Fantasies of Contemporary Culture

Cardiff University, 23 May 2016


  1. This week at Cardiff University, delegates gathered from around the world for the Fantasies of Contemporary Culture symposium. The event was an opportunity to explore the political and cultural functions of fantasy, in all its forms.
  2. 'How might the fantastical characters and environments that populate our contemporary cultural landscape be informed by the experience of twenty-first-century metropolitan life,' asked the event's call for papers, 'and how do such texts (in)form that experience in return?' Delegates answered this question in many different ways, over two plenary talks, eight panel sessions, and numerous informal discussions throughout the day.
  3. There was as much activity on social media as there was off it, and a number of the physical attendees took to Twitter to share their thoughts using the #cultfantasies hashtag. The tweeting commenced well before the event itself:
  4. After registration (and some much-needed coffee), the day kicked off with a keynote from Mark Bound (UWE Bristol). Bould looked at a pair of recent London texts, to explore the role of the fantastic in understanding contemporary economic and ecological crises.
  5. With the morning keynote behind us, we moved on to the first of three concurrent panel sessions – one on fantasy, fandom, and branding, one on science fiction and critical theory, and one on fantasies of social justice. (For full details of all the panel sessions, papers, and speakers, see the symposium website: .)