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GIFCon 2021

Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations

Beyond the Anglocentric Fantastic

28th-30th April 2021, online

Keynotes: Xia Jia, Sourit Bhattacharya, and Amal El-Mohtar


The GIFCon 2021 Programme is available here.

For more information about our Keynotes, including abstracts, see below. The keynotes will be streamed live on YouTube via the CFF YouTube Channel

For speakers' bios and paper abstracts, see here.

You can attend GIFCon online! To book your free ticket, visit our Eventbrite page here.

You can find the Conference Packet for Attendees here.


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Join our dedicated GIFCon Discord server.

GIFCon 2021 hashtags: #GIFcon #GIFCon2021 #BeyondTheAnglo


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Keynote Speakers

Key Speaker Gif Con 2021

Wang Yao is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Xi’an Jiaotong University, and a visiting scholar at University of California, Riverside from May 2019 to May 2020. Her academic collection on contemporary Chinese science fiction Coordinates of the Future: Discussions on Chinese Science Fiction in the Age of Globalization was published in 2019. She has been publishing speculative fiction since college with the pen name Xia Jia. Seven of her stories have won the Galaxy Award, China's most prestigious science fiction award.

So far she has published a fantasy novel Odyssey of China Fantasy: On the Road (2010), as well as three science fiction collections The Demon Enslaving Flask (2012), A Time Beyond Your Reach (2017) and Xi’an City Is Falling Down (2018). Recently she has been working on a science fiction fix-up, entitled Chinese Encyclopedia. In English translation, she has been published in Clarkesworld and other venues. Her first flash story written in English, “Let’s Have a Talk,” was published in Nature in 2015. Her first English collection A Summer Beyond Your Reach: Stories was published in 2020. She is also engaged in other science fiction related works, including academic research, translation, screenwriting, editing and creative writing teaching.

 王瑶,北京大学中文系博士,西安交通大学中文系系主任、副教授,加州大学河滨分校访问学者(2019.5-2020.5),从事当代中国科幻研究。著有《未来的坐标:全球化时代的中国科幻论集》(2019)。从2004年开始以笔名“夏笳”发表科幻与奇幻小说,作品七次获“科幻世界银河奖”,四次入围“全球华语科幻星云奖”。已出版长篇奇幻小说《九州·逆旅》(2010)、科幻作品集《关妖精的瓶子》(2012)、《你无法抵达的时间》(2017)、《倾城一笑》(2018)。目前正在从事系列科幻短篇《中国百科全书》的创作。作品被翻译为英、日、韩、法、俄、德、藏、波兰、意大利等多种语言。用英文创作的超短篇小说“Let’s Have a Talk”发表于英国《自然》杂志科幻短篇专栏。英文短篇作品集A Summer Beyond Your Reach: Stories于2020年出版。除学术研究和文学创作外,亦致力于科幻小说翻译、影视剧策划和科幻写作教学。

Xia Jia's keynote is co-sponsored with the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow.

Keynote Title: Which Future Do You Believe In?


Visions of the future in each period of history are involved with the changing structure of feelings and experiences of media. SF, as "megatext", refers to its own intertextuality in order to be functional at all times. The audience is interpellated (in the Althusserian sense) to answer the question: "Do you believe in (what WE used to believe in)", so that "you" imaginatively identifies with "WE" (and sometimes fails to do so). This keynote lecture examines three controversial texts using this approach: the Disney movie Tomorrowland (2015), "The Gernsback Continuum" by William Gibson (1981), and "Fields of Gold" by Liu Cixin (2018). This discussion will help us better understand the cultural political implications in contemporary Chinese science fiction.


Sourit Bhattacharya is Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies (English Literature) at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include colonial and postcolonial literatures; environmental humanities; realism and fantasy; translation studies; and materialist criticism. His works have appeared in such journals and edited volumes as Ariel, Textual Practice, Irish University ReviewMagical Realism and Literature (Cambridge UP), Postcolonial Urban Outcasts (Routledge), and others. His first monograph, Postcolonial Modernity and the Indian Novel: On Catastrophic Realism was published by Palgrave in June 2020. He published a co-edited volume on the magical realist/fabulist writer from Bengal, Nabarun Bhattacharya (Bloomsbury) in 2020. Sourit is a co-founding editor of Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry

Keynote title: Radical Imaginings: Eco-feminist and Subaltern Utopias in India’s Colonial and Postcolonial Fantasy


From the fables of Panchatantra to the epics of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, fantasy has a long and rich narrative tradition in India. ‘Kalpana’ or imagination in Sanskrit, fantasy also means bringing things to a righteous conclusion (Bangiyo Shobdokosh, 1966: 567). This egalitarian and utopic foundation of the genre was revived in colonial India. Coterminous with the ‘Swadeshi’ or self-rule movement, the political project of reconstructing indigenous cultural material to mobilise an anticolonial and anti-imperialist agenda can be noted in Rabindranath Tagore’s introduction to Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder’s Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandmother’s Bag of Tales, 1907). A more radical project of dismantling capitalism and patriarchy to imagine an alternative, ecologically sustainable, and feminist world is found in Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Sultana’s Dream (1905). Later in Nabarun Bhattacharya’s novel, Kangal Malshat (Warcry of the Beggars, 2003), set in postcolonial, Communist and consumerist Kolkata, fantastic elements empower the city’s subaltern population to wage a class war against its ruling elite. In this talk, I will closely read these examples of ‘urban fantasy’ to demonstrate the radical and utopic tendencies in modern Indian fantasy and how the genre continues to raise crucial epistemological and aesthetic questions of knowledge production, human rights, normativity, and literary style in the postcolonial world.




Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism. She is the science fiction and fantasy columnist for the New York Times Book Review and the co-author, with Max Gladstone, of This Is How You Lose the Time War, a novella which has received several honours including the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, and Locus Awards. She teaches creative writing at the University of Ottawa. 

Call For Papers

‘Western narratives’ hurt us at the end and have damaged perspectives regarding non-Western narratives. The dominance of Western narratives has silenced non-Western voices, reducing us to nothing else but something out of a travel guide.’

Joyce Chng


… in a general sense, we live in the world of cultural dominance of Anglophone cultures, English is the international language, and many people HAVE to speak it, and write in it … Failure to acknowledge the cultural hegemony of the English language and WHY many non-Anglophone writers might choose to write in English is disingenuous.

Ekaterina Sedia


This year’s GIFCon invites us to question our own habits: what language do we use when we read, watch, write, or think about Fantasy and the fantastic? What cultural traditions tend to be represented in the “Fantasy canon”? What ethnic and racial groups dominate Fantasy texts, in terms of characters and writers alike? What power dynamics shape the production, distribution, and reception of Fantasy texts? Many of the texts that have been used to define Fantasy are written in English and either set in or inspired by white-dominated spaces in the United States and the United Kingdom, from The Lord of the Rings to the works of George MacDonald, William Morris, L. Frank Baum, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. Fantasy scholarship has reinforced this tendency, dominated as it is by discussion of English-language texts.

This limited perception of Fantasy is reflective of two key concepts for this year’s symposium: Anglonormativity and Anglocentrism. Anglonormativity refers to the hegemony of the English language, which pressurizes creatives and scholars into using English and writing about English-language texts, and treats scholars and writers in other languages or from non-Western ethnic backgrounds writing in English as niche or less knowledgeable and hence marginalised. Anglocentrism, in turn, refers to the practise of viewing the world through the lens of an English or Anglo-American perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or unconsciously, in the preeminence of English or Anglo-American culture.

Anglonormativity and Anglocentrism can lead to either ignoring or appropriating the lengthy and rich traditions of Fantasy and the fantastic written in other languages and cultures, many of which predate the Anglophone tradition. Those non-Anglophone traditions have resulted in unique genres separate from Anglocentric Fantasy, others in subgenres like Afrofuturism, and still others in culturally-specific incarnations of Fantasy. Recent years have seen an increase in the publication and profile of works of Fantasy and the fantastic translated from a variety of languages (Chinese, Russian, Greek, and Malay, to name but a few) as well as the output of English-speaking authors of colour such as Nalo Hopkinson and Kai Ashante Wilson, who bring their own backgrounds and language into their work. Within Anglophone countries, there has been a slowly growing tendency to centre the perspective of racially, culturally, and ethnically marginalised groups whose perspectives have historically been underrepresented in white Anglocentric fantasy. Indigenous authors are using the fantastic to examine the contested space of colonised land and imagining escape from or alternatives to a history and present of oppression and erasure.

GIFCon 2021 is a three-day symposium that seeks to examine and honour the heterogeneity of Fantasy and the fantastic beyond Anglonormativity and Anglocentrism. Our committee, composed of members from different nationalities, ethnicities, first languages, and the LGBTQ+ community, welcomes proposals for papers relating to this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of Fantasy and the fantastic across all media, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers. We will also offer creative workshops for those interested in exploring creative processes.

We ask for 300-word abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as creative presentations that go beyond the traditional academic paper. Despite our desire to centre the non-Anglophonic in our symposium, we are only able to accept papers presented in English, this is in order to facilitate communication and discussion amongst our international attendees. See our Suggested Topics list for further inspiration.

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bionote to by 04 January 2021 at midnight GMT (please see our detailed Submission Guidelines). 

For further advice for those submitting a paper to a conference for the first time see our Submission Advice (under Submission Guidelines). Please also read through our Code of Conduct.

If you have any questions regarding our event or our CfP, please contact us at We look forward to your submissions!


