|Synonyms:||fan week, fandom week|
|See also:||Challenge, Prompt|
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A fanweek or fandom week is a week dedicated to character(s), pairing, or fandom. They are fan-run and provide inspiration for fans to create fanwork, notably fanfiction and fanart. The general purpose of most fanweeks is to encourage more fanwork for the character(s), pairing, or fandom in question.
Most fanweeks come up with a list of daily prompts, either decided by the moderator or voted on by potential participants. These prompts vary in format, whether single words, AUs, quotes, tropes, or pictures. Participants are encouraged to post on the day of the prompt, but are also free to post on other days or after the week is over. Fanweek submissions are posted on participants' individual blogs (or any other social networking platform) and in the fanweek tag, rather than being treated as a formal "submission."
Fanweeks are almost always hosted on Tumblr, although they originated on DeviantArt. Organizers of the fanweek usually create a dedicated blog, on which they introduce and promote the event beforehand. On the day of the prompt, fanweek blogs usually reblog every entry posted in the tag corresponding to the daily prompt.
Occasionally there are fan months or fan weekends, rather than a fanweek. Some fanweeks also are longer than a week; for example, for 10 days. Increased length usually correlates with larger popularity of the focus, such as a month broadly dedicated to an entire fandom, and thus more fan-created content. Fanweeks are often repeating annual events that take place around the same date, but this may vary, usually depending on the moderators or organizers.
The concept of fanweeks started with Zutara Week (the Zuko/Katara fanweek) in early 2008, created by DeviantArt users GreenifyME and trishna87. The first Zutara Week was carried out in July 2008 and all subsequent Zutara Weeks have happened during the Northern Hemisphere's summertime to maintain this tradition. A deviantART group was created for it in 2010. The idea of "Ship Weeks" spread to other ships within the Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom such as Suki/Sokka, Toph/Sokka and Toph/Aang with many of Zutara Week's participants joining in. The spread generated some controversy when shippers of Aang/Katara, Zutara's rival, adopted the practice, because some Kataang shippers had engaged in active harassment against Zutara shippers who participated in Zutara Week - this had led to safety warnings being issued to Zutara Week participants in the 2009 event.
The weeks originally focused on romantic relationships, but soon became more general with celebration of friendships or certain characters. The popularity of the fanweeks within the Avatar fandom eventually spread outside of it, with Naruto and Bleach fandoms joining in first. This was in large part due to many fans of Avatar also being fans of these other series, due to Avatar being associated with anime. By 2010 many of these participants began to post their works on Tumblr, which was becoming the preferred platform to DeviantArt. This led to the gradual shift of Tumblr overtaking DeviantArt as the main host of fanweeks, though many older users still preferred DeviantArt. The official Avatar: The Last Airbender YouTube channel acknowledged Zutara Week in 2020 and uploaded a video celebrating the relationship development between Zuko and Katara.
Early fanweeks that began their lives on Tumblr include Dragon Age Fan Weeks in 2011. They may have become further popularized with the Haikyuu fandom in 2015, in which fanweeks correspond with set "ship days" based on the characters involved. Twitter has emerged in recent years as a popular site of fanweek content for fandoms that are active on Twitter.