Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, England, UK (CRSF) Conference was Monday, June 27, 2016, at the University of Liverpool!
Here is their report:
CRSF 2016 Post-conference Report
Posted: 04 Jul 2016 05:26 AM PDT
The sixth annual Current Research in Speculative Fiction [CRSF] conference was held last week on Monday 27th June and was a great success.
As usual, the papers delivered were of a high quality and a diverse range of topics from D&D bestiaries to feminist utopia, ecological disaster to Harry Potter, medieval English horror to Japanese dystopian YA and far more besides. As usual huge thanks go to those who presented a paper: thank you for the enthusiasm with which you approached the task and for the hard work you did preparing for the conference, a conference – no matter how the organising goes – is nothing without its delegates.
CRSF 2016 represents a record year for number of delegates, with non-presenting delegates outnumbering presenters for the first time. This was in no small part thanks to the excellent Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) conference also held in Liverpool on the 28th-30th June, a number of whose delegates came along to see CRSF in action. There were, however, a number of non-presenting delegates, including former presenters from previous years, who made the trip to Liverpool especially to see CRSF, I cannot think of a better endorsement for the atmosphere and organisation of the conference than for those who have been before to want to come back, even if they’re no longer eligible to present.
In total we had fifty-six attendees and thirty papers presented, over three parallel streams, by delegates from institutions throughout the UK, as well as Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Russia, Israel, Canada, and the United States, among others.
Thank you to all who attended. Additional thanks to all those who engaged with the conference on social media. I’m a firm believer in the Twitter back channel for conferences, and CRSF performed ably in this regard too. If you’re not on Twitter and you want to (re)discover the tweet-by-tweet coverage of the conference it’s been conveniently archived on Storify here for you.
Thanks also to our wonderful keynote speakers: Dr. Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck University of London) and Dr. Pat Wheeler (University of Hertfordshire) who not only gave fascinating and insightful keynote lectures, but also attended numerous panels, asking insightful and constructive questions throughout, and offering many a kind and supportive word for delegates in the breaks and more informal moments of the conference. Caroline’s paper opened the conference and was entitled ‘”But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century’, it took us through such post-apocalyptic novels as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Maggie Gee’s The Flood, highlighting the pastoral beauty often found in these texts and the implications of that for our vision of the apocalypse and the future (if any) of humanity’s role on the Earth. Pat’s keynote was entitled ‘”She can’t love you, she’s just a machine’: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves’, which challenged how we should read gynoids in the twenty-first century: as either challenge or constriction to women’s agency.
Thanks as ever to the University of Liverpool staff who provided support both in the build up to, and during, the conference: the Rendall Building staff, and Filomena Saltao, the Administrator of the School of the Arts, and Siobhan Quinn. Thanks also to Andy Sawyer, academic librarian for the Science Fiction Foundation collection at the University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library, for once again arranging for all delegates to receive free copies of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Thanks also to the staff at Il Forno, our traditional restaurant of choice, who once again dealt with our large numbers with aplomb.
As always we welcome your feedback on CRSF 2016, all comments are useful and appreciated. Please leave a comment on our website’s post at http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com, or e-mail them to us at email@example.com.
CRSF will return in 2017….
I wish I could have been there.
To refresh, if you missed my explanatory pre-conference post, read below:
CRSF is a postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Our aim is to showcase some of the latest developments in this dynamic and evolving field, by providing a platform for the presentation of current research by postgraduates. The conference will also encourage the discussion of this research and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.
The planned schedule was as follows:
9:00-9:30: Registration and Refreshments
9:30-10:30: Keynote Lecture #1: Dr Caroline Edwards,
“But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century
10:30 -12:00: First Round of Panels
1.1: Press START to Play
– Andrew Ferguson – Clipping Out of Bounds: Reading House of Leaves Through Portal
- Britanny Kuhn – [Awaiting Title]
- Ivaylo Shmilev – Oppression, Warfare and Transcultural Memory in the Complex Post- Apocalyptic Environments of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Game Series
1.2: Horrific Narratives
– Travis Gasque – The New Cosmic Horror: A Genre Molded by Tabletop Roleplaying Games and Postmodern Horror
– Matthew McCall – “My manez mynde to maddyng malte”: Tracing Horror in the Middle English Pearl
- Selena Middleton – Climate Collapse and the Uncontained Body in James Tiptree Jr.’s A Momentary Taste of Being
(in the 1975 anthology, The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science-Fiction)
1.3: You’re Only Young Once
– Lan Ma – Censorship and Resistance: Information Control in Japanese Dystopian Young Adult Fiction in the 21st Century
– Alison Baker – Protocols for the education of young witches and wizards
– Arunima Dey – The Grotesque in the Harry Potter Series
12:00 -13:00: Second Round of Panels
2.1: Beasts and Bestiaries
– Rob O’Connor – “The History of All Hitherto-Existing Societies is the History of Monsters”: The Bestiary and the Depiction of Monsters as Social Commentary
– Sandra Mänty – Representation and function of animals in the world of Harry Potter
2.2: The Greater Good
– Maxine Gee – “If something stinks put a lid on it, don’t see it”: Self-censorship and the brave new world of Psycho Pass
- Jonathan Ferguson – Crimes Against The Greater Good are Victimless Crimes?
