2020 UK Asexuality Conference

Edinburgh Pride 2019

I was lucky enough to take part in the 2019 UK Asexuality Conference. I had such a wonderful time that I made plans to attend the 2020 conference in Reading. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic essentially put an end to any conventions. Thankfully, the organizers decided to put on a virtual conference. Not only did I get to attend, but I was able to do so much more. It was a wonderful experience. Despite not being in a physical space, I was able to meet a lot of new people. I also think the conference had a lot more to offer simply by being online. People who normally might not be able to attend due to travel issues were able to do so. There were people in attendance from nearly every continent, providing a rich diversity of experience that helped contribute to the conversation on A-spectrum issues as well as the atmosphere.

My day started off by hosting the “Aces in Fiction” panel. we had a wonderful discussion about where asexuality is in contemporary fiction and where it might be going in the future.

I then was a panelist on the Asexuality Research panel. This was really interesting to hear what contemporary research is being conducted in other fields. My area of study generally being localized around literature, I don’t often get to explore where other fields like sociology and psychology are on the matter. So this was a wonderful opportunity.

I also was asked to create the Gather space for the “Ace Creators” portion of the conference. The organizers used a very unique platform called Gather to host parts of the conference. One of the benefits of the platform is that you can create a simulated 2-D conference space. I was able to create the room where the “Ace Creators” met to discuss their work with various attendees. I had a really wonderful time playing with the platform and have started to use it regularly in my teaching.

It is really rather difficult to compare the 2019 and 2020 conference. But they each had their pros and cons.  On the one hand, I really did like getting to participate in activities outside the conference in 2019. But, there was also the tremendous travel expense that I am certain acts as an obstacle for many people to overcome. I think future conferences might benefit from having both a physical and virtual presence. Regardless, I look forward to future opportunities to interact with my community.

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Covid-19

Covid-19

My Year of the Plague

In spite of all the terrible effects coronoavirus has had on the world, I have this glimmer of hope the keeps the depths of my spirit alight. Whenever we look back in history at how plagues affected our culture, there is invariably an explosion of truly great art that comes out of it. Some of the most immortal works of literature by Milton, Shakespeare, and Boccaccio all struggled with the plague and produced exquisite works of literature during their periods of social isolation. While, yes, my life has been affected negatively, I can celebrate the fact that I have also made substantial breakthroughs on my research.

Unfortunately, my trip to Scotland was canceled. All my classes were forced to transition to an online format. And I was essentially banned from visiting the library for quite awhile. These were all tragic setbacks for my research. However, I was lucky enough to check out several suitcases worth of books before the campus went into lockdown. While that bothered me, it was bearable. What I find absolutely enraging is the fact that had we implemented appropriate policies in January then we could have reopened long ago with little to no effect to the economy. Alas, American politicians on both sides of the aisle have done nothing but fail the American people.

AVEN Interview

This will be a quick post, everyone.  In celebration of Asexual Awareness Week, I was asked to participate in an interview conducted by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, or AVEN.  I highly recommend checking not only my interview out, but the others in the series as well.

 

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Slice of Ace Interview: Part IV

Sliec of Ace

Slice of Ace

The final portion of my interview on Slice of Ace.


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