I’ve just come back from WisCon, the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention (now in its 39th year), where I am now co-chairing the academic track. It went fabulously, and I’m looking forward to planning new ways to foster scholarship on feminist speculative topics both inside and outside the academy.
At WisCon, I got to formally announce a project I’ve been working on for the past year as a part of the James Tiptree Jr Award Motherboard. The Tiptree Award, as many people reading this will know, is given each year for a work of speculative fiction that expands and explores our ideas of gender. The Fellowships are about helping emerging creators who are committed to that kind of work. Here’s the description:
After almost 25 years of Tiptree Awards, the Tiptree Motherboard is expanding the reach of the Award to reflect the changing and expanding landscape both of science fiction/fantasy and of gender itself. We know that the most exciting, challenging narratives of speculation don’t always fit within the boundaries of genre fiction as we know them – such as Janelle Monae’s genre bending work, which appeared on the Honor List of the 2013 Tiptree Award. We know that members of historically underrepresented communities are creating a lot of the most important work, with less recognition from the world at large than members of communities with higher visibility. And we know that emerging writers and creators are rarely paid for their labor, even when they produce and publish work that finds an audience. We want to support the development of new work, in any form or genre, that uses speculative narrative to expand or explore our understanding of gender, especially in its intersections with race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other categories of identification and structures of power.
In 2015, we will open applications for Tiptree Fellowships. Fellowships will be $500 per recipient and will be awarded each year to two creators who are doing work that pushes forward the Tiptree mission. We hope to create a network of Fellows who will build connections, support one another, and find collaborators. We imagine that some of the works we support now might even win the Tiptree Award one day. We hope to change the field of speculative fiction by providing recognition for new voices that have been underrepresented, but whose work is vital in making visible the many forces that are changing gender today and tomorrow.
The Tiptree Fellows might be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely. If you are doing work that is changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative – maybe in a form we would recognize as the science fiction or fantasy genre, maybe in some other way – you will be eligible for a Fellowship. You won’t have to be a professional or have an institutional affiliation, as we hope to support emerging creators who don’t already have institutional support for their work.
To start off the Fellowships program, we wanted to create a process for applications and decisions that would be as inclusive as possible. We decided to invite an inaugural Tiptree Fellow to help us work on developing that process. We chose micha cárdenas, who is, in her own words, “an artist, theorist, student and educator who creates and studies trans of color movement in digital media, where movement includes migration, performance and mobility.” Micha frequently uses science fiction narrative in her creative work, most recently in her online game Redshift and Portalmetal, which explores a trans woman of color’s experiences of interplanetary migration. She also writes scholarship about science fiction media, such as her essay “Shifting Futures” on the work of Janelle Monae. Tiptree Fellowship applications are now open.
You can read more about the Fellowships, and learn how to apply, by following this link to the Tiptree website. Applications are due September 1, 2015!
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