Harry Potter fans already know that fandom can be used in a powerful way. It is clear from the success of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) and the collective influence of Harry Potter fans that much can be achieved through the power of fandom.
Forbes has published an article titled “How Harry Potter Fans Are Changing the World – and Hollywood,” which explores the collective power of Harry Potter fans, the HPA, and Nerdfighters. While predominantly a discussion of the recent film release of The Fault in Our Stars, which has so far been a huge success, and the power of the fans in its success, the article also considers the achievements of the HPA and Harry Potter fans and asks why fandom is changing the world.
There is a strong crossover between Harry Potter fans and Nerdfighters, and so the focus of the article is even more relevant to both sets of fans. We posted a story recently about how the set designers on the movie snuck in some Harry Potter references to Hazel’s room, and through LeakyCon many fans are brought together. But according to the Forbes article, it is not the only way that the fandoms collide.
Lennon Flowers, the author of the article, writes,
While the approach has left Hollywood scrambling to line up its next big YA hits and desperately trying to absorb lessons from the upset, it’s a strategy that’s deeply familiar to Andrew Slack, founder of the Harry Potter Alliance.
The Harry Potter Alliance, or HPA, uses parallels from popular culture to educate and mobilize young people around the world about real-world issues, inviting them to become the heroes they read about, rather than mere voyeurs.
Continuing, she says,
Slack and the Green brothers understood what so many nonprofit leaders have historically failed to grasp: namely, that the way to get people to care about ‘serious issues’ was not through ‘serious talk’ by ‘serious people’—but instead to appeal to the characters and stories they already care about and the social identities and networks they already inhabit. They understood that, if effectively mobilized, the modern fan community could do more in minutes than most nonprofit communications teams could do in years.
Flowers further writes,
Slack believes that millennials’ lack of ties to traditional political, religious, and cultural institutions is born not out of apathy but out of mistrust. Asking what we can do to engage young people, he says, is ‘like being in a public library with a library card and asking, “Where can I get free books?”‘
Andrew Slack comments,
We’ve seen stories put to a lot of bad use [...] It’s time for the good guys to use them. It’s time to get beyond the technocratic details that make activism boring and respect how we as human beings communicate.
What did you think of the article? Are you involved with the HPA? What projects have you got involved with? Let us know what you’ve done with the HPA in the comments below!