2.3: Character Studies
– Beata Gubacsi – Monstrous Transformations: Becoming posthuman through art in Vandermeer’s Ambergris novels
- Matteo Barbagallo – Do we have a deal? Petyr Baelish, Varys, Rumpelstiltskin and their role as Doppelganger
13:00 -13:45: Lunch Break
13:45 -14:45: Keynote Lecture #2: Dr Patricia Wheeler
“She can’t love you, she’s just a machine”: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves
14:45 -16:15: Third Round of Panels
3.1: Revenge of the Film
– Pablo Gómez Muñoz – Greening Apocalypse: Eco-Conscious Disaster in Twenty-First Century Science-Fiction Cinema
– Josephine Swarbrick – Monstrous Men and Masculine Monsters: Gender and the Cyborg in Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (1987) and José Padilha’s Robocop (2014)
- David Contreras – Gothic Surrealism in Mexican Cyberpunk Short Film: The Borderlands Strike Back
3.2: Theoretically Speaking
– Jo Lindsay Walton – The Dystopian Glimpse
– Artem Zubov – Science-fiction studies and genre theory
– Pascal Lemaire – Fans of history first, fans of S-F more distantly ? Alternate History as a form of History’s fan fiction
3.3: Tell Me a Tale
– Kanta Dihal – Science and Religion in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
- Rina Jean Baroukh – “Your Light Has Come” : Fantasy and Reality in Shimon Adaf’s Sunburnt Faces
Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky – Re-Defining the Bildungsroman: Traumatic Journeys as a Trend in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction
16:15 -16:30: Refreshment Break [YES: English Tea Time!]
16:30 -18:00: Fourth Round of Panels
4.1: Perceptions of the Female Self
– Sonya Dyer – aPOCalypso: Janelle Monae and (Science) Fictional Black Feminisms
– Sarah Lohmann – “Solar Loyalties”: The Utopian Ethics of Posthumanism in Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman
- Mylène Branco – The Construction of the Female Self in L.P. Hartley’s Facial Justice
4.2: Alternate Beings
– Tom Kewin – ‘A Society of Screens’: The State of Digital Surveillance and the Repercussions for the Humanist Subject
– Mattia Petricola – From mesmeric trance to living avatars: Rethinking consciousness and death after Mr. Valdemar
4.3: Dystopian Time, Resurgent Space
– Gabrielle Bunn – Future Ruins: The intersection of nature and culture in the post-apocalyptic landscape of J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962)
- Hollie Johnson – Anarchy, Nostalgia, and Resistance: The Role of Nature in We, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Thomas Connolly – “There was a thing called Heaven”: The end of time in Huxley’s Brave New World
18.00 -19.00: Post-Conference Wine Reception and Official Conference Group Photo
Download a PDF of the entire schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4DNnD_AmJQmeWdEREJfemd1YWs/view
Want to present or attend next year? The “Call for Papers” usually occurs in early December for the following June’s annual conference. Check out past conferences/calls and get more information here and visit their
website: http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com/ or contact their team (the team members’ list has not been recently updated, yet: CRSF.firstname.lastname@example.org and follow their Tweets: @CRSFteam
Their website is not very “interesting,” IMHO, but the topics ARE. Here is a sampling of Q & A from their FAQs…
What is CRSF?
CRSF is short for Current Research in Speculative Fiction, an annual conference organised by postgraduate students for postgraduate students. The conference was first held in 2010 at the University of Liverpool and has been held annually since, attracting an international selection of speakers from as far afield as Turkey and the USA. The conference aims to provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for researchers who are at the very beginnings of their fields to test ideas, network with others, and gain valuable conference experience.
What is Speculative Fiction?
Simply put, we consider speculative fiction to be the collective name for the non-mimetic genres of science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and their related sub-genres. Essentially, if it’s a bit weird, it’s probably eligible. If in doubt, feel free to run your idea by us. At this juncture, it’s probably also worth us pointing out that the conference doesn’t discriminate among media: papers on television, film, video games, music, fan culture, etc., are as welcome at CRSF as papers on literature.
I’m an undergraduate student/ university faculty member/ speculative fiction fan/ author, can I attend?
We welcome non-presenting delegates from all aspects of speculative fiction whether you be a non-academic fan or a professor at a university.
How much does CRSF cost to attend?
Since CRSF is funded entirely off the delegate fees we can never be 100% sure of our budget until we know how many papers we will be accepting for the conference. As such, confirmed fees are not available until after abstracts have been processed and invitations to present accepted. However, as a guide, past conferences have charged £30 (about $44 USA) for the day with an early bird discount available for those who register early. This fee includes lunch and refreshments.
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