Suggested Topics

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Non-Anglocentric histories and traditions of Fantasy and the fantastic in all forms of media
  • The postcolonial fantastic, by authors such as Helen Oyeyemi, Salman Rushdie, N. K. Jemisin, Nalo Hopkinson, and Zen Cho
  • The use of real non-Anglophone languages in Fantasy
  • Translation studies and the fantastic
  • Accounts of non-Anglophone scholarship on Fantasy and the fantastic
  • Influence of Anglocentrism and Anglonormativity on the non-Anglocentric and non-Anglonormative
  • The non-Anglocentric European fantastic, e.g. Slavic, Germanic, Mediterranean, Gaelic
  • The (mis)use, exoticism, and appropriation of non-Anglocentric cultural traditions and fantasy lineages into the Fantasy ‘canon’
  • Indigeneity and indigenous self-determination in Indigenous forms of Fantasy
  • Deconstruction, decolonisation, and counterappropriation as topics within and movements surrounding Fantasy texts
  • Postcolonial reception of Anglocentric texts, e.g. the success of Harry Potter in India
  • Implications of “writing back” to Anglophone genres
  • Diasporic Fantasy and the fantastic
  • Relationship between Fantasy and non-Anglocentric genres and forms, e.g. magical realism, masala films, Africanjujuism, shenmo xiaoshuo, fantastique, kaiju, etc.
  • Fantasy and the fantastic in a non-Anglocentric medium, e.g. Bollywood fantasies, manga, anime, jrpgs, Karagöz shadow plays
  • Fan efforts to create space for non-Anglocentric experiences in Anglocentric texts
  • Marginalised traditions within Anglocentric fantasy, i.e. works of the fantastic about and by immigrant communities, religious minorities, and racial and ethnic minorities
  • Relationship between non-Anglocentric Fantasy and the regional cultural industries that produce them
  • The presence or lack thereof of non-Anglocentric Fantasy in Anglocentric spaces
  • Relationship between Fantasy and religious or spiritual beliefs in non-Anglocentric cultures
  • The influence of the publishing industry in the selection, distribution, and reception of Anglocentric and non-Anglocentric Fantasy and the fantastic


Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines 

  • Please submit a 300-word (maximum) abstract including title and references, if any 
  • Underneath the abstract, please add a 100-word maximum biographical note written in 3rd person and indicating your preferred pronouns
  • Please use UK spelling and grammar conventions 
  • Please use Times New Roman or Calibri font and make sure your document is double-spaced 
  • Please save your submission as a .doc or .docx (not PDF) 
  • Please take time to read GIFCon’s Code of Conduct to ensure your submission complies with our symposium’s COC 
  • Please cc any co-authors on your email submission 
  • Email your submission to with "GIFCon 2021 Submission - Your Name" as the title of the email 
  • Submit by 4th January 2021, midnight GMT


Submissions Advice 

The GIFCon committee especially welcomes proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers. Whether this is your first time submitting an abstract to us or not, we wanted to put together this guide based off the assessment criteria we use to accept submissions. Please note that this guide is intended for our event and should not be considered as universal adviceas each conference/symposium establishes its own rules and guidelines. 

Here are three key things to consider: 

1) Paper’s Fit to the Theme 

2) A Clear and Concise Argument 

3) Paper’s Fit to the Timeslot 


1. Paper’s Fit to the Theme  

How does your paper fit in with the conference theme? Clearly and concisely explain in one or two sentences how your paper suits GIFCon’s theme. You can also pop a key word from the CFP in your title if that is suitable for your abstract. You don’t have to shy away from explicitly stating the connection to theme, context, or relevance.  

2. A Clear, Concise Argument 

Outline in your abstract your paper’s argument: you can include where it sits in the field, why you are exploring this aspect of your topic, which texts you are looking at, and what you hope to illuminate by doing so. Especially if your paper covers a niche within your subject, your argument will help the committee to grasp what you are intending to do in your paper and how to best place it in our programme. If the abstract requires technical terms specific to your area or subjectclearly define them.   

3. Paper’s Fit to the Timeslot 

We are looking for papers that are presentable within a 20-minute timeslot. One rule of thumb is to imagine 20 minutes as roughly 2000 spoken wordKeep in mind that you want a topic that is the right balance of broad and specific enough that allows you to present a well-argued paper within the timeframe. You can also practice reading your abstract, and eventual paper, out loud to ensure it fits within the given time and flows well.

Please note: 

  • Make sure your abstract is 300 words long. This word count includes title and references, if any. 
  • Your submission should have a title that works for the abstract, eventual paper, and presentation.  
  • Take the time to proofread your abstract for any grammar and spelling errors. At GIFCon we use UK spelling and grammar conventions. 
  • Add at the bottom of your abstract document a 100-word maximum biographical note written in the 3rd person and indicating your preferred pronouns. This generally includes education, current research or interests, and anything else you would want the audience to know about you.   
  • Make sure to add co-authors into the email and bionote 
  • The actual body of the submission email can simply be an introduction, note of your attached submission, and a goodbye.  
  • If your submission is successful, it is possible to present anonymously during the event. Email us to find out more.  

We would also like to ask you to review our Code of Conduct prior to your submission in order to make sure your paper complies with our symposium’s COC. 

Once you are done, please attach the document to your submission email, making sure to follow all required submission guidelines from the section above.  

Finally, if you have any questions about submitting your abstract to an event, please get in touch with the event organisersWe can also help where possible with enquires if you email us at in advance of the submission deadline.  

We look forward to your submission! 


GIFCon Code of Conduct

GIFCon Code of Conduct

GIFCon aims to be an inclusive and diverse space for scholars, students, creatives, fans, and the general public. GIFCon’s Code of Conduct (COC) – including its Anti-Harassment PolicyAnti-Racism Statement, Accessibility Policy, Reporting Bullying and Harassment Procedure and Netiquette – help achieve this goal by enabling and guiding safe relationships between all GIFCon Attendees while at the same time discouraging anti-social behaviour and discrimination. With that in mind, please take a moment to review our Code of Conduct. 

This Code applies to all interactions between GIFCon Attendees, either in-person or onlineFurther guidelines regarding online GIFCon interactions can be found specifically in our Netiquette. Attendees include Committee Members, Speakers, Volunteers, the Audience, and all others otherwise participating in this event. 

