The 2018 Studio will feature eight intensives, all led by extraordinary faculty on topics related to reading, writing, and career development. Studio participants will be able to attend half of those intensives—assuming, of course, that you aren’t sleeping in, lingering over breakfast in bed, or stuck in a book you can’t put down.
While the workshop schedule for the Sirens Studio won’t be available until later this summer, buying your ticket now will reserve your space with these exceptional faculty. Tickets are available to registered Sirens attendees, and include access to the Studio’s workshop intensives, the afternoon quiet and discussion rooms, the evening film screening, morning smoothies, and new in 2018, a Studio attendees-only faculty reception. The Sirens Shuttle will be available on the evening of Monday, October 22, to facilitate Sirens Studio attendees’ transportation to the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek. In order to keep the experience conversational and somewhat intimate, we are limiting the number of Sirens Studio tickets to 65. If you have any questions or concerns, please write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).
Dates: Tuesday, October 23, 2018, and Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Time: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday (and until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday)
Ticket Price: $100
You may purchase tickets here.
- Diversity on Fire: Developing a More Informed Diversity Framework
Conversations about diversity often feel limited to one thing: Who’s on the page. As readers, we know better than to rely on a simplistic checklist approach for diversity—instead, we should explore this issue through a rubric that explores both diversity and inclusion. Who are these characters as people? What are they doing? Who wrote them? Who was involved in the process of acquiring, editing, and producing the book that lies in your hands? We’ll discuss the shortcomings of current approaches to diversity, whether there’s a better way to have this conversation, and how we can borrow the “fire triangle” to talk about diversity and inclusion. Come prepared to dissect (and possibly learn uncomfortable things about) one or more of your favorite books.
- Finding Sycorax: Highlighting Complex Black Women Characters in Genre
Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks
This workshop will focus on interrogating the construction of black women characterizations in genre (that is, science fiction, fantasy, and horror) literature, film, and comic books through a critical black feminist framework. What is black feminist theory? How do we use it as a tool in reading and creating genre literature? Why is it problematic to construct black women characters as “strong”? We will begin this workshop with everyone sharing their favorite black woman character in genre (problematic or not!), and move into the discussion and interrogation of prominent contemporary black women characters. We will take the time to examine the complexities of when others create black women characters and juxtapose that against when black women write themselves into genre. The goal of this workshop is to use black women’s theories about themselves to recognize and create black women characters in various genre texts.
- The Latinx Myth
This reader workshop will focus on the representation of Latinx culture and peoples in science fiction and fantasy literature. So often, Latinx science fiction and fantasy gets lumped up into one group, perpetuating the idea that there is a single “Latinx mythology.” Here we will use both young adult and adult science fiction and fantasy novels by and about Latinx people to further understand the intersection of what’s real and what isn’t in fiction.
- Taking the Castle: Understanding Power Structures in Fantasy and Fiction
What makes a book keep us on the edge of our seat? What makes a romance satisfying and a fantasy thrilling? It’s all about power structures: who has the power, who is surrendering control, and who is fighting for it. But what happens when power structures in books unwittingly reinforce structures of oppression in society? And how can we spot those situations? And is it bad to reinforce existing power structures via narrative? This workshop will aim to make you a better reader by examining common power structures in society and teaching you how to apply them to your own reading.
- Description and “The Other”
K. Tempest Bradford
After characterization, the aspect of craft writers who aim to create inclusive, representational fiction are most anxious to get right is description. This can be particularly difficult for fantasy and science fiction authors, who must sometimes describe types of people who don’t yet exist. In this intensive we’ll use writing exercises to explore and practice the art of description, talk about bias language, and dismantle the idea of exposition as the enemy of good writing. There will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and exercises, and all participants will leave with a set of resources for further practice and deeper understanding.
- Make Narnia Great Again: Propaganda and Power in Fantasy
We don’t have to look very far to see how effective propaganda can be—not only was our last election heavily influenced by it, but propaganda is also deeply seeded in the United States’ national identity. Whether it’s from broadsheets fresh off the printing press, leaflets dropped from planes, or bots on social media, the dissemination of various kinds of propaganda has been a key tactic throughout history for those who wish to seize or maintain power. When we’re writing about oppressive societies, propaganda, overt and insidious, can be a useful tool in showing how power structures are maintained. In this workshop, we’ll look at the ways oppressive societies in fantasy worlds make use of different kinds of propaganda, from catchy slogans to manipulation of history textbooks to popular entertainment to fake news. We’ll design a world and write our own propaganda for it, and then talk through ways to use propaganda in our own work.
- Hard Stops
We’re encouraged to imagine a career we want—but how often do we think about what we don’t want? Just as every moment is an opportunity to expand your experience and intellect, it’s also an opportunity to identify tasks, collaborations, and work environments that create more financial insecurity and social anxiety than they’re worth. How do you parse out the regular grunt work necessary to prove yourself, versus systemic oppression and exploitation? How many more jobs are you going to do for free for the experience, and how many more times will you work past midnight to finish this one project, and how many more events will you attend this week to meet the “right people”? In this endless pursuit of a dream job, we can work ourselves into a nebulous space of self-questioning that is counterproductive to our career. A lot of us don’t have the luxury of doing what we love—and even if you do, your dream job is still a job. But should you love parts of it? (The answer is yes.) And the parts you love less? Let’s make sure they’re still manageable, and in the service of self-satisfaction and the fulfillment of your goals.
- Taking the Off-Ramp: Strategies and Practices for Changing Careers (Especially for Academics)
Dr. Andrea Horbinski
Changing careers is an increasingly common reality, especially for academics confronting the facts of increasing job competition and shrinking tenure track opportunities. In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for deciding whether—and on what terms—you should stay in your chosen career, and talk about some of the opportunities and challenges of leveraging experience in one industry for job opportunities in another. We’ll also discuss some practices that will help you in your career advancement no matter what track you choose.