Seeing Fans, edited by Lucy Bennett and Paul Booth, is available now from Bloomsbury Academic (at extortionate monies, so beg your library). I have a chapter in this collection looking at the representation of mature female fans of male singers (e.g. Rod Stuart, Daniel O’Donnell) are betrayed in local and national newspapers. The collection itself is great-a real mixture of academic and industry insights into how fans are portrayed in different contexts.
A few weeks ago, I presented a paper at the celebrity studies conference in Amsterdam, written with Kathryn Murphy, one of my research students. In this paper we looked at newspaper representations of YouTube star Zoella. You can access the slides here. We are also presenting at the YouTube conference in Middlesex in September looking at how mainstream media are portraying YouTube stars.
I’ve also got an article available in Celebrity Studies on the ‘fame cycle’ and celebrity reality television, and this summer I’m completing work on ethics in fan studies and safe spaces in higher education as well as continuing work on gaming audiences and their relationship to corporations.
It has been a long time since I updated, and with good reason – I have two injured arms (ask me if you see me and I’ll tell you the story although most people I know have heard it many times by now!) and this has been limiting my ability to type, use computers, read etc somewhat. Perfect for an academic, right? Anyway, I will be adding my thoughts on IR16 which was in Phoenix just over a week ago, where I was part of a team involved in a whole stream of stuff on social justice – in broad terms – but I’ll tell you all about that soon.
Just adding an update because I discovered there’s been some Tumblr sharing of some stuff I said in an interview a couple of years ago about 1D fans – and young female fans in general – and it’s nice to see fans finding out that there are people – including the journalist who wrote the article – who are supportive of them and understand them when they feel they’re getting kicked. So if any of you are reading this, hello! The picture on this post is of my nails because nail polish is one of the things I’m a massive fan of myself (in the spirit of fan solidarity and all that) and I’m too tired to find anything else!
And for those interested in my fan studies stuff, I just recorded another TV interview about fans of (female) celebrities. I hope the edit is sensitive – I know there was one part where they were trying to look at the ‘darker’ side of fandom and my point was that collective action, whether for ‘good’ or ‘ill’ is not something that fans or the internet invented and so we can’t look to them as scapegoats for the nastier sides of human nature… anyway, if it doesn’t end up coming across that way… Trust me, I wasn’t cynical about fans – or even about celebrities – so we’ll see what makes the cut. I’ll alert people when it’s coming out, fortunately it’s for something pretty niche rather than a ‘tabloid’ type show, and the production team were lovely and seem to be on the same wavelength, so fingers crossed!
In terms of publications, I have a chapter on how the news media represents mature female fans of male singers coming up in Lucy Bennett and Paul Booth’s new edited book on Seeing Fans, of which, details to come. Am finishing up a few things on fans and anniversaries that I can’t say too much on right now, still slowly working on stuff on gaming fans and game companies that has gone beyond just The Sims series, although that’s still a core component. And no, the hashtag that will not be named is nothing to do with it thankfully…
The Selfie Researchers Network has been running for just over a year, and members of it have just contributed to a special section, edited by Nancy Baym and Terri Senft, in the latest issue of the International Journal of Communication (vol 9). Articles look at funeral selfies, selfies in different cultures, selfies and politics and much more. My own contribution (written with Shane Tilton) compares the #nomakeupselfie and #thumbsupforstephen selfie campaigns and explores how they were portrayed very differently in wider media – but don’t just read ours, there’s a whole heap of interesting stuff in the issue – and it’s all open access!
The current issue of the International Journal of Cultural Studies (May 2015: 18 (3)) is the one that Feona Attwood and I guest-edited on Moments of Transformation – it’s been available for a while via OnlineFirst but now it’s out ‘for real’. The collection comprises a range of short and long pieces on different ways of thinking about aspects of makeover and transformation, from the changing taglines of social media sites to the use of YouTube by trans* vloggers.
My own paper looks at the trend of the mid-late 00s and early 10s to combine reality TV makeover formats and religious/spiritual programming – the likes of The Monastery, Make Me a Muslim etc.
Contributors include the likes of Matt Hills, Tania Lewis, Meredith Jones and Jean Burgess and we think it’s a nice mixture of topics and approaches. Sadly it’s not open access but hopefully you can find ways and means… 😉
Neighbours Cluedo from Art of Neighbours
I’ve got chapters/papers in a couple of publications that were released in the past few days. Bethan Jones and Wickham Clayton recently edited a special issue of Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media about transmedia board games. I have a wee piece about The Art of Neighbours in there, but the range of articles is really great – not just cult/fantasy stuff but it features things like Charlie Chaplin, Battleship and the Wizard of Oz. It was a great project to be involved in and I know a few things are being written on board games at the moment so I look forward to seeing where this burgeoning field goes…
I’ve also got a chapter in The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures (edited by Linda Duits, Joost de Bruin and Stijn Reijnders) about the research I did on Cliff Richard and Belle and Sebastian fans in the early 2000s and early 2010s. The book covers a wide range of topics, eras and methodologies and I can’t wait to read it.
And, as I suspect I’m getting a bit of traffic from Sims fans at the moment, just an update on the Sims 4 research – my pre-release survey will be live until Monday if you still want to complete it. The post-release survey should be up within a week of the game’s release (it hasn’t been written yet as I want to adapt questions to what’s known to be in the game after it comes out, not just the pre-release news/rumours/trailers etc). I know a lot of people have said in the pre-release that they’re not buying it, but I hope those people will still fill in the post-release survey. The survey will essentially take two ‘tracks’ – one for those who’ve purchased it and one for those who haven’t (yet) and the findings will be compared to the pre-release data. Almost 800 surveys have been completed. Some of the raw data will be made available late September when I present a paper at the Fan Studies Network conference on it, but it’ll take a while to process everything (especially all the qualitative comments). Number and nature of the publications based on it TBC but I’m also committed to some non-Sims and non-fan studies papers in 14/15 (plus creating new modules for SHU) so I will have to write those first!
I co-edited (with Sarah Harman and Bethan Jones) the current special issue of Sexualities journal (December 2013, 16 (8)) which is all about the Fifty Shades phenomenon.
My own paper is a co-authored piece with Clarissa Smith looking at audience responses to the books, whilst Sarah and Bethan look at snark responses. We’ve also got contributions from the likes of Meg Barker, Alex Dymock, Feona Attwood and Caroline Walters, IQ Hunter, Deborah Whitehead, Angie Tsaros and Amber Martin. It’s open access until March, so go and read!