FanLIS 2021 Speakers

Speakers confirmed for FanLIS: Building Bridges, to be held on 20th May 2021, at City, University of London, are shown below in alphabetical order by surname.  The Programme Schedule is now available.

Please note that the following details are subject to change.

Aris Emmanouloudis

Twitch Played Pokémon: A Niche Community Still Remembers

In 2014, an anonymous user began streaming on a modified version of the game Pokémon Red, which could be controlled by the stream viewers. Soon enough, the viewers had developed communities, along with a plethora of memes, jokes, and fanfiction based on the events of the stream. In addition, multiple hubs were created with the objective to document and archive the stream’s history, records, and even contributions from the fanbase.

Nowadays that the stream’s popularity has dropped, there still remains a niche audience bent on maintaining the stream and the community’s ideals, through the use of in-game references, social media postings, and fan art among others. More remarkable is the fact that despite significant changes to the scope and orientation of the community, those archives are still respected by members of the community.

In this presentation, I examine how the Twitch Plays Pokémon case transcends the regular case of user-generated fan art, and becomes an example of pure fan-generated narrative. I also look at its effect on hacking cultures and the video game streaming industry in total, while also reflecting on its current status of declined popularity, and the tools used by the few remaining members to keep the community alive, often through references to the past, archived material.

Aris Emmanouloudis is a PhD candidate on Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. Having finished his MA degree on Media Studies, he began his research on tactics of resistance in on-line cultures of video game fandom. He has also worked as a teaching assistant for a course on games and game studies, and has been curating and organising lectures on various issues around video games and popular culture.

Twitter: @ArgyEmm

Zoltán Kacsuk

Japanese Visual Media Graph: Providing researchers with data from enthusiast communities

The Japanese Visual Media Graph (JVMG) project (, funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), seeks to develop a queryable database aimed at academic researchers interested in Japanese anime, manga and games with data aggregated from several online fan communities.

Central to the achievement of this goal is a data harvesting workflow that involves working directly with the fan communities to obtain and learn about their data and its existing structure, and a data modeling workflow to create a single unified data model and ontology that is able to both work with and establish connections between the heterogenous fan data.

Though much of the data is available through APIs or similar methods, in working with the communities directly, we have gained a deeper insight into their own unique data modeling decisions, e.g. how connections between related objects are made and represented, or the level of granularity of their tags. Using this knowledge, our own data model is being created in a way that accurately represents the way fan communities view and understand data surrounding Japanese visual media, while also being extensible enough to enable researchers to explore the data in ways that facilitate their needs.

Zoltan Kacsuk holds a doctoral degree in manga studies from Kyoto Seika University. He is a project member in the Japanese Visual Media Graph project, Institute for Applied Artificial Intelligence, Stuttgart Media University, and is also a part-time research fellow at the Department of Government and Public Policy, Institute for Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences.

Alice M. Kelly

Canon, Canons and Anti-Canonicity: Queer Cultural Memory and the Textuality of Swan Queen ‘#fic recs’ on Tumblr

Anti-canonicity is an essential characteristic of fan fiction archives because fan fiction runs fundamentally counter to canonical ideals of textual boundaries. How, then, is the innately anti-canonical nature of digital fan archives affected by canon-building on Tumblr in the form of ‘#fic rec’ posts? The fic rec tag is a way for users to circulate recommended fan fiction reading lists for particular fandoms, writers or themes. The fic recs I will look at concern the Once Upon a Time (OUaT) femslash ship Swan Queen, the pairing of Emma Swan and Regina Mills (the Evil Queen). These fic recs are canon builders, both in the sense that they operate as reading lists, but also in the sense of shaping an alternative canon to OUaT. When certain narrative arcs are used as marker points to collate and group fics, such as ‘Neverland’ or ‘Dark Swan’, the weight of the overarching heteronormative machinery that dominates OUaT is redistributed, so that major plots are re-inscribed as signifiers for queer transformative works. By treating Swan Queen fic recs as texts in their own right, this paper explores the multiplicity of queer female desires being circulated, curated and memorialised in digital cultural memory.

Alice M. Kelly is a digital scholarship postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Her project, ‘Winking Back: Femslash Fan Fiction as Literature of Queer Survival in the Digital Age’, situates femslash fandom within lesbian literary history. She has recently published on Grace and Frankie fan fiction’s feminist citational practices, as well as the affective history of ‘happy endings’ in Carol fan fiction. She is co-organising the Queer Representations: Pasts, Presents and Futures conference at the University of Edinburgh in May 2020 (keynotes: Prof Richard Dyer and Dr Abigail De Kosnik).

Twitter: @Alice_M_Kelly

Jasmine Kershaw

The Animated Princess as Cultural Icon: a Royal Legacy from the Disney Corporation

The Walt Disney Company is one of the largest corporations in the world, pulling in over $69 billion in revenue during 2019 alone. Disney now owns intellectual property spanning from childhood favourites like Winnie the Pooh to the decidedly unwholesome Fight Club, along with the Marvel and Star Wars juggernauts. But the most enduring legacy of Disney could be the group of animated characters who make up the Disney Princess pantheon.

