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New research project explores booming fandom event sector

Ottawa – March 19, 2018. The Ottawa Geek Market and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) have teamed up with researchers from Carleton University, Ryerson University, and the University of Calgary to launch a multi-year research partnership. Over the project’s three years, researchers will study the role that North America’s comic conventions, comic art festivals and fandom events play in the creative economy and the cultural life of cities.

“This sector has exploded in recent years, but a lot of the activity taking place has flown under the radar of both scholars and policymakers,” says project director Benjamin Woo, who is an assistant professor in Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. “Our project treats comic cons and fandom events as a media industry in their own right, one that has distinctive needs and makes distinctive contributions to their communities.”

“We’re very excited to be a partner on this project and look forward to helping the researchers gain a better understanding of the culture and economics of geeky fandom events,” says Stacey Young, President of the Ottawa Geek Market.

The project’s first stage includes an industry-wide survey of events across North America. “Most people’s idea of a comic con is shaped by coverage of big shows like San Diego’s Comic-Con International,” says Woo, “but that really hides a lot of the diversity in the field.” 

In the second year, researchers will work with the Ottawa Geek Market and TCAF to examine their internal practices and survey their attendees and exhibitors. Results of the study will be provided in the project’s third and final year.

The partnership is funded by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by contributions from the partner organizations. 

For more information about the project, visit

Media Inquiries

Benjamin Woo
Project Director and Assistant Professor
Carleton University
613-520-2600 x1770
[email protected]

Stacey Young
Ottawa Geek Market
[email protected]

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