The media festival volunteer: Connecting online and on-ground fan labor

Robert Moses Peaslee, Jessica El-Khoury, Ashley Liles


In this initial attempt to bring volunteering, or what we call on-ground fan labor, into the ongoing discussion of fan productivity, we examine volunteer motivations as elicited through interview and participant observation data collected at a 2012 genre film festival, Fantastic Fest, held in Austin, Texas. This case study is a first step toward integrating the volunteer and fan labor literatures and interrogating the role of social capital and civic engagement in volunteerism. We conclude that the media festival (a term intended to encompass such sites as film festivals and fan conventions) is a site of particular and emergent importance for those studying the audience's increasing delivery of free labor.


Media anthropology; Media conduction; Media rituals

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Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), ISSN 1941-2258, is an online-only Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works. TWC is a member of DOAJ. Contact the Editor with questions.