Multimedia: Editorial

Alternative pedagogies at Fan Studies Network North America 2020

Lori Morimoto

FSNNA 2020 Co-organizer

[0.1] AbstractOverview of Multimedia section in TWC No. 35, "Fan Studies Pedagogies" (March 2021).

[0.2] KeywordsFSNNA 2020; Multimedia

Morimoto, Lori. 2021. "Alternative Pedagogies at Fan Studies Network North America 2020" [editorial]. In "Fan Studies Pedagogies," edited by Paul Booth and Regina Yung Lee, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 35.

[1] The planning committee for the 2020 Fan Studies Network North America (FSNNA) conference was only just beginning to map out the annual October meeting when much of US academia went virtual thanks to Covid-19. As such, we were in the fortunate position of planning the conference as a virtual event, so we immediately decided that we would attempt to exploit our online format as much as possible.

[2] As part of this, we invited proposals for posters, which we broadly defined as asynchronous presentations that could be posted online. Not knowing quite what to expect from presenters, our requirements were flexible. What we received exceeded our expectations. The stylistic leeway given to presenters resulted in a diversity of presentations, some of which appear here in this special Multimedia section. Video essays, infographics, zines—posters communicated complex information in visually compelling formats, generating the kinds of enthusiastic and productive conversations we usually have in the coffee shops, bars, and hallways of conference sites. In keeping with the conference's 24-hour clock, each poster was assigned its own channel (or forum) on the social media app Discord. These dedicated discussion spaces permitted people to comment asynchronously on individual posters throughout the conference.

[3] We're delighted to be able to share some of the posters featured at FSNNA 2020 here. The six submissions hint at the breadth of ways presenters approached the notion of a poster. Video submissions range in presentation style from expository to more revelatory and experiential, each making use of its visual elements in engaging and creative ways. Infographics, too, skillfully combine aesthetics and information in distilling scholarly work to a format that invites engagement. That much of the work here was produced by Brazilian academics further hints at the potential benefits of incorporating visual presentation formats into increasingly globalized conference and classroom spaces.

[4] Not only did these posters offer a tantalizing variety of presentational modes, but they also offer instructors different ways to engage student creativity in the classroom. For my part, I adapted the poster presentations to the course I was teaching that term, inviting students to submit their end-term projects as podcasts, video essays, websites, infographics, zines, and so on, all to equally satisfying ends. Particularly at a time when so many of us are suffering from videoconference fatigue as a result of the novel coronavirus, offering my students the flexibility to digitally engage with an object of interest, both visually and orally, revived interest in—and, critically, ownership of—their research in pedagogically rewarding ways.