I have spoken on a number of panels at Nine Worlds over the past few years and would love to expand out into other conferences and conventions. I am a trained public speaker with 7 years experience. If you’re interested in inviting me to speak at your event, or producing a piece of writing on any of the below topics, then please check out my portfolio below and get in touch via my contact form.
Dublin 2019, World Con
August 15th-19th 2019
Introduction to Own Voices
16 Aug 2019, Friday 11:00 – 11:50, Liffey Hall-2 (CCD)
The term Own Voices is used to refer to works which contain characters from a marginalised group, such as the disabled community or native peoples, and are also written by a member of that group. Our panel will give an introduction to Own Voices SFF literature, and offer up reading recommendations.
The Popularity of Livestreaming Games
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 18:00 – 18:50, Liffey Room-1 (CCD)
One of the most common reactions we hear when talking about livestreaming is: ‘You want to watch other people play games? Why?!’ On this panel, we discuss why streaming on platforms like Twitch or Critical Role has been exploding in popularity in recent years.
In the Background: Class in YA Fiction
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 19:00 – 19:50, Liffey Room-2 (CCD)
For too long, with honourable exceptions, the ‘generic’ YA protagonist was white, non-disabled, cishet, middle class. In recent years, YA is working hard to become more inclusive. But what does class mean in YA fiction? (And, perhaps, in access to books?) Are there role models for people from every background? And is it easier to deal with a fictional class system than a real one?
Anthropology in London Day 2019 on the theme of ‘Turbulence’
18th June 2019
“Is What You’re Doing Really Anthropology?”: Anthropological Research in an Increasingly Digital World
When I reveal to people that my anthropology thesis is on single player video game narratives, I’m often met with surprise and confusion. What do video game narratives have to do with anthropology? How will I ‘make’ my research anthropological? As a discipline, anthropology is still fairly traditional in its approach to research and what methods it uses. Yet rapidly shifting attitudes, politics and perceptions from both within and outside anthropology provide space for us to confront and reconfigure these boundaries; carving out spaces for alternative methodologies and voices which disrupt anthropological tradition.
Drawing upon my research, which combines digital and embodied methods with participant observation conducted both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of video game environments, this paper asks: How might such an approach open up new possibilities for seeing and knowing the world? How might anthropology look if we embrace methods which are decolonial, feminist, queer, disabled? How could these approaches assist the discipline in responding to a world which is increasingly turbulent, digital and ‘post-human’? As new technologies change the ways we interact with the world, I argue that anthropology as a discipline needs to explore new methodologies to begin tackling these spaces.
Ytterbium, Easter Con – London
19th-22nd April 2019
Approaches to Gender in Genre Fic
The James Tiptree Jr Award each year celebrates works of SFF which have added to our understanding of gender. Our panelists discuss different approaches to gender in genre fic and in the worldbuilding of genre fic, both within and outside the Tiptree list.
Nine Worlds 2018 – London
10th-12th August 2018
Sexuality in Bioware
Spoke on a panel alongside academic Emily R. Marlow where we discussed how Bioware handles queer characters and queerness in their Mass Effect and Dragon Age games touching upon issues such as queer coding, the designation of desirable/undesirable bodies, trans representation, and what we would like to see from future Bioware games.
Let the Past Die: Sacrificing Sacred Cows in Star Wars The Last Jedi
Moderated a fantastic discussion exploring the accusations that TLJ deviated from established values and characteristics of ‘traditional’ Star Wars films, and how this deviation could be interpreted through symbolic sacrifices throughout the film.
Representation in Dating Sims: From Dream Daddy to Dragon Age
Can non-visual novel games like Dragon Age be regarded as ‘dating sims’? Are dating sims more inclusive than other types of games? Speaking alongside Emily R. Marlow and Angie Wenham, we analyzed a number of games including Dream Daddy, Pairanormal, Doki Doki Literature Club and Dragon Age to establish to what extent dating sims can be regarded as more inclusive, where we think they’re going wrong, and offering suggestions on how we think dating sims could become more inclusive and less problematic.
History’s Hidden Heroes III
(Panelist – Paper)
Presented a 15-minute talk on ‘Transmasculine figures in wartime history’ which argued that trans people are frequently written out of history by mainstream historians, looked at examples of transmasculine figures such as Dr. James Miranda Barry and Albert D. Cashier, how we can interpret historical records to uncover trans people and experiences in history, and why we need more queer historians.
You can read a write up of the panel by historian and panel moderator E.K McAlpine here.
Women in Star Wars
Women in the Star Wars films are often reduced to figures of wives, mothers, and sisters rather than as integral characters in the Star Wars franchise. I put together and moderated this panel to provide a platform for and celebrate the existence of diverse female characters which included discussions of good representation, the domination of toxic masculinity in the Star Wars fan base, why lead female characters are so important, and why we need more intersectional diversity.
Nine Worlds 2019 – London
10th-12th August 2017
Queer Coding in Disney
Over the past few years, ‘queer coding’ has become a hot topic of debate in pop culture circles, particularly when speaking about queer characters in Disney’s animated feature films. In 2017, I presented a solo talk on queer coding in Disney which took the audience of over 100 attendees on a journey right from the first instances of queer coding following the introduction of the Hays Code in Hollywood, to the “first gay Disney character” in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. As queer coding is often based in villainous stereotypes and the majority of discussions around queer coding in Disney focus on Disney villains, I explored protagonist characters who could be identified as queer by looking at male-male pairings, trans characters, the absence of queer women, and how live-action remakes contribute to the erasure of queer characters.
You can read a summary of the session in this article written by Bleeding Cool.
‘Cons-ROAR-vation: Animal Rights and Conservation in the Jurassic Park franchise’
Themes of animal rights and conservation are intrinsic to the entire Jurassic Park franchise, although it is a topic not often spoken or written about. In ‘cons-roar-vation’, I briefly explored how integral these messages were in the early Jurassic Park films before moving on to an in-depth discussion which contrasted 2015’s Jurassic World with the gut-punching documentary Blackfish (2013). In this comparative analysis, I looked at how animal rights took centre stage in Jurassic World by drawing parallels to Blackfish through elements of capitalist and commercialisation of dinosaurs/animals, intelligence and emotional capacities, keeping animals in captivity for entertainment, human-animal relations, and the role of science and technology in this relationship.