As GIFCon is originally based at the University of Glasgow, where most of our face-to-face events take place, this Code abides by the principles laid out in the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy, as well as its Dignity at Work Policy and Procedure and its Accessible Events Policy. We also expect those working at the University of Glasgow to act and to be treated in line with the principles of this Code of Conduct as well as the University of Glasgow’s policies. 

In addition, we are also bound by the Equality Act 2010. 

The Code is a living document and we expect it to change over time to reflect changes in and beyond academia and fandom. We welcome feedback and suggestions for improvement, so please feel free to contact us at 

If you would like to report potential violations of this Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate in contacting our Committee, Diversity and Accessibility Officer, or Volunteers. They can escalate issues appropriately with University authorities, discuss them in a totally confidential manner, and/or act as mediators, according to the wishes of the person raising the issue. 

How can I help? 

  • Read and follow this Code of Conduct. 
  • Be collegiate and supportive of others: if you see someone who looks like they might need help or encounter a situation which you believe requires attention, please engage a Volunteer or Committee member if you feel OK doing so. 
  • Ask first: the easiest way to avoid issues is to check before doing something. 
  • Remember that GIFCon Attendees come from all over the world; cross-cultural misunderstanding can easily happen, so consider this in your humour and interactions, both online and in-person. 

Anti-Harassment and Anti-Bullying Policy 

Everyone involved with GIFCon is expected to treat the event Attendees, the venue staff, the general public, and the various communities associated with the event with dignity and respect. 

As the GIFCon operates within the umbrella of the University of Glasgow, we are also bound to the University’s Code of Practice on Unacceptable Behaviour. This code not only defines what the University as our base institution and GIFCon consider as unacceptable behaviour, but also delineates how the University seeks to ensure fair and honest treatment across University interactions as well as the welfare and safety of those participating in University activities and events. 

According to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (ACAS), harassment and bullying can be defined as follows: 

  • Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. 
  • Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. 

GIFCon is dedicated to facilitating an experience free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination for all Attendees, regardless of age, ethnicity, disability, gender identity and expression, nationality, neurodiversity, physical ability or appearance, race, religion, sexual identity or sexual orientation, or fiction/fandom preferences (this list is not exhaustive). 

At GIFCon we do not tolerate harassment of GIFCon Attendees in any form. Behaviour that will be considered harassment includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Intimidation or stalking, either in virtual or in-person settings 
  • Unwelcome physical contact, including the use of inappropriate and/or aggressive gestures 
  • Unwelcome sexual attention 
  • Comments intended to belittle, offend, or cause discomfort, including those in writing 
  • Misgendering or deadnaming 
  • Photographing or videoing Attendees without their consent 
  • Persistent interruption of others and/ or sustained disruption of presentations, workshops, or other events 
  • Sexually graphic or otherwise inappropriate images in public spaces or throughout online events (e.g. zoombombing) 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour 

It should be noted that engaging in any of the behaviours above under the claims of “banter” is not an excuse for bullying or harassing behaviour. 

We also require Attendees to follow this Code in online GIFCon interactions (including emailsplatforms and accounts related to the event such as Zoom, Discord, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook), at all GIFCon venues, and in all GIFCon-related social activities. 

Unacceptable Behaviour at GIFCon 

In line with University policies, especially articles 37.4.1-37.4.10 of the Code of Unacceptable Behaviour, GIFCon will deal with unacceptable behaviour depending on its nature and extent. This may range from: 

  • Asking Speakers and/or Attendees to modify their behaviour. 
  • Restricting contact with Speakers and/or Attendees, including banning them from GIFCon and related activities. These restrictions may be relaxed and normal relations re-instated depending on the gravity of the situation, if the conditions imposed are met, and if an agreement is reached amongst all parties. 
  • Contacting University of Glasgow authorities if Members of our Committee, Speakers, and/or Attendees involved in Code of Conduct breaches are also affiliated to the University of Glasgow. 
  • Contacting the home University/HEI authorities of Attendees if those involved in Code of Conduct breaches belong to another University or Higher Education Institution. 

Here is a list of examples as to how GIFCon will address certain Code of Conduct breaches. This list is not exhaustive and may not necessarily reflect all the nuances of real situations. However, we offer it as a guide so that Attendees know what to expect from our Committee in general and our Diversity and Accessibility Office in particular. 

  • Where abusive language – either written or spoken – is used in online or in-person interactions within the framework of GIFCon events and/or activities, the person concerned will be asked to modify their language. Failure to comply with this request may lead GIFCon to end personal communication with the individual concerned and require future communication to take place through a third party. If the individual concerned is a student or a member of staff at the University of Glasgow, then the University will be notified of the situation. If the individual concerned is a student or member of staff at another University or HEI, their home institution may be notified of the situation. 
  • Persistent sending of email messages in the form of spamming will result in GIFCon blocking emails from the account of origin. If the account belongs to either a student or a member of staff at the University of Glasgow, University authorities will be informed. 
  • GIFCon Committee Members and Volunteers have a right to work in an environment free from harassment, unreasonable demands, and/or undue persistence that adversely affect the opportunity to carry out their duties and provide a fair service to all GIFCon AttendeesShould this happen, GIFCon may decide to restrict contact to certain days/times and with a nominated person, or to restrict communication through a third party. 
  • Where violent behaviour is actual or threatened during in-person activities and events, GIFCon will need to contact University authorities, which may include Campus Security and who in turn may deem it necessary to contact local law-enforcement. Henceforth, any personal contact with those who have incurred in violent behaviour during GIFCon will cease and they will be prohibited from participating or attending any future events, both online and in-person. If those concerned and/or those affected are students and/or staff from the University of Glasgow, then procedures will follow University guidelines. If those concerned are students and/or staff from another University/HEI, their home institution will be notified. 

