Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Toy Story’s release, the University of Sunderland in northeast England will host an academic conference devoted exclusively to the film.

The two-day event, organized by the university’s Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, will explore all aspects of the Pixar film, which was the first feature-length computer-animated film ever made. It’ll begin on November 12 with a keynote address by animation historian Paul Wells followed by a screening of Toy Story.

The conference organizers have put out a call for panel papers, pre-constituted panels, and 5 minute micro-talks/video essays that explore “any significant aspect of the film itself, its subsequent impact, or wider issues arising from Toy Story (or the Toy Story franchise) and its reception.”

Possible topics that can be addressed at the conference include:

  • Representation of the child
  • Treatment of family and/or friendship
  • Appeal to different audiences
  • Growing up with the Toy Story films
  • Reception
  • Fandom
  • Stardom
  • Performance
  • Music
  • Aesthetics
  • Dominant themes/ideology
  • Industrial and commercial contexts
  • Merchandising
  • The role of toys in the film as children’s playthings or symbolic children
  • Influence on Hollywood cinema, animation, or US popular culture
  • International cultural impact

To submit a paper idea, send an abstract of 250–300 words, along with personal details (institutional affiliation and a brief bio) by June 1 to toystory (at) Additional details can be found on the conference website.

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Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Cartoon Brew.

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