Animation Unlimited 2008 is the name of this year’s Society for Animation Studies conference at the Art Institute at Bournemouth, which is in the English seaside resort town. The Society is very close to my heart, having founded the international membership organization in 1987 and served as its first president. SAS, I am happy to say, has survived very nicely without me, with my main duties these days is acting as Editor of its Animation Bibliography project.
This year’s conference kicks off with a keynote address by Esther Leslie, author of Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory, and the Avant-Garde, who will be speaking on “‘The Flux and Flurry of Animated Worlds — On Stillness and Hypermovement.” However, the core of the event will be papers presented by a wide variety of international scholars and filmmakers on various aspects of animation history and theory. For instance, the opening set of panels are devoted to The Simpsons and Japanese animation. Later that day, I will be talking about “The Movie Brat Generation and the Animation Renaissance,” while my co-panelists will be discussing “The Fleischer Advertising Cartoons” (Mark Langer), Shamus Culhane’s Woody Woodpecker cartoons (Tom Klein), and “Floyd Norman’s Story” (Musa Brooker).
Other panels will be devoted to the “Animated Documentary” and “Interdisciplinary Currents in Animation Studies,” in addition to those on more traditional topics, including animation theory, digital animation and teaching animation. In addition, there are two other keynote addresses and the Art Institute’s Gallery will be hosting a “Bob Godfrey Retrospective Exhibition” from July 14-August 22. This exhibit of original animation art, by that icon of British animation, is being curated by Suzanne Buchan and draws upon the Godfrey Collection at the University of the Arts’ Animation Research Centre, at Farnham.
All in all, it is something I very much look forward to attending, especially after I had to cancel my trip to last year’s conference, held Portland State University, in Portland, Oregon, in conjunction with the first Platform International Animation Festival.