Anti-Racism Statement 

GIFCon is committed to supporting the fight against all forms of racist oppression, including racist prejudice and bias, the expression of privilege based on racial arguments, as well as racial discrimination, aggressions, and microaggressions. This applies to our diverse Committee and group of volunteers, contributions made to our sessions, our keynotes and workshops, as well as things said to and about GIFCon Attendees. At the same time, GIFCon seeks to contribute to the efforts being made to decolonize academia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and fandom. 

As an anti-racist symposium originated within the University of Glasgow, GIFCon is aware of the implications of its home institution being a British University with historic ties to slavery. At the same time, our symposium takes to heart the university’s major new report “Understanding Racism, Transforming University Cultures” and its corresponding action planThis document is an investigation prompted by a study from the Equality and Human Rights Commission into racial harassment faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and staff in UK universities. Consequently, GIFCon is and will continue to be a space to reflect on and redress the structural disadvantages identified by this report, as well as work towards the achievement of racial justice and equality. 

At GIFCon we want to ensure no one is talked over, ignored, or dismissed, and we are committed to making GIFCon as accessible as we can to people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Problems non-white Attendees of SFF events often reference include, but are not limited to: 

  • Having their academic and lived experiences dismissed. 
  • Being expected to be an authority on non-white characters as well as foreign countries, cultures, and languages portrayed or referenced to in SFF. 
  • Being talked down to or assumed to be less knowledgeable about topics being discussed. 
  • A presumption that people of colour do not belong in SFF fiction and/or fandom and that they should not be centred in storytelling. 
    The use of Social Justice Warrior or SJW as a pejorative term meant to demean or belittle the idea of diversity and inclusion in academia, fiction, or fandom. 
    The use of social media to target people of colour and allies for harassment and abuse as an outgrowth of their participation in committees, panels, discussions, workshops, or when commenting on their participation in fandom. 
    Being targeted in person or through social media with acts of aggression, harassment, or retribution for calling out harassers and abusive behaviour. 

This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated at GIFCon and will be treated according to our symposium’s Anti-Harassment and Anti-Bullying Policy. 

For full disclosure, this statement on racism was elaborated by a Person of Colour. However, anyone with personal experience with racism is welcome to share suggestions and/or criticisms of this Code of Conduct at 

Equality, Diversity, and Accessibility Policy 

As already delineated in part by our previous policies and statementsGIFCon is focused on making equality, diversity, and accessibility key principles of our symposium, both in-person and online. In order to reach this goal, we abide by the University of Glasgow’s strategy Embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into conferences and events. 

Diversity and Equality 

Every year, GIFCon makes efforts to secure a wide diversity of Committee Members, Speakers, and Attendees by including participants from different academic backgrounds, ages, countries, and native languages (this list is not exhaustive)Examples of this include advertising our symposium across different international platforms and channels, as well as different languages; considering the use of translators and interpreters; accommodating panels and activities according to different time zones; and facilitating schedules and video recordings for Attendees who are unable to participate during specific timeframes due to personal commitments such as care duties or otherwise. 

Accessibility and Equality 

GIFCon is working to be as accessible as possible to all needs, including but not limited to: 

  • Deafness/hearing impairment 
  • Blindness/vision impairment 
  • Mental health, including PTSD and anxiety 
  • Crowd sensitivities 
  • Neurodiversity, including Autism, ADHD, and Down’s Syndrome 
  • Mobility aid users, including wheelchairs, mobile scooters, and crutches 
  • Recent injury or surgery 
  • Chronic pain, fatigue, or other long-term physical impairments 
  • Late-term or complicated pregnancy 

For this reason, our symposium follows the University of Glasgow’s Accessible Events Policy in conjunction with the University’s Accessible Events Checklist. 

Everyone can help 

We believe every Attendee can contribute to making GIFCon a safe and welcoming environment. Whether you are participating as a Volunteer, Speaker, or member of the Audience, please consider the following: 

Panels and Events 

If you are a Speaker, you will be given specific guidelines nearer the event and these will be made public. Guidelines will include requests to: 

For presentations with PowerPoint slides, please consider the following: 

  • If your slides include text, please try to use it sparingly and in bold, large, and sans-serif fonts in contrasting colours. If possible, please read the text of your slides out loud during your presentation. 
  • Please avoid dark backgrounds with light-coloured text. These can be tiring on the eyes as well as difficult to navigate for accessibility devices such as screen readers. One alternative is to use the templates provided by PowerPoint, as they are pre-approved for screen readers and other accessibility devices. 
  • If your slides include images, please incorporate alt text (a brief one or two sentence description to accompany the image) or verbally describe the image during the presentation. This is extremely important both for attendees with visual impairments and neurodiverse attendees. 
  • Please avoid red or green to either highlight or emphasise anything on your slides. 
  • If you are Speaking at an online sessionplease enable the subtitling function for your slides. Instructions on how to do this can be found on the Microsoft Support website Present with real-time, automatic captions or subtitles in PowerPoint.
  • More information on how to create accessible PowerPoint slides can be found at the Microsoft Office Support website. 

