A Visit to the Library: Lokacon 2016

Ten o’clock in the morning after the Uses of Fantasy in Changing Media Landscape seminar had finished, a delegation of its organizers had another chance to present the results of The World Hobbit Project. However, instead of the classrooms at the University of Jyväskylä, the venue was a public hall inside the Jyväskylä City Library, which hosted the annual Lokacon on October 22.

Lokacon is a traditional event organized by the local Jyväskylä Science Fiction Society 42 on the 42nd week of each year. This year the one-day affair hosted presentations by SF authors, experts, and scholars with the Uses of Fantasy project having the first slot. Unfortunately, being first sometimes comes with its own problems. This time a lack of a simple adapter meant that the audience was denied the visual aids planned for the show — among them pictures of the hot dwarves, or rather their fan art depictions, so often mentioned in The World Hobbit Project’s survey answers.

The delegation’s Irma Hirsjärvi and Tanja Välisalo did, however, verbally and on a flip board review some of the results. The audience was introduced, for instance, to the many ways in which the audience had reacted to the different characters in the film from the dwarves to the additional elf Tauriel. They also received information about the possible societal implications of the results and, of course, on details and results specific to the Finnish answers, such as the especially strong participation in fan activity connected to the films.

The audience was active in asking questions. They were, for example, critical about the comparability of the Finnish data. They questioned whether the data, which apparently has a high degree of fans, can be used for making broader interpretations about the audiences in general. However, our research team explained that this is an interesting result in itself and more in-depth research on the Finnish audience in particular  is underway, so they can expect more results on this topic in the future.

By Jani Ylönen

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