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30 April 2018

Gifcon 2018

Last week I attended the awesome Gifcon International Fantasy Conversations! This is an exciting new academic conference, now in its second year, hosted by Dr Rob Maslen and the English Literature: Fantasy MLitt at the University of Glasgow.
I had a presentation to give for end of semester on Friday, so I didn't get to see everything, but I got to see a lot!
     People came from all over the world for this conference - really the first of its kind. I spoke to people who had travelled from as far away as Los Angeles and Oregon! And why not, when the conference began here.
You know you're going to have a good day when your first view looks like this.
The keynotes were by Dr Dimitra Fimi, whose topic was "In the blood and in the landscape: escaping (into) the "Celtic" past in contemporary children's fantasy", and Dr Will Slocombe, whose topic was "There is No Escape from Here (Wherever Here Is): Fantasies of Control in Fictions of Artificial Intelligence. Yeah. They were fabulous!
     After that we broke into three options, each with three panels. Rob is my 3rd supervisor and asked me to Chair the Panel 1 Group with Rachael Grew ("The fantastical costumes of Leonor Fini"), Gill Sampson ("Exploring the role of illustration in picture books at the intersection between fantasy, imagination and meaning"), and Alexandra Gushurst-Moore ("Escape to the country: examining the role of natural imagery in late nineteenth century British fantasy art"). Here's Gill giving her talk—she's an illustrator like me!
I loved seeing a fellow classmate give her first talk (during her first year of study no-less!). Here's Callie Coogle talking about "Chasing your Demons: How Fantasy is Filling the Spiritual Void and Becoming the New Religion." It was a great talk and full of dementors!
All of the talks had these amazing titles and were given by amazing minds. I wish I could have seen them all, but there were just too many and I had a presentation to give for a class final right in the middle of it. Although I did return at the end. I think my fave panel was the very last one: Sarah Tytler on "Exeunt Stage Left, Pursued by the Patriarchy: Young Women Protagonists in Portal-Quest Fantasies"; Lucinda Holdsworth: "Weak as Women's Magic": The Domesticity of Women's Magic"; and Anna Köhler: "Wayward Women as Wicked Witches: Negotiating Gender Roles Through Fantasy"—right up my alley! It's a terrible picture, but you get the idea of what a panel looked like when it came to Q&A time (this is Callie's panel).
And we got to experience all of this on the amazingly beautiful University of Glasgow campus where random doorknobs look like this:

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