As part of the library’s Harry Potter’s World exhibit, the Academy Library has invited Andrew Slack, creator and co-founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, to campus Friday December 12th for an Assembly talk followed by a lunch with interested students.
The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) was started by Andrew Slack and Paul DeGeorge in 2005 just about the time J.K. Rowling published the 6th book in the Harry Potter series. The organization engages in what Henry Jenkins, media scholar and fan studies expert, refers to as “fan activism”. The HPA defines this form of civic engagement in their mission: “The Harry Potter Alliance turns fans into heroes. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy” (http://thehpalliance.org/).
Through their various campaigns, the HPA has raised funds to send medical supplies to Haiti during the 2010 earthquake, donated over 88,000 books to libraries and schools, and canvassed for marriage equality in Rhode Island and Maine. Their most recent Odds in Our Favor campaign urges Hunger Games fans to support Walmart and fast food workers as they strike for a living wage.
Andrew Slack is currently serving as an Ashoka Fellow and a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, so that he can launch the Imagine Better Project – an offshoot of the Harry Potter Alliance in which he hopes to continue his work in connecting other fandoms to civic engagement.
You can learn more about Slack’s Imagine Better Project and his work with the Harry Potter Alliance by viewing the video below or by reading his more extensive bio on the Ashoka website.