If your presentation includes PowerPoint slides or any other document created with a Microsoft Office Progamme, we encourage you to use the Accessibility Checker. 

For online and in-person events: 

  • If you would like to make your presentation available in advance as a means to make it more accessible for Attendees, please contact the Committee. 
  • Please let the Committee know if you plan to use any flashing images or strobes so that members can be advised in advance. 
  • Please issue trigger warnings if your presentation, paper, or workshop includes or refers to sensitive material or subjects. 

Offering Help 

Some people with accessibility needs will require help from time to time, others will not. If someone appears to be struggling, do offer to help, but if they say no do not be offended. Never touch a person’s accessibility aid without permission. 


Many members will have disabilities and illnesses, both visible and invisible. We ask you to respect their privacy and to not discuss or ask questions about their conditions unless permitted to do so. 

Let us Know if Something is Wrong 

If you see that something is causing a problem, let one of our Committee Members or Volunteers know, and we will take care of it to the best of our ability as quickly as we can. If you spot an issue that we have overlooked and know how to fix it, please tell us. We are happy to help. 

We would like to ask our Attendees to bear in mind that we are a small, student led symposium with limited funding. For this reason, it may not always be possible to accommodate all accessibility needs. We are also continually reviewing and updating this policy, so if you have any comments, suggestions, requests, or if you would like to volunteer to make our even more accessible, please contact us via email at 

Reporting Bullying, Discrimination, and Harassment 

As delineated by previous elements of this Code of ConductGIFCon takes incidents of bullying, discrimination, and harassment, as well as reports on Code of Conduct breaches very seriously. GIFCon will help in any way possible to make sure that these incidents are dealt with promptly and that those who file reports are not victimised. 

Because GIFCon operates according to University of Glasgow policies, our Committee, through its Equality and Accessibility Office, can aid those wishing to raise a complaint depending on the preferred outcome of those affected and the severity of the incident. Attendees who wish to report an incident during in-person or online sessions can either: 

  • Contact the University directly and log a formal complaint. This is done through the University of Glasgow’s Complaints Handling Procedure. 
  • Contact the GIFCon Committee as an informal complaint. The Committee, specifically its Equality and Accessibility Office, will act as a mediator and seek out alternatives to resolve the incident according to the wished outcome of those affected. If this does not resolve their concerns or the Committee considers that the incident is too serious to be resolved informally, then it will advise those affected to lodge a formal complaint with the University through its Complaints Handling Procedure. 

A useful guide as to how affected parties may contact the University of Glasgow to raise concerns or reporting an incident may be found under the University’s Procedures. According to University legislation, the Procedure used can depend on your role – a student, former student, or member of staff at the University of Glasgow; or others such as visitors and local residents – and the nature of the issue you wish to raise. 

Students and Staff at the University of Glasgow 

Visitors at an event set or promoted by the University of Glasgow 

GIFCon is aware that its activities and events bring together members from the wider community of SFF academia and fandom under the umbrella of the University of Glasgow. It is therefore possible that misunderstandings and conflicts may arise between individuals who are not based at our university and as such may not be bound by University policies. If this is the case, GIFCon’s Equality and Accessibility Office can accompany those affected and upon their request, can make efforts to contact University authorities for advice as well as the institutions of the Attendees involved in the matter. 

Informal complaints 

Before the event: You can report GIFCon Code of Conduct violations by email at address will be continuously monitored by our Committee and our Diversity and Accessibility Officer prior to, during, and after GIFCon. 

At the event: If someone has bullied, discriminated, or harassed you, breached this Code of Conduct in any way, or if you have witnessed or become aware that an incident or Code of Conduct breach has taken place, please ask that person or persons to stop – as long as it is safe to do so and if you feel comfortable enough to make the request. To help us identify patterns of behaviour, we would be grateful if you would also report the harassment as set out below. 

If you do not want to speak to the person(s) directly, or if you engage with them and the harassment or Code of Conduct breach does not stop, please report the issue as soon as possible to a Volunteer or a Committee Member. Alternatively, you can report by email at This address will be continuously monitored by our Committee and our Diversity and Accessibility Officer during and after GIFCon. 

Bullying, discrimination, harassment, and other Code of Conduct violations reduce the value of GIFCon for everyone – we want you to enjoy our event, so please do speak to us if needed. 

What will happen if you make a report? 

When taking an in-person report, our Committee Members or Volunteers will first ensure that you are safe and cannot be overheard. They may involve other event or University staff to ensure your report is managed properly. Once you are safe, we will ask you to tell us about what happened, and what you would like to happen next. We understand this can be upsetting, but we will handle it as respectfully as possible and try to support you. You can also bring another person to support you if you wish. 

If you submit a report by email, our Committee and Diversity Officer will respond to you as quickly as possible, and proceed at their discretion, based on the content, context, and wishes expressed in your email. 

However you choose to report an issue, you will not be asked to confront anyone, and we will do our best to protect your identity. Details of your complaint will only be disclosed to the team or Committee members who are dealing with it. We will keep you advised of the progress we are making in handling the issue, and of any action we decide to take. We will take into account your views when deciding on that action. 

