Creating Community in Fandom Series of Events

Piscataway Public Library was recently awarded funding from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to support Piscataway Stories: Our Community. This project consists of public events, a community exhibit, and updates to the Library’s Local History Collection.

One such community is a fandom.  A fandom is a community that embraces a band, movie, TV show, or sports team – as well as the other fans who love them, too. These fandoms contain their own culture, rules, and jokes that cultivate community engagement because their members are passionate about the same subject.

We’re going to celebrate what brings fandom communities together and why, with a series of events!  We hope you join us.

 

 

October 13 – 20

One of the largest fandoms in the world is Star Wars, an epic space opera multimedia franchise created by George Lucas in 1977. This saga gave women a stronger voice in science fiction through the character of General Leia Organa. Leia’s impact cannot be understated, as her voice and memory have become a rallying cry for a generation of women.

From October 13-20 we will make available to those who register FREE access to Looking for Leia, a seven-part docu-series about women as well as non-binary fans who found identity, connection, and purpose in their love of the galaxy far, far away.

Saturday, October 16, 1:00 PM

Literary fandoms (including graphic novels and comic books) are among the most fervid and give rise to and sustain some of the most avid fans – Potterheads, Ringers, Sherlockians, etc. Unfortunately, many of these fandoms, whatever the medium, are often highly segregated and under-represent the communities that love them.

We’re going to talk about what brings fandom communities together and why, even in our mutual love for our favorite stories and characters, we separate ourselves from one another in direct contravention to the “rules” of fandoms and the reasons we seek community within them.

Join our panel discussion on inclusion in graphic novels featuring:

  • David Crownson, author of Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer series of graphic novels.
  • Nico J. Vasilo, author of Kid Riot graphic novel series.
  • Robyn Smith, cartoonist (The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town) and illustrator of Nubia: Real One, which was recently nominated for a Harvey Award.
  • Caitlin Yarsky, artist for many comics including Black Hammer, Bliss, and Coyotes.

Each panelist will share their story, answer questions prepared by our moderators, and then interact directly with the audience for a Q&A session.

Saturday, October 16, 7:00 PM 

We’re going to celebrate what brings fandom communities together and why, with a night of trivia!  There are too many fandoms to count, so we’ve narrowed our categories down to the most popular.  So get out your sonic screwdriver, lightsaber, or wizarding wand, and let’s see if you can prove your geek cred.

Categories include:

  • Star Trek Wars (Star Trek and Star Wars)
  • Illustrated (comics, graphic novels, and manga)
  • Animated (cartoons and anime)
  • Gaming (video, board, and tabletop)
  • Literary (anything that started as a book)
  • Miscellaneous (where you’ll find the truly obscure)

Monday, October 18, 7:00 PM

Unfortunately, many fandoms, whatever the medium, are often highly segregated and under-represent the communities that love them.

We’re going to talk about what brings fandom communities together and why, even in our mutual love for our favorite stories and characters, we separate ourselves from one another in direct contravention to the “rules” of fandoms and the reasons we seek community within them.

Join our panel discussion on women in fandom featuring:

  • S.R. Toliver, Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Colorado Boulder, created Diverse Futures, a site dedicated to promoting science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, etc.
  • Cin’ Von Quinzel, a plus-sized cosplayer, self-taught costume maker, and alternative model based out of New York whose creations span multiple fandoms including, comic books, anime, video games & more.
  • Sydney Amanuel is an actor and artist from New York with projects ranging from film to photography and whatever else she can get her hands on. You can also find her hosting and writing on The Leaderboard, the largest channel on YouTube dedicated to inclusive gaming for the casual gamer, and on the Glass Cannon Network.
  • Sue Kisenwether is one of the hosts of Women at Warp, a groundbreaking bi-weekly podcast committed to examining Star Trek from a feminist perspective, and exploring Intersectional Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
  • Stitch is a writer, critic, and commentator on various topics within many fandoms, particularly the representation of queer women of color. She has contributed to TeenVogue and other online publications.

Each panelist will share their experiences followed by a slate of prepared questions and then an audience Q&A.

Wednesday, October 20, 7:00 PM

Join us as we discuss the screening of Looking for Leia, a seven-part docu-series about women as well as non-binary fans who found identity, connection, and purpose in their love of the galaxy far, far away.