The art of fanfiction: exploring the social, cultural and creative contributions of fanfiction for the creative writing classroom
AuthorsHawkins, Gemma Linda
Subject Categories::W800 Imaginative Writing
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis explores the experiences of fan writers within online communities, focussing on their creative and critical development in order to evaluate whether social online fan spaces can offer new writers a space to learn critical thinking skills and develop their creative voice. In addition to this, the research presented uses fandom as a means of critiquing more traditional educational creative writing spaces such as the workshop, as well as looking at how the two could be used together as complimentary pedagogical tools. In his essay, ‘Transcultural Writing and Research,’ Graham Mort states that these educational spaces are “reflective” and that they allow students’ work to be critiqued within a vacuum that grants the student writer the means to view their work within its cultural, historical, political and social context. The research presented in this thesis details a multitude of ways in which fandom practices overlap with those found in educational spaces, including the manner in which individuals interact with their peers, how individuals share their work, and how they critique the work of others. As well as building on the existing literature surrounding the social, cultural, and political importance of fandoms, two of the key terms which will be used to explore both fan and student social writing spaces are communities of practice and critical pedagogy. Communities of practice are defined by Etienne and Beverly Wenger‐Trayner (2015) as “Communities… formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour,” and is used as a framework to understand how fan practices compare with student practices. Alongside this work, critical pedagogy theory is used to demonstrate how fan practices might be blended with those found in educational institutions in order to benefit new writers. The data collection process was carried out using a focussed ethnography, with 24 interviews being carried out online via email, in addition to an anonymous online questionnaire, which received 14 responses. As part of my research, I explore my own experiences within both fandoms and creative writing educational spaces through an autoethnographic account, which explores issues related to being a student, a fan and an academic. This combination of methods was employed in order to gather a range of different data types, exploring the experiences of both fan and student writers, in order to gather sufficient qualitative and quantitative data to support the theoretical contribution that this thesis represents. My Literature Review details the extensive work carried out by researchers on the social and cultural aspects of fandom, highlighting a gap in the existing literature concerning the creative benefits of fandom for new writers. The research presented within this thesis aims to bridge that gap, pulling together the social and the creative in order to legitimise fan works. This thesis therefore offers a useful contribution to creative writing pedagogical theory by suggesting that fandom practices and traditional pedagogical tools can be utilised in a hybridised environment in order to create a more democratic experience for student writers.
CitationHawkins, G. 'The Art of Fanfiction: Exploring the Social, Cultural and Creative Contributions of Fanfiction for the Creative Writing Classroom'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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