However, please be aware that if the incident is not resolved, if you report a serious criminal matter, or if we believe that you or someone else may be in danger, it might be necessary to contact University authoritiesIf so, we would take into account any concerns you may have around involving them. 

The GIFCon Committee has the right to take any actions needed to keep our event a welcoming environment for all Attendees. As previously stated in our Anti-Harassment and Anti-Bullying Policy, measures taken may include warning those concerned, mediating solutions between affecting parties, or taking any other action the Committee considers necessary, up to and including expulsion from the event at our discretion and contacting University authorities. 

If you wish to take further steps following your report and our response, our team will be happy to help you contact University Authorities – which may include Campus Security – or otherwise assist you to feel safe for the run-up to and duration of the event. Above all, we want you to feel valued, safe, and included!

GIFCon Netiquette 

  1. The GIFCon Netiquette complies with the guidelines set out by GIFCon’s Code of Conduct. 
  2. The GIFCon Committee acknowledges concerns regarding the circulation of recorded talks or written papers online. Speakers will be previously asked by the Committee for their permission to be recorded during online GIFCon sessions. 
  3. Speakers may choose to upload their paper or presentation to the platform of their choice and provide a URL link to be made available to Attendees. Alternatively, they can provide the GIFCon Committee with a version of the presentation in advance for accessibility purposes. 
  4. We are aware that platforms such as Zoom are not available globally and we are working on different alternatives to accommodate all GIFCon Attendees. If you have any concerns in this regard, please contact our Committee. 

Policy for Participation in Online Sessions (Panels, Keynotes, and/or Workshops) 

  1. The default setting for Attendees should be to have microphones muted. This is to avoid background noises that may disrupt the sessions. 
  2. For panels and keynotesSpeakers will unmute to engage in discussion or presentation. 
  3. Workshop organisers will instruct Attendees regarding the specific dynamics of their events. 
  4. Depending on the format of the session, for example as a Zoom Video Webinar, Attendees will have their video and audio automatically muted. In other cases, Attendees can choose whether they wish to engage or not with the video component of the event. Both options of video on or off are valid. 
  5. If the Attendees’ video and audio has been muted, they can communicate and pose their questions via the chat function or the Q&A section. Otherwise, questions for sessions, panels, keynotes, or workshops will begin only once the moderator and/or organizers invite questions. Do not interrupt either speakers or moderators to pose questions. 
  6. Screen sharing will be enabled only for Committee Members, scheduled Speakers, and Moderators. Once Speakers have finished with the presentation, they should end the sharing of their screen. 
  7. Attendees are welcome to post comments on the chat function of the platforms used by GIFCon during sessions, panels, keynotes, or workshops, as long as they abide by our COC. 
  8. Q&A sessions and discussions must comply with our COC. 
  9. During GIFCon all backgrounds in Zoom, Discord, YouTube, and so on must adhere to our COC.
  10. Presenters will be able to request that Attendees refrain from live tweeting about their specific presentation for any reason. Attendees are expected to honour this request. 
  11. Depending on the severity of the incident, violations to our Netiquette will be regarded as outlined by our Anti-Harassment and Anti-Bullying Policy. This can result in warning those concerned and asking them to modify their behaviour; restricting contact with GIFCon Committee Members and Attendees, including banning those concerned from specific online sessions or the symposium altogether; and contacting University of Glasgow Authorities. 

Blocking Policy for Social Media 

If necessary, this is a measure GIFCon Committee will consider in order to ensure a safe and welcoming space for all Attendees. GIFCon will block individuals from our social media outlets for the following reasons: 

  • Breaking any of the elements of the COC when engaging with our Social Media platforms (which are extensions of GIFCon). This applies both to direct engagements with our social media accounts and to engagements with other users in our virtual spaces. 
  • Patterns of repeated disruptive or bad faith engagements with our social media accounts and/or other users in our virtual spaces. 
  • Repetitive messaging engagements through social media rather than the appropriate channels for formal complaints, requests for information etc., once those channels have been made available to you and engaged with. 

We will attempt to communicate with any individual if they infringe this policy and again prior to formally blocking them. 


This Code of Conduct is based on Worldcon Dublin 2019’s Code of Conduct and their Accessibility Policy and Glasgow in 2024’s Code of Conduct. Both of these events have credited Geek Feminism Wiki’s Conference Anti-harassment/Policy example as the source of their own COC. Our Netiquette is based on IAFA’s Netiquette. 

The following is a list of official University of Glasgow websites, documents and procedures referenced throughout this document: 



How to attend GIFCon 2021

GIFCon 2021 will take place online as follows:

1) Keynotes via Zoom, also streamed via YouTube and recorded for later viewing

2) Papers and Workshops via Zoom (live/synchronous)

3) Discussion fora before, during, and after GIFCon 2021 via Discord

More details to follow.

