Furry Studies academic conference to launch October 18, 2024 in Rotterdam, Netherlands

by Patch O'Furr

Dutch furry fandom is spawning the Otterdam Furry Arts Festival, a public event celebrating furry culture and art. Part of the festival is a conference to connect academics, researchers, and community members for multi-field learning and presenting. It will happen physically and online, and you don’t have to be professional to contribute.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS — send proposals for work you can present at the event or online — DEADLINE IS JUNE 24, 2024

The Call For Papers has details and suggestions of work to present. History, philosophy, behavior study, economics…

We encourage the submission of proposals for academic papers, short workshops, practitioner-based activities, best-practice showcases, and pre-formed panels. We welcome established academics at all stages of their careers, and warmly embrace independent scholars. We also encourage submissions from non-academic furries and welcome other presentation formats such as photographic essays, alternative presentation styles, etc.

Here’s more info from one of the Organizing Committee. Vanguard Husky is a Postgraduate Researcher in the UK at the Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University. He runs Chasing Tails: A Furry Research Blog.

Furry Studies: An idea whose time has come — by Reuben “Vanguard” Mount

Just under a year ago, an academic colleague and I were approached with the idea of hosting a Furry Studies academic conference as part of a wider furry focused event. Honestly, there wasn’t much consideration before we accepted. I had been studying the furry fandom as a furry myself for three years at this time and was stunned to learn that this would be the first academic conference focusing on furries.

The furry fandom has been around for a long time. I know I probably don’t need to tell anyone reading this, but even if we take the first “furry party” as the benchmark, we’ve been here for almost forty years. Conversely, Furry Studies has been around arguably since 2007 with the initial studies from a group of social psychologists that would later become FurScience. Since this beginning, the number of furry academics has grown, with some incredible voices and viewpoints from countries around the world.

This was our starting point when we were approached to organise the first furry academic conference. We wanted to bring together these distant international voices that study furries to come together either physically or digitally to share their research, their thoughts and their knowledge about the furry fandom. It was also this desire to bring together knowledge that led to the creation of Minerva, our mascot.

The final result – drumroll please – is the Furry Studies 2024 conference (furrystudies.org) in Rotterdam, Netherlands, as part of the programme of the Otterdam Furry Arts Festival (otterdam.art). This will be a full-day event at the Nieuwe Instituut (nieuweinstituut.nl) on Friday October 18th 2024, with several sessions planned to fill the whole day. The opening keynote from Joe Strike (joestrike.com), who you may know from their amazing and insightful books about the furry fandom – Furry Nation and Furry Planet.

The theme of this conference is “Being Furry”. The intention of this was to begin with a provocation that was wide enough to prompt a variety of discussions, and one that we think every furry – academic or not – could speak to even if they couldn’t definitively answer. Also, as the first furry academic conference, we wanted to keep the theming simple to lead to more- complex and in-depth questions for future conferences – but that’s a thought process for later!

The Call for Papers is on our website. It’s been warmly received by the academic side of the furry fandom and we have received some incredible and insightful submissions so far. We’re still taking submissions until June 24th so make sure you drop something in before then!

But this isn’t just for academic fluffs! We welcome anyone interested in attending in person or online as registration and speaking slots are open to all. Plus, with all of the incredible events taking place over the weekend for the Otterdam Furry Arts Festival, and the fur con Reffurence (reffurence.com) happening the weekend after, there’s plenty to enjoy during this October in Rotterdam. So make sure you drop down and say hello!

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