusivity seriously.
Sole G.: For me it’s that as well, yes. That the OTW wants to be more inclusive and that we can change it. The OTW is very diverse already – we have fans from all over the world and from every kind of fandom – but it also helps to have a group of people specifically considering those issues.