15 February 2023: Social Issues in SFF

Representations of Social Issues in SFF Worlds and Narratives

Research Question: How can SFF creativity make us think differently about social problems and current/topical issues that dominate our everyday lived experiences?


A headshot of Nina Allan, smiling at the camera. Picture by Marzena Pogorzaly.

Nina Allan is a writer and critic. Her novel The Rift won the BSFA Award and the Kitschies Red Tentacle, and her novelette The Art of Space Travel was a finalist for the Hugo Award. Her new novel is Conquest, published in May 2023 by riverrun/Quercus.

A picture of Luci Holland conducting an orchestra. She is wearing dark-rimmed glasses and not looking at the camera.

Luci Holland is an award-winning composer & sound artist who produces music for screen & concert. She composed the scores for videogame Murderous Pursuits (2018), and film Sayo (2020), with the latter winning a 2021 New Music Scotland Award. More recently her work includes audio support for CRT7 by Scottish BAFTA-winning developer Amicable Animal, and collaborative audiovisual installation & experimental performance Spectral Ballroom (with Florence Richardson).

Gordon Johnstone is one half of Post Coal Prom Queen, a duo of producer-composers in Scotland. They create unique retrofuturistic soundscapes fused with their pop sensibilities. They’re also the hosts of The Last Question podcast where they interview people at the cutting edge of science and invite them to speculate wildly about the future.

Ellen Kushner unites her talents and insights as a writer, performer, and cultural maven in one sleek package: she is the author of acclaimed works of literary fantasy, an award-winning audio book narrator and stage performer, the creator and former host of public radio’s national series Sound & Spirit, and a popular teacher and lecturer.

A picture of Dr. Dana Little smiling at the camera. She is wearing dark-rimmed glasses.

Dr. Dana Little is Director and Assistant Professor of Digital Media Studies at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She created the storytelling genre of factions—intermingling facts and fictions in social media spaces. Her research story world is a satirical speculative interactive website examining the effects—problems and benefits—of tech on communication, culture, and human-computer interaction.

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Chair: Ken MacLeod

Academic Respondent: Dr Parinita Shetty

Parinita Shetty completed her M.Ed in Children’s Literature and Literacies at the University of Glasgow in 2017. She passed her PhD in Education viva at the University of Leeds in 2022. She launched a PhD podcast called Marginally Fannish to research intersectionality and public pedagogy in fan podcasts. She is passionate about co-creating knowledge, including diverse voices in her research, and making academic research as accessible as possible to non-academic audiences in creativeways. 

The image shows the Future Voices of Scottish SFF logo alongside details of the February event. The text reads: Representations of Social Issues in SFF Worlds and Narratives. With Nina Allan, Luci Holland, Ellen Kushner, Dana Little, and Post Coal Prom Queen. 15 February 2023