Five Things Alison Watson Said

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Five Things Alison Watson Said
Interviewer: Claudia Rebaza
Interviewee: Alison Watson
Date(s): September 11, 2016
Medium: online
External Links: Five Things Alison Watson Said
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Five Things Alison Watson is a 2016 Q&A guest post, conducted by the Organization for Transformative Works' Communications Committee with OTW volunteer and Open Doors co-chair Alison Watson.

It was carried out as part of a series. See Five Things Said.


What fannish things do you like to do?

I tend to consider myself mainly a consumer of fannish products, because like most of us, I read a lot of fanfiction! On the creation side, years ago I made a couple of vids, but these days my output is more likely to be fancrafts (knitting and crocheting) than anything else. Although it’s also work, I do consider volunteering for the OTW a fannish activity. Similarly, I co-run a small slash-focused con. A group of local fen meet up regularly and it’s great to just sit around and chat about whatever with other fans!

What’s the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

I’ve made some great friends through the OTW — I definitely find working with other volunteers motivating, even if sometimes the work itself is less fun! I’ve met a couple of people offline and I hope to get the opportunity to meet more people in future <3

Specifically about Open Doors, I enjoy importing works, even when it's something really different from what I'd read personally (or view, or otherwise access — we're not limited to fanfiction in our imports) . I like knowing that someone out there is going to get the opportunity to love it, and often we get some great comments from people discovering older works. Seeing kudos emails on works we've preserved is great!

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

The OTW’s mission is to provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan culture, and the Open Doors committee is really central to that! In fact, our committee’s own mission is specifically to protect and preserve at-risk fanworks of all kinds. We have two divisions — the Fanculture Preservation Project (FCPP), which is all about preserving physical fanworks through our partnership with the University of Iowa Library, and the Online Archive Rescue Project, which is what I focus on.

The Online Archive Rescue Project is about preserving fanwork archives which are in danger of being lost because the archive’s owner can’t maintain them any longer. Sometimes this is because they don’t have the resources to keep their website up any longer, sometimes it’s because their archive software has degraded over time and it’s no longer functional. More rarely it’s because the mod has left fandom or passed away. Whatever the reason, we try to help, because we want people to be able to enjoy the works for as long as possible. I also think it’s important to have a record of what fans have created, for ourselves as a community.