Noémie B discovered the joys of sharing transformative works through My Little Pony fanart in primary school. She has since then spent a ridiculous amount of time in book fandoms, Real Person Fiction, anime fandoms, and is now a casual K-pop fan. While not being a very active participant in fandom, she was (and still is) very interested in fan studies and fan projects, and decided to join the Organization for Transformative Works as a way to give back to fan communities at large.
She has been a Tag Wrangler since 2015 and a supervisor since 2018, and got to work in collaboration with the Open Doors and Support committees. Her experience volunteering for the OTW has helped her grow and allowed her not only to improve her English skills but also her ability to work in teams and occasionally to mentor others.
Outside of fandom, she works as a speech therapist (and unofficially as her own secretary and accountant). She loves words and languages and wants to help others experience the beauty of creating, reading, and sharing stories. She firmly believes in the OTW’s missions and values.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
The thought of running for election to the Board has crossed my mind several times in the past years. The OTW’s projects have been an incredible source of comfort and stability in my life ever since I discovered them (especially the Archive of Our Own, which provides me with daily bedtime stories) and I cherish the time I spend volunteering. The desire to give back to all the fans creating and sharing content is what pushed me to start volunteering and what keeps me interested in learning more.
By participating in this election I wanted to ensure that we run a properly contested election and spare emergency candidates from participating. I do believe that candidates should be fully willing and able to become Board members if elected, and that they should find satisfaction in participating in the elections.
I am very interested in the different OTW projects such as Fanlore and Transformative Works and Cultures, and in the different committees of the OTW. While my role as a Tag Wrangler has allowed me to learn more about some committees (like Support or Translation), I wish to have a broader understanding of the Organization’s structure and goals. Participating in this election is an opportunity to discover another aspect of the OTW. Likewise, becoming a Board member would allow me to learn about the OTW’s projects from within the organization and help develop projects I am less familiar with.
I refrained from participating in the past years’ elections because I knew I did not have enough time and resources to join Board. I am now confident that I could meet Board’s expectations.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
As a speech therapist, I get to work with people of different backgrounds and with very different profiles. Being able to accept each patient as they are is essential so I always strive to be empathic, patient, and honest. The same applies to colleagues. Working with other health professionals is often a challenge, but also a great way to learn about the limits and advantages of taking multiple points of view into consideration when making decisions.
My time volunteering as a Tag Wrangler and supervisor has also been very rewarding in terms of personal development. Workflow, tools, and training process have gone through several changes since I started volunteering. Therefore, I understand the necessity, as an individual and as a team to stay up-to-date. Working in collaboration with other committees has also made me realize the importance of increasing inter-committee relationships and learning about others’ limitations to better understand them.
I have experienced different types of management models outside of the OTW, and know the importance of a nice work environment. Kindness and respect are greatly valued within the organization and I believe this to be one of our biggest strengths. I will be very sensitive to communication and language related issues in order to preserve this environment.
In regards to Board roles, I am used to making long term plans to reach goals and work well with hard deadlines. Administrative tasks and legislative aspects of Board roles do not intimidate me (I have the pleasure of dealing with the French administrative system weekly). Finally, I am open to criticism, especially since I am always in the process of learning, and improving myself only comes from accepting my mistakes.
3. Choose one or two goals for the OTW that are important to you and that you would be interested in working on during your term. Why do you value these goals? How would you work with others to achieve them?
My main goal – as for many past candidates- is to continue making the OTW as inclusive and accessible as possible. While not yet feasible, having Archive of Our Own’s interface in multiple languages would be a huge step in making it more accessible to non-English speakers across the world. In recent years, we have seen an increasing influx of new users on the Archive. Many of these new users are non-English speakers, or non-native English speakers. As a non-native speaker myself, I know how important Accessibility, Design & Technology, and Translation Committees’ work is. I want to make sure that we continue our efforts and find solutions to allow people from different cultural backgrounds, different levels of familiarity with our projects, and different impairments, to use and interact with our projects as comfortably as possible.
On an internal level, our main goal would be improving inter-committee collaboration. Committees often have to collaborate and I am convinced that bigger projects could be carried out if we combined our skills and shared limitations and goals. Collaborating is essential when resolving complicated issues and would prevent assumptions and misunderstandings. Thankfully, we have shared tools like the internal wiki and chat platform, which are great resources to learn about other committees and foster communication between volunteers. However, I believe that there is still space to improve the overall cohesion of the OTW. In addition to our current internal newsletter, we could update training documents to encourage a broader understanding of the OTW as a whole, or organize regular internal events.
Finally, in light of recent events, I think that we should emphasize the importance of enforcing strict policies to protect our volunteers and personal data.
4. What is your experience with the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Try to include a range of projects, though feel free to emphasize particular ones you have experience with.
Our biggest project and the one most members of the OTW are familiar with is the Archive of Our Own. It is the project I have more experience with, as a user and as a volunteer. I have seen it evolve and become more complex with time. I know how much time and energy is necessary for the site to work as well as it does today. As stated before, I hope that by fostering inter-committee collaboration we will be able to keep on improving the interface of the site without overlooking the current resources needed.
From my academic background, I know that research and publication is essential to explore fields of interest and have these fields recognized. As an academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures is an important project and should be supported and strengthened to help fan studies be recognized.
As a user and occasionally as a volunteer, I also became familiar with Fanlore and Open Doors (work searching, tag mapping). These projects are also essential to preserve fandom history.
On another note, our rights and liberties are worth fighting for and I am endlessly thankful to the people willing to defend them and to Legal Advocacy for their work.
I think that each OTW project and related committees should have access to the right tools and resources. It is the Board’s role to make sure that volunteers feel comfortable with stating their needs and to make sure that these needs are met so that volunteers can stay involved while working in the best conditions possible.
5. How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the OTW, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?
I don’t plan to hand over any of my current roles in the OTW but will always make sure that any Board related task gets priority.
Staying an active Tag Wrangler should not be a problem since I can always reevaluate the time I spend on wrangling tasks and adjust the number of fandoms I am assigned to accordingly.
If the need arises, I will not hesitate to reach out and ask for advice. Thankfully, I am sure that the Tag Wrangling Supervisors team will not be impacted negatively if I ever decide to take a hiatus. However, I hope I can find a balance and manage both of these roles.