Distant Worlds

Social Justice Storytelling Through Fantasy, SF, & Horror


In this community playshop, we use fantasy, science fiction, and horror (SF for short) as a lens for creating social justice and combating violence in its many forms. For many women of color and transgender people of color, SF is a springboard to share our insights and strategies for social change: we play videogames such as BioShock, devour Octavia Butler novels, and write fanfiction about The Hunger Games. Our playshop builds on this aspect of popular culture, focusing on the power of SF to imagine new futures and cultural realities. We invite people to form guilds and collaborate at five unique play stations. One station, for example, draws inspiration from Star Trek, asking people to write their own prime directive. At another station, folks work together to write a fiery manifesto on dealing justly with alien communities and otherworldly civilizations. Come play with us!

Art: Djinn Child, "In the Depths", 2013.

Distant Worlds: Social Justice Storytelling Through Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Horror

Saturday, March 7th, 3:45-5pm

UC Berkeley, Wheeler Hall, Room 202 (second floor)

Today's Goals, Flow, & Rules of Participatory Engagement

Today's Goals:

  • Have fun!

  • Create a joyful learning community.

  • Share strategies for learning & teaching with youth culture.


3:55 - 4:05 Universal Welcome

4:05 - 4:45: 'Play' Station Explorations

4:50 - 5:00: Convergence & Closure

Here’s How We Fly!

Our play space is open and free, so stay as long as you like.

  1. Universal Welcome: Friendship is magic! Knowledge is power! In fantasy, words are magic. Let’s bring our names, gender pronouns, and dreams into the room. Please share your name, gender pronoun, and one or two words that speak to the future you wish to create.

  2. Grab a Galactic Passport & form a guild of 3 to 4 people. Please introduce yourselves, & explore Station Alpha.

  3. Migrate! Move to any of the other stations. We suggest spending 15 minutes per station. Feel free to form larger communities at the play stations; the more gamers, the more fun!

  4. Convergence! At 4:50, all guilds come together to celebrate in community.

  5. You can see today’s alchemy via this url: http://www.smore.com/easpc-distant-worlds. If you leave your work behind, we’ll be uploading it for future generations.

Rules of Participatory Engagement:

  • Practice sharing power by stepping up and stepping back to invite all people into the room.

  • Honor people, including their opinions, experiences, and communication styles.

  • Question people with respect by asking them to rephrase statements you find troubling.

  • Open yourself to learning and teaching.

  • Turn off cell phones.

  • Turn up the love.

Art: Wangechi Mutu, "Family Tree 3", 2012.

Big image

Station Alpha: Assembling Your Space Pack

“Listen, no part of me is more definitive of who I am than my brain.”

- Octavia Butler, Imago

"You are what your creators and experiences have made you, like every other being in this universe. Accept that....”

- N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Assemble your space pack! As a guild, discuss what traits, talents, privileges, and personal experiences you are bringing on this mission.

Possible Questions:
  • Communication can be tricky across the cosmos -- so many languages, so many cultures, so many styles of expression! What earthly experiences might ease your encounters and exchanges with sentient creatures from other worlds?

  • Gravity varies from star to star and ship to ship. How might your body adapt to space?

  • On Earth, you walked across borders, evaded immigration officers, and devised strategies to thrive despite your legal status in the U.S. How might these experiences of risk, courage, and adaptability aid your travels to faraway worlds?

Laura Mvula - That's Alright

About Darshan Elena Campos

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Darshan Elena Campos has taught high school, college, and adult learners at institutions such as Making Waves Education Program and MEEP: Mapping Educational Ecosystems Project.

Art: Djinn Child, "Darshan Elena Campos", 2014

About Stephanie Der

An active member of fandom, Stephanie Der has tutored different age groups, volunteered as a pregnancy prevention educator for high school first years in Oakland, and worked as a substitute teacher predominantly for elementary school resource students.