Credit: GG Photography and Illustrations Manager Allison Campbell and GG Online Editor Becca Luke

University launches the world’s first Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic

By Margaret Hartness

The announcement came with the first masters (MLitt) in fantasy literature at the University.

The University has now launched the first research centre in the world devoted solely to the study of fantasy.

The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic comes after the first masters (MLitt) in fantasy literature, which was also established by academics of the University. 

The new centre, officially launched 16 September 2020, will be led by doctors Dimitra Fimi and Rob Maslen, as a hub for academics in the field to bring together their research, knowledge and activities for learning. 

Dr Fimi, a Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature, and a J.R.R Tolkien specialist said: “This will be the first research centre in the world to focus solely on fantasy. It will look at different expressions of the fantastic – literature, art, illustration, games and gaming as well as film and TV.”

Dr Fimi additionally stated that the University was the ideal place for such study: “and of course, Glasgow is the perfect location for students in this field! We are surrounded by expressions of fantasy and the fantastic in the University’s very architecture. But this is also a future facing University interested in world leading cutting edge research, which will now include our centre for fantasy and the fantastic.”

Dr Rob Maslen, a college of arts faculty member of senior lecturer in English Literature, whose expertise lies in Fantasy/the Fantastic and is founder of the MLitt in Fantasy Literature degree, stated the relevance of the Centre for today’s society: “fantasy can be found everywhere in twenty-first-century global culture, in films, TV shows, plays, games, comics, the visual arts, and literature from picture books for the very young to multi-volume epics and one-off experimental forms.”

“The new Glasgow centre for fantasy and the fantastic allows us to pay close attention to this extraordinary phenomenon, its past, its present, and its many possible futures. I can’t wait to discover where its projects will lead us.”

The Centre will focus on themes and research areas such as the fantastic history of the twentieth century; myth, legend, folklore and fairy tales; children’s fantasy; gothic and supernatural diction, to name a few.

The award-winning American fantasy author and broadcaster Ellen Kushner, who was among one of the keynote speakers at the Centre’s launch, expressed: ”The tradition of the fantastic in art and literature is far more deep and complex than many people realise. I’m overjoyed that a Centre, led by this particular crew of knowledgeable and passionate academics, will now exist to benefit us all, and lead us into the future.”


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