Since its launch in 2013, the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies has been involved in a number of events, often in collaboration with other institutions, public bodies and organisations. You can find out information about them below, as well as links to other pages with more information.
Public Engagement in 2018
In 2018, the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies is hosting and organising the 14th conference of the International Gothic Association, the largest gathering of teachers, scholars, students, artists, writers and performers who are interested in any aspect of gothic culture. The theme of the conference is Gothic Hybridities: Interdisciplinary, Multimodal and Transhistorical Approaches and the conference will take place from the 31st of July to the 3rd of August. To capitalise on the attendance of Gothic academics the world over, Gothic Manchester VI will be running parallel to the conference.
2018 has also seen the development of links with the National Trust. Inspired by the spooky façade, ghost stories and Gothic interiors of Speke Hall, near Liverpool, Prof. Dale Townshend, Dr Emma Liggins, Dr Ellie Byrne and Dr Peter Lindfield worked on a new exhibition, ‘Romance and Revival: The Gothic at Speke Hall’, which runs from February to July 2018. As an example of the Gothic Revival in the early nineteenth century, the architecture of Speke Hall lends itself to the supernatural; the sad history of the Watt family who lived there in the 1850s and early 1860s also has uncanny echoes of the Gothic novel. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public lectures on the Gothic by members of the Centre: Dr Emma Liggins (March), Prof Townshend (April), Dr Peter Lindfield (May), Dr Matt Foley (June) and Dr Ellie Byrne (July).
There are a number of other public engagement events programmed for 2018. These include:
- In January, Dr Chloé Germaine Buckley gave a public lecture entitled 'Witches, Bitches, Feminist Trailblazers? The Witch in Popular Culture' for The British Library's public Magic and Enchantment Study Day.
- From February to May, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes is acting as invited judge on the Tell a Tale – Gothic Fiction creative writing competition organised by Theatre Cloud and supported by Arts Council England.
- In partnership with Man Met's Widening Participation team, Dr Buckley is organising in-school workshops for Greater Manchester schools on Gothic and Imperialism aimed at 14-18 year olds to be delivered from March until May.
- On the 2nd of May, Dr Aldana Reyes will be giving a public talk at HOME to introduce the new restored print of James Whale's The Old Dark House (1932).
- In May, Dr Emma Liggins is co-hosting ‘After Death: Mourning, Belief and the Supernatural’, a public event and workshop at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate. The day will bring together those with an interest in spirits, the macabre and the supernatural.
- In October, Dr Buckley will be working in partnership with Manchester Business Improvement District (CityCo) to develop city-wide horror-gaming activities for Halloweekend 2018.
Public Engagement in 2017
In October, the fifth edition of the Gothic Manchester Festival saw us collaborating with the Manchester Fashion Insitute, Halloween in the City, Manchester Bid and Design Manchester, among others. The festival offered everything from body-beautiful horror in the film The Neon Demon, introduced by Dr Jennifer Richards, to real North West street style in a catwalk devoted to extraordinary goths and steampunks. As usual, our thrilling series of events centred on a one-day conference of accessible papers delivered by an egalitarian mix of students, seasoned academics, experts and enthusiasts.
Read more about the Gothic Manchester Festival 2017
Other public engagement events in 2017 included:
- In March, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn conducted a public post-screening discussion following a special screening of Rosemary's Baby (1968) at HOME, Manchester, as part of their 'Sunday Classics' season.
- In May, Dr Ní Fhlainn gave an invited public lecture on 'Frankenstein on Film' at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, as part of The Age of Frankenstein project with Edinburgh Napier University. Click here to listen to a podcast of the lecture.
- In June, Dr Emma Liggins gave a public lecture on 'Elizabeth Gaskell's Ghost Stories and the Figure of the Outsider' at the Elizabeth Gaskell House, Plymouth Grove, Manchester.
- In September, Dr Ní Fhlainn was an invited speaker on two public panels (Stephen King's America, and King's Queens) at the BFI's Stephen King Summit, as part of the BFI's Stephen King Season.
- In October, Dr Chloé Germaine Buckley gave an invited talk at Texture for their special Halloween screening of Polanski's Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
- In October, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes gave an invited public talk, 'Visualising Monstrosity in Early Gothic Cinema', at the Monsters Film Festival organised by Reading University's Health Humanities Research group.
- In October, Dr Ní Fhlainn gave an invited lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, as part of its Gothic to Goth public course.
- Also in October, Dr Ní Fhlainn gave a public talk at HOME, Manchester to celebrate the 30th anniversary screening of Hellraiser (1987), as part of the Film Fear season.
- In November, Prof Dale Townshend gave an invited public lecture, 'Literature, Art and Tourism at Netley Abbey, 1700–1850' at Netley Literary Festival.
- Also in November, Prof Townshend gave an invited public lecture, 'Creativity and Collaboration: The Case of The Mysterious Mother' for Horace Walpole and his Legacies: The Tercentenary Lectures at Durham University.
- In December, Dr Ní Fhlainn gave a public talk at HOME, Manchester, to introduce a special screening of Edward Scissorhands (1990) as part of a trio of Tim Burton screenings.
Public Engagement in 2016
The fourth Gothic Manchester festival in October welcomed Manchester Met alumnus Andrew Michael Hurley to speak about his award-winning debut novel The Loney. Our annual symposium explored all aspects of The Gothic North, including the ancient north and being and becoming northern, and we ended the day with a screening of Ben Wheatley’s dark comedy Sightseers. We had two different ghostly walking tours of Manchester to look forward to before the festival closed with our annual Gothic Manchester pub quiz, which focused on the topic of Horrible and Ghostly (mostly) Manchester Histories.
Read more about the Gothic Manchester Festival 2016
Other public engagement events in 2016 included:
- In January, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn contributed exhibition notes and advised on film stills for the Portico Library's exhibition Sublime Ambition: The Gothic in Literature and Art (6 Jan–6 Feb).
- In April, Dr Ní Fhlainn introduced a horror-double bill for UK Horror Scene in conjunction with AMC Cinemas on Scream (1996) and Fright Night (1985).
- In May, Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes introduced, in collaboration with Jo Verran, professor in Microbiology, the film [REC]2 for the Wellcome Trust-funded Playing God public screening series organised by the Science Entertainment Lab at the University of Manchester.
- Also in May, Dr Angelica Michelis gave a workshop and lecture on the Gothic for Sixth form students at Xaverian College, Manchester.
- In June, Dr Aldana Reyes gave an invited talk at the Teaching the Gothic and Supernatural for A Level course organised by the English and Media Centre, covering current debates and developments in Gothic Studies.
- In July, Dr Ní Fhlainn in partnership with the