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'On a scale of 1-5, what floor are you on?’ Emergence, Fun and Transformative Play by Fans, for Fans

MACCALLUM-STEWART, Esther (2020) 'On a scale of 1-5, what floor are you on?’ Emergence, Fun and Transformative Play by Fans, for Fans. In: Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research Seminar SEries, 4th March 2020, Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University.

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Abstract or description

This talk presents the early stages of research about the ways in which people create games to play in order to diffuse negative or boring situations. These games may not have a point, may be transient, impractical and serve no purpose outside their immediate context. Nevertheless, they persist.

In 2019, I was involved in what was by then a 5 year project to bring the 85th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), to Dublin, Ireland. This was the first time that Worldcon, a volunteer run fan convention with an emphasis on literary science fiction and fantasy (SFF), had come to Ireland. Worldcon hosts the annual Hugo awards, the Oscars of science fiction, and Dublin 2019 also hosted nearly 4500 fans during its five day event. Rather like a conference, Worldcon involves hundreds of panels, discussions, talks, signings, parties and events. It is a raucous, riotous celebration of all things 'SFFnal'.

Worldcon is also, like every event of its nature, subject to problems - some specific to the convention itself, others a result of accidental error or poor planning. It is up to the volunteer team to act to solve these issues, be they during the convention, prior, or sometimes even following the event.

Fans, I argue, are like (or simply are) gamers for whom play, experimentation and fun are hardwired into their experiences of public events such as these. This talk starts to examine the ways in which these two - often merging - communities can be critically understood, and how playfulness can be expanded into a wider sphere of experiential troubleshooting.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Additional Information: For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Games and Visual Effects
Event Title: Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research Seminar SEries
Event Location: Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University
Event Dates: 4th March 2020
Depositing User: Esther MACCALLUM-STEWART
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2020 15:07
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2020 15:07
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/6443

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