Posts in Education and Curriculum
Welcome back to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, did you know that it’s Copyright Week? Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have lined up a series of copyright-related topics for discussion throughout the week. Watch for the OTW’s Legal team posting about some of them!
The American Library’s Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries has a mission which involves identifying “emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve.” Included in their trends is an entry on fandom. In the “Why It Matters” section, they write “As cultural institutions that preserve and provide access to books, video, music, and an increasing array of media, fandoms may be obvious partners in promoting literacy, engagement with culture, and media creation. Fandom increasingly assumes active creation – writing, recording, drawing, remixing, role-playing – rather than just passive consumption of media. This could make it an important space for libraries to design programming and instruction around, especially in ways that promote Connected Learning that is highly social, interest-driven, hands-on, and production oriented.”
- Fan creators continue being confused about the legality of their work and clearly many don’t know where to turn for answers. Luckily OTW’s legal team keeps trying to get the word out. Two of our staffers appeared on the Fansplaining podcast and talked about “listener responses to the Wattpad episode, the purpose and projects of the Organization for Transformative Works, plagiarism vs. copyright infringement, and #FanworksAreFairUse.” Legal Committee Chair Betsy Rosenblatt said, “[T]here’s a sort of personal autonomy element to fandom that I think is a really important thing to preserve. Maybe not the only important thing to preserve, but a thing that matters, and I think that’s part of what mattered to the [Organization for Transformative Works].” (No transcript available).
A webinar presentation on Open Learning in Fan Fiction Communities was held at the Connected Learning site. Presented by several scholars from The University of Washington Information School, it discussed various aspects of fanfic communities, including a term they developed called ‘distributed affect’ which described “emotional experiences [that] could also be embodied outside a group and led to significant increases in collaborative creativity.”
DNAInfo reported on workshops that use Sci-Fi, Fan Fiction to Teach Girls STEM and Writing Skills. “‘A lot of the series that are popular today, like ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent,’ feature white characters…We think it’s really important to expose girls to visions of the future that have girls that look like them in leading roles doing the changing.’ The project’s namesake, author Octavia E. Butler, inspired the founders to use science fiction as a way to talk about broader issues in social activism, gender, class and race. ‘She looked at society through a real critical lens and didn’t sugarcoat anything…It blew me away because I never saw how sci-fi could be used to make me think of history and my own role.’”