TCAF Joins Forces with University Researchers for “Comic Cons Research Project”

UPDATE April 11: This survey is now available in both French and English! [Link]

TCAF Joins Forces with University Researchers
New research project explores booming fandom event sector

Toronto – March 19, 2018. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival and the Ottawa Geek Market have teamed up with researchers from Carleton University, Ryerson University, and the University of Calgary to launch a multi-year research partnership. Over the project’s three years, researchers will study the role that North America’s comic conventions, comic art festivals and fandom events play in the creative economy and the cultural life of cities.

“This sector has exploded in recent years, but a lot of the activity taking place has flown under the radar of both scholars and policymakers,” says project director Benjamin Woo, who is an assistant professor in Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. “Our project treats comic cons and fandom events as a media industry in their own right, one that has distinctive needs and makes distinctive contributions to their communities.”

“This is the fifteenth anniversary of TCAF and so much has changed for comics conventions and festivals in that time,” says Miles Baker, TCAF’s Managing Director. “We’re excited to see what the researchers will find, and how it can help make our festival and the industry better.”

The project’s first stage includes an industry-wide survey of events across North America. “Most people’s idea of a comic con is shaped by coverage of big shows like San Diego’s Comic-Con International,” says Woo, “but that really hides a lot of the diversity in the field.”

In the second year, researchers will work with TCAF and the Ottawa Geek Market to examine their internal practices and survey their attendees and exhibitors. Results of the study will be provided in the project’s third and final year.

The partnership is funded by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by contributions from the partner organizations.

For more information about the project, visit



Media Inquiries

Benjamin Woo Miles Baker
Project Director and Assistant Professor Managing Director
Carleton University Toronto Comic Arts Festival
613-520-2600 x 1770 416-323-9212