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Fanfiction, wellbeing and young people's identity

About the project

We are a group of researchers interested in what fanfic means to young people. We're trying to find out how writing fanfiction contributes to the formation of young people’s identities and to their wellbeing, both at the time of writing it and as they grow older.

What about you?

We’d like to invite you to help us understand what fanfic writing means to you now, and what it meant to you in the past, through an online interview. We hope to explore your reflections on how experiences as a young fanfic writer might have shaped your current identities.  But we also want to let you tell us what's important – so we will follow your lead in the conversation.

We're looking for people who are between 18 and 25, and started writing fanfic when they were younger – whether you wrote a couple of stories five years ago, or whether you're still active in multiple fandoms, writing multi-chapter epics on a regular basis.

Who are we?

Naomi Holford is a Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at the Open University. She is interested in gender and sexuality in childhood and youth, and exploring at how different aspects of identity affect children and young people's experiences of the world. Her latest fandom is Black Sails.

Sara Clayson is a Staff Tutor in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sports at the Open University. She is interested in children and young people’s fiction – both the fiction that is produced for them and their own creative writing – and in the impact literature has on their lives. She has researched gender politics in popular fiction and has a particular interest in fictional androgynes and the Gothic. 

Mimi Tatlow-Golden is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology and Childhood at The Open University. She is interested in children and young people's experiences of the worlds they live in - and how these may not always be well understood by adults. She researches young people's health and well-being in various domains including food, media - and fun.

Interested in participating?

Please email or for more information about the project.


This research has received ethical approval from the Open University Human Research Ethics Committee, reference number HREC/3309/Holford.