The evolution of the Disney Princess holds up a mirror to the developing views of women’s place in the world over the course of the 20th and into the 21st century. This paper will give a brief overview of the Princesses’ place at the heart of Disney’s corporate identity; we will explore how the relatively passive damsel-in-distress Princesses of Disney’s early output became increasingly outdated during the second half of the 20th century, and how the rise of ideological feminism has influenced the characterisation of contemporary Princesses. How have Disneyphiles’ views of (and interactions with) the Disney Princesses changed over time? And do these changes reflect back at Disney, causing the corporation to alter their own, official portrayals of the classic Princesses more than 80 years after their creation?

Jasmine is a bit of a Disney freak: if you asked her to re-enact Beauty and the Beast (1991) from beginning to end, she could… please ask her! Jasmine brings a similar passion to all of her interests, and, as a current City, University of London MSc Library Science student, hopes that her career change from food entrepreneurship to the world of information will be a successful one.

Twitter: @notprincessjaz

J. Nicole Miller

“I Know What I’m About”: Fanfiction and the Information-Seeking Behaviors of Teenage Readers

Teens in fandom today have more platforms than ever to choose from when it comes to reading fanfiction. These platforms often differ wildly in terms of how a user can search and browse for stories to read, and as such, teen readers may have developed higher-than-average search literacy skills in order to find fanfiction that they are interested in reading. By identifying the information-seeking behaviors that young people exhibit within fanfiction communities, we might find ways to help them search for and identify traditionally-published fiction that will interest them by either revamping library databases to make them more user-friendly and easily navigable or by developing tools to help teens improve their search literacy skills. We can also find new ways to connect with teenage library patrons by supporting fans who write, create art, make videos or podcasts, or engage with other types of fan content creation. This presentation will take a look at data collected from interviews with young adult readers reflecting on their experiences as teens in fandom and the various search methods they used to find both fiction and fanfiction to read.

J. Nicole Miller is a graduate student studying library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of interest are youth, media, and fan studies. She has been in love with fandom since she first stumbled onto it at the age of 10 and hasn’t looked back. Her current work examines the information-seeking behaviors of young adults in fandom. She will begin working toward her Ph.D. in the fall of 2020.

Twitter: @jnmillerLIS

Colin Porlezza

Filling the Gap: An Exploration into the Theories and Methods Used in Fan Studies

Interdisciplinarity involves the interaction, combination and integration of theories, concepts and methods across different disciplines – and fan studies are commonly seen as an interdisciplinary field of research. This contribution wants to shed light on the question of interdisciplinarity by investigating contemporary notions of theory and methods used in discipline-related scholarly journals. Particularly with regard to the methods used in research, on the one hand there is a lack of a “distinct” body of methodological approaches, while on the other hand there is a wide variety of methods that include quantitative, qualitative, archival, legal, textual, and community-centered methods with more or less rigor – which poses a challenge when it comes to questions of compatibility and interdisciplinarity. To fill this gap, the contribution looks at two of the most internationally acknowledged journals dedicated to fan studies – Transformative Works and Culture and the Journal of Fandom Studies – and presents the findings of a metadata analysis of the article keywords as well as of a content analysis of 50 randomly selected abstracts in order to investigate the dominant theoretical approaches and methods used in the published articles.

Dr Colin Porlezza is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Journalism with City, University of London and a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Media and Journalism at the University of Lugano in Switzerland. His research focuses mostly on the hybridization and datafication of digital journalism as well as media accountability and ethics. He has also been looking specifically into the interrelations between journalism and fan studies. He is currently a Board member of the Swiss Association of Communications and Media Research.

Twitter: @herdingbehavior


Paul Thomas

How Adventure Time Fans Understand the ‘True’ Producer: A Close Analysis of Two Encyclopedic Fan Texts

Ever since the show’s debut in 2010, fans of the Cartoon Network (CN) animated series Adventure Time—following the fantastical exploits of “Finn the Human” and “Jake the Dog”— have produced myriad fanworks. One such category is the encyclopedic fan text, which requires fans to document (rather than expand upon) the source material. In this presentation, I will examine a debate that arose simultaneously on Wikipedia and the Adventure Time Wiki about how the show’s final few seasons should be ordered, divided, and thus documented “correctly.” I argue that conflicts like this occur when editors recognize more than one official “producer,” and these conflicts end only when a majority of editors recognize a single, “true” producer—a decision usually grounded in the epistemology of the site in question. The purpose of this analysis is therefore to expand the Price model of fan information behavior (2016) by showing that the category of “producer” is more complex than many might initially assume.

Paul Thomas is a library specialist at the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS, USA) and a PhD student at Emporia State University (Emporia, KS, USA). He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology & Classics from the University of Kansas (2015), and a Master of Arts degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago (2016). His research focuses on the intersection of LIS, fandom studies, and Wikipedia research.

Twitter: @PaulThomas1992

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