UNNC scholar dedicated to researching fandom

29 December 2020

Dr Celia Lam, Associate Professor in Media and Cultural Studies at the School of International Communications, University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), is an expert in the study of fandom and its impact. Dr Lam is an executive member of the Fame and Persona Research Consortium and her publication 'Aussie Fans: Uniquely Placed in Global Popular Culture’ was released last year.

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“The fans’ initiative and organisation render them power, which has both positive and negative impacts,” Dr Lam said. She is proud and confident of her research. “Fans are seen to be disruptive because of some activities like large public gatherings. However, they can also promote public welfare, and boost the economy by increasing consumption. The formation of creative communities in fan cultures also drives changes in media industries, making fandom an influential cultural phenomenon.”

Currently, Dr Lam focuses on Australian fan culture. “Comparing Australian fans, Chinese fan communities have higher degrees of industrialisation and collaboration. They are more willing to share and spread their favourite celebrities and products, making marketing potential much greater than those of many other countries."

Her interest in fandom derives from her doctoral study. “During that period, I noticed the importance of popular culture in contemporary cultural studies.” Although her undergraduate study was about movies, she found a passion for fandom among various topics under popular culture and later transformed it into an academic interest.

To Dr Lam, the development of humanities and social science is of equal importance to the advancement of natural science. While the latter helps people to understand the world, the former can help people have a more complete understanding of themselves. “As scholars, we hope to investigate the economic and social impact of fandom and celebrities, and how it will affect average people.”

Apart from being a humanities and social sciences researcher, Dr Lam has many years of teaching experience at UNNC. “Our students are very self-motivated and engaged, demonstrating strong intellectual curiosity about the subjects they study,” she said. She is also popular among students. A year-4 International Communications student recalled that Dr Lam was always kind and patient in answering their questions.

In the future, Dr Lam plans to research “bromance”. She is also looking for partners to collaborate on research about Chinese popular culture and fandom. “I hope that more people can learn about the social phenomena reflected by fandom. We need to find out not only the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’,” she said.