From the 29th of November till the 1st of December I was in Norwich. Norwich is a very nice city, it has a huge cathedral, there are nice restaurants, and the city centre is old and feels cosy. But, those things, I only saw in passing, since my actual reason for visiting Norwich was a symposium. It was the first meeting of the Fan Studies Network, an initiative launched to bring fan scholars (from all over the world) closer together and this get together was a very successful (first!) happening. I had fun, I learned a lot and saw some amazing talks.
Not only the key note of Matt Hills, who was the opening speaker, but also later on during the day many interesting subjects and presentations could be seen (see the program here). I found particularly the Celebrity and Textualities sessions interesting: in the first papers were discussed about Celebrity fandoms (e.g. boy band One Direction’s apparent slash relation, or the fandom of a particular person and Mark Duffett who presented on hurt/ comfort fics), whereas the Textualities session highlighted research on expectations, ontologies, second screeners and canon/fanons. It was especially interesting to see so many people working on the same subject, still offer so diverse views and visions on the topic of fans and fandoms.
I participated in the Speed Geeking session: a session aimed at gaining feedback for your research (idea). It was fun to switch tables 8 times (ah well, 6 because a few things went wrong;)) and pitch my idea and hear so many thoughts on my idea/ topic. It definitely brought out some weaknesses and strengths in the way I currently set up my idea and was very helpful in not overlooking certain elements. Hopefully next year I’ll do a ‘regular’ presentation, but I would commit to doing another speed geeking session anytime. And to conclude.. a nice little picture of a bus full of fan studies scholars!