Worldcon 2019 Schedule

If any of you are coming to Worldcon in Dublin next month, here’s where I’ll definitely be:

Academic track: Decolonising
15 Aug 2019, Thursday 15:30 – 16:20, Odeon 6 (Academic) (Point Square Dublin)

1. Natalie Ingram – ‘History Through Fantasy’s Western Window’
2. Professor Fiona Moore – ‘Comparing Colonialisms in The Terror’
3. BE Allatt – ‘Questioning Mononormativity: Love, Sex, and Relationships on McDonald’s Luna’

So you want to write a SFF stage play

Format: Panel
16 Aug 2019, Friday 13:30 – 14:20, Alhambra (Point Square Dublin)

Writing for the stage uses a particular set of skills. What does it take to create a solid script? How does it differ from any other writing process? What special considerations are needed when including science fiction and fantasy elements? Our panellists will share tips and tricks on adapting between mediums for the stage, how to create believable characters, and how to write great dialogue.

Grappling with the post-colonial in SFF

Format: Panel
16 Aug 2019, Friday 17:00 – 17:50, Wicklow Room-1 (CCD)

Over the last 500 years, cultures and histories have been forever altered by colonial expansion. Although many former colonies have gained independence, their peoples still grapple with the effects of colonisation. Can post-colonial SFF help to heal the past? How do post-colonial SFF authors reconcile the many facets of their identities in their work, and what do they want their audiences to know?

Audio dramas and radio plays

Format: Panel
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 19:00 – 19:50, Liffey Room-1 (CCD)

With the rise of paying markets like Big Finish Productions and Audible Theater, a new era in professional audio theatre has dawned. But how do you go about writing or recording an SFF audio drama or radio play – and are they even the same thing? In this suddenly booming industry, where do you start? And what is the demand for this type of work?

Autographs: Sunday at 12:00

Format: Autographing
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 12:00 – 12:50, Level 4 Foyer (CCD)

Carrie Vaughn, Amal El-Mohtar, Dr Anna Smith Spark , Professor Fiona Moore, Gareth Powell, Paul Anthony Shortt

I’ll also be at the NewCon Press book launch on Saturday, 17 Aug 17:30-18:30, room TBA.

A Blast From The Past

Turned up a surprise on YouTube the other day: apparently, not only did they record my keynote speech at Kristu Jayanti College (Bangalore/Mangaluru) in 2015, but they posted the video on Youtube!

Here’s me talking about anthropology and business, on a hot and humid but rather lovely day.

Forthcoming appearance: Field Methods in Management Research

On 26 February I’ll be a speaker at Field Methods in Management Research, a free showcase & training day hosted by Imperial College Business School. It’s aimed at helping businesses understand how they can work with researchers for the benefit of their organisations.

Friends/colleagues in industry, this would be a good thing to flag up to your HR/R&D managers.

Information & Registration via EventBrite.

I’m writing for the Black Archive

It’s official! Obverse Books’ The Black Archive series, which is a collection of book-length in-depth examinations of every Doctor Who story from 1963 to the present, has announced that I’ll be writing their volume on The Robots of Death, which will be coming out in 2020.
More details closer to the time!

 

On lanyards and personal identity

A friend recently observed that the current trend for wearing lanyards with ID cards seems to have aspects of identity performance: a way of visually indicating that you have a job, that you belong somewhere. That’s certainly true, but it can be rather complicated.

In 2012, I was working at a London university which had a noticeable occupational divide regarding lanyards and ID cards: Admin staff wore them, faculty did not. Both groups used their ID cards about as often as each other, but faculty generally carried them in wallets or pockets.

Then came the London 2012 Olympics. Before the event, orders came down that everyone on staff– regardless of pay grade– had to wear their ID card on a lanyard at all times, for security reasons.

Well, I thought, this will be interesting.  Because I was certain this divide was one of those things that isn’t a conscious part of your identity performance, but that is important nonetheless, and when you disrupt those, people are often uncomfortable in ways they can’t explain (Kate Fox, in Watching The English, is worth reading for how she explores and exploits this sort of social reaction). So I decided to watch what happened.

Sure enough, faculty dutifully put their ID cards on lanyards… and carried them in their hands. Or pockets. Or put them on just long enough to get from their office to the classroom before taking them off and leaving them to the side.

For my own part, even being aware of all this… I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable myself when I put on my lanyard. Like I was dressing up as something I wasn’t. I noticed that, like all the faculty, I was taking it off as often as I could. I knew why, but it wasn’t stopping me doing it.

What’s to take away from all this? Partly that organisational identity’s a complicated, organic thing that can be expressed in unexpected ways. But also that even something as seemingly neutral as wearing a lanyard can take on significance, and, when that happens, it’s a good idea to pay attention.