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The registration deadline for the Tales Beyond Borders conference and workshop, all of which focus on the intercultural role of fantasy literature and speculative fiction, is now approaching (20th March 2015). Tales Beyond Borders is a two-day international conference (24th-25th April) and a postgraduate/early career researcher workshop (23rd April), organized by the ‘Reading the Fantastic’ Graduate Research Group at the University of Leeds. We have four keynote speakers: Dr Nicola Bown (Birkbeck, University of London) and Dr Alaric Hall (University of Leeds), whose research deals with Victorian fantasy and medieval fantasy respectively, will represent the academic aspect of working with the fantastic; science-fiction and fantasy writer (and multiple Arthur C. Clarke award nominee) Justina Robson and Peter Stevenson, a professional illustrator,  musician, storyteller from Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Kingston Art College, will provide a complementary perspective on working in the creative field of the fantastic.


We’re excited to be welcoming 36 panel speakers,  from nine different countries,  to the two main conference days (Friday 24th – Saturday 25th April, 2015) of Tales Beyond Borders. Panel speakers will be discussing a wide variety of topics and issues, including the use of modern techniques of digital illustration and animation to bring Malaysian and Thai folktales to new audiences, the balance of political and scientific investigations of fantasy, issues around Queer and ‘strange’ physicalities in speculative fiction, and difficulties of translation, reception, and interpretation in contemporary sci fi and dystopic fiction.


Our one-day workshop (open to both conference attendees and non-attendees) will explore the use of fantasy as a point of career engagement and public impact, aiming to provide practical skills as well as increase knowledge of current projects. Participants will pursue in-depth investigations with different speakers in three separate sessions focusing on fantasy and community engagement, fantasy and digital engagement, and fantasy and pedagogical engagement. Workshop sessions will involve presentations of current projects, discussion of strategies, and training in problem-solving using focused small-group work and feedback from speakers including Dr Laura Anderson (University of Leeds), who will focus on ‘Curious Encounters: Organising Public Engagement Activities Across Disciplines’;  Cath Heinemeyer (York St John University and York Theatre Royal), who will present on ‘Telling Tales with Teenagers: Stories from the Front Line’; Heather Robbins (the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, University of Chichester), who will talk about ‘Folklore, Fairy Tales, Fantasy and Facebook’, Dr. Sarah Copeland (University of Bradford), who will discuss ‘Community Digital Storytelling: Engendering Activism through Narrative’, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies), who will address ‘Gothic Pedagogies: Challenges, Strategies and Design of Modern and Contemporary Gothic Units’ and Peter Stevenson (Storyteller and Illustrator), who will explore the complexities of ‘Teaching Visual and Performative Storytelling’.


More information about these initiatives, including schedule, speaker and registration/payment information, can be found on our