5th Biennial Slayage Conference on the WHEDONVERSES

For the last two years I had been saving for my dream trip to New York City, however while as one day in January I checked the Slayage website, I decided straight away that I must attend this year’s Slayage Conference – that of the Whedon Studies Association.

Right there and then I booked my conference ticket, accommodation and flights (deciding to spend a week in Vancouver and then a small stay in New York afterwards). I had known of the Slayage site for many years – I’ll admit as a 13 year old, sitting at my computer creating my Buffy fan site day after day I would on occasion copy excerpts from Slayage papers and pass them off as my own – but had not been aware of the conferences.

On arrival the first thing that struck me was the beautiful location.

However, the campus grid layout proved to be a nightmare. After having been up for at least 30  hours by Thursday evening, I was looking forward to an early evening. Leaving Allard Hall, I spent an hour circling around the entire campus, with a lot of zigzagging in between until I eventually found Gage Towers. By Friday morning (having asked for directions) I successfully knew my way to the student union and back. By Saturday I was able to find the shopping area and on Sunday I finally knew how to get from Gage to Allard Hall without the aid of a map.

But onto the conference itself…

Having attended the last ever Buffy convention held in the UK several years ago, this was an entirely different (and much greater) experience. The talks were not only informative, but also a lot of fun as well. I especially enjoyed Jonathan Gray’s ‘Joss Whedon as Undead Author’, as having studied Barthes’ and Foucault’s theories on this, it was interesting to hear these applied to Whedon.

I’ll also give a special mention to Laurel Bowman and Lauren Mayes’ ‘Death and the Maiden: Tragic Virgins in the Whedonverse’ – a subject that I’d never considered before and gave me a lot to think about.

My highlight would probably have to be the banquet. I had initially been concerned about the dreaded sing along (especially after being informed that the amount of wine available was minimal), but after somehow managing to obtain at least 5 glasses I happily sang along WITH FEELING.

After the conference was over I returned home full of ideas for essays and even proposals for the next meeting (some of which I’ve started and a lot that will probably never see the light of day).

So I’d like to say a big thank you to the WSA for all their dedicated work on continuing to dedicate so much love to a man and his shows which remain so important to myself and clearly many others.


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