GIFCon 2021 Committee

Chairs: Dr Dimitra FimiDr Robert Maslen, and Dr Taylor Driggers

Programming officer: Marita Arvaniti

Communications officer: Katarina O’Dette

Publicity officer: Monica Vazquez

Social Media officer: Emma French

Administration officer: Grace Worm

Diversity and Accessibility officerMariana Rios Maldonado

Assistant Managing officer: Elena Pasquini

Fantasy MLitt Liaison officer: Halle Campise


GIFCon would not exist without its volunteers, who make these incredible conversations around fantasy and the fantastic possible. Volunteers do everything, from running panels to tweeting, furthering discussions, as well as upholding the values and goals of our symposium. A special thank you from everyone on the GIFCon Committee, every Speaker, and every Attendee at GIFCon this year. In no particular order, our 2021 fantastic GIFCon 2021 volunteers are: 

GIFCon Committee Bios


Dr Dimitra Fimi (she/her) is Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature and co-Director of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow. Originally from Greece, she lived and worked in Wales for over 15 years before joining the University of Glasgow in 2018. She has published two award-winning monographs on J.R.R. Tolkien and on Celtic-inspired children’s fantasy, and she has co-edited original manuscripts by Tolkien on linguistic invention. She has also published on Greek fairy-tale writer Penelope Delta.



Dr Rob Maslen (he/him) is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and co-Director of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow. He began his career as an early modernist, publishing two monographs on the early English novel and Shakespeare's comedies and editing Sir Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry. In 2015 he founded the MLitt in Fantasy at Glasgow, since when he has written mostly on fantasy, including essays and talks on anime and Franco-Belgian comics. His editions of the poetry of Mervyn Peake are published by Carcanet, and he blogs at The City of Lost Books (



Dr Taylor Driggers (he/him) is a PhD graduate from the University of Glasgow, and has taught fantasy literature in various capacities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His first book, Faith and Fantasy: Queering Theology in Fantastic Texts, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury, and focuses on fantasy’s ability to critically re-imagine Christian theology and religious practices from queer and feminist standpoints. Taylor’s research includes the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Angela Carter, and Samuel R. Delany, among others, and has appeared in The New Americanist and The Journal of Inklings Studies.



Marita Arvaniti (she/her) is a PhD student in the University of Glasgow, investigating the lasting effect theatre has had in the birth and evolution of contemporary fantasy literature. She holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and an MLitt in Fantasy Literature from the University of Glasgow. Marita is a member of the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, and the Programming officer for Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GIFCon). She can be reached at or on twitter at @excaliburedpan.





Katarina O’Dette (she/her) is a Film and Television Studies PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham whose research centres on fantasy television, genre studies, and media industry studies. Originally from the United States, she received a BFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California before moving to Scotland to obtain an MLitt in Fantasy from the University of Glasgow. She serves as a general editor on Mapping the Impossible: Journal for Fantasy Research. Her research can be found in Fantastika JournalSlayageA Shadow Within: Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Extrapolation (forthcoming).




Monica Vazquez (she/her) is a second-year PhD researcher studying the technology of immersion in Fantasy Literature and VR, and CMO of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow. Originally from Spain, where she studied Journalism and developed most of her professional career as a journalist as well as a multiple award-winning musician, she moved to Scotland to continue her studies with a Fantasy MLitt at the University of Glasgow while publishing her first novel, "El Arte de Romperlo Todo", with Penguin Random House. 


Pic provided by Emma French


Emma French (she/her) is a 1st year SGSAH-funded PhD student at the University of Glasgow, researching how Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) consolidates our notions of fantasy, while enabling players to subvert established genre conventions. Her work addresses D&D’s treatment of race, gender, and sexual orientation; and looks at how players are using the game to address and repair the problematic legacies present within fantasy genre-culture. She graduated from Oriel College, University of Oxford, in 2015, and from the University of Glasgow with an MLitt in Fantasy in 2019. Her favourite fantasy authors include R.F Kuang, S.A. Chakraborty, and Silvia Moreno Garcia.



Grace Ann Thomas Worm (she/they) is a 2nd year PhD researcher on Female Fantasy in Tamora Pierce's fantasy world of Tortall at the University of Glasgow where she runs the Intersectional Fantastika reading group, is an editor for the student journal Mapping the Impossible, and a member of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic and moderator of its Discord server. Grace is an English Literature International Bachelorette accredited secondary teacher who has taught across the U.S. and has taught Rhetoric courses for the University of Texas at Austin. Her teaching experience and research interests cover gender, race, class, ecology, and new medievalism in contemporary American Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature. 



Mariana Rios Maldonado (she/her) completed her undergraduate degree at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico and her masters at Berlin’s Freie Universität. Her research focuses on the influence of Germanic culture in contemporary literature, Germanophonic fantastic literature, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary production. Mariana is currently a PhD candidate in at the University of Glasgow researching ethics and Otherness in Tolkien’s Middle-earth Narratives, funded by Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology and its National Foundation for Fine Arts and Literature. She is the Equality and Diversity Officer for the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic.


Pic Elena's own

Elena Pasquini (They/Them) is an Italian scholar in Comparative Literature. They studied English and Japanese at the University of Florence. They moved to Scotland for 8 years studying at the University of Aberdeen where they expanded the passion of literature with philosophy and visual art and later obtained their Master at the University of Glasgow. The love for words and visual arts drove them to focus their studies in graphic novels, fumetti, manga (マンガ/漫画) and manhwa (만화). In particular in the use of monsters in various cultures, the act of eating and what it means to be human.  




Halle Campise (she/her) is a current postgraduate student enrolled in the University of Glasgow’s MLitt: English Literature, Fantasy program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Science in Business from Texas A&M University. Her research interests include transmedia narrative adaptations and worldbuilding, as well as the ways in which international folklore and mythologies influence literary traditions. Her research interests are shaped by experiences she has had as a bisexual woman and as an international student.