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Salon: Online Spaces: The Present and Future of Virtual Fan Conventions

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Abstractpeer-review

Publication date13/10/2020
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventFan Studies Network North America Conference 2020 - Online
Duration: 13/10/202017/10/2020


ConferenceFan Studies Network North America Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleFSNNA 2020
Internet address


The first science fiction conventions were held in the 1930, long before the internet existed. Through these events, geographically distributed fans convened and shared their fandom in real-time, in a way that was otherwise impossible. The remit of conventions has since expanded dramatically, and now there can be other key functions such as commerce, or unique live experiences including interactions with celebrities. Conventions have long been hybrid digital/physical spaces. As a convention organiser in the 2000s, extra digital infrastructure had to be negotiated to keep fans online, beyond what non-fan events of a comparable size required. Digital tools can help coordinate events (e.g. Grenadine event planner), or may be used by organisers or participants for broadcast and widening participation, in sanctioned or unsanctioned ways (see Jacobs, 2018). Now, events which are unable to exist in physical spaces due to the pandemic are experimenting with solely online venues. However, the design and affordances of digital spaces can have an impact on the ways that interaction occurs within them. I am interested in examining the wide range of experiences that come under the banner of ‘convention’, whether digital spaces could or should attempt to replicate them, and how digital form affects function.