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

  • Robert Moses Peaslee Texas Tech University
  • Jessica El-Khoury Texas Tech University
  • Ashley Liles Texas Tech University
Keywords: Media anthropology, Media conduction, Media rituals


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.

Author Biographies

Robert Moses Peaslee, Texas Tech University
Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Electronic Media
Jessica El-Khoury, Texas Tech University
Doctoral Student, College of Media & Communication
Ashley Liles, Texas Tech University
Graduate Student and Part-time Instructor, College of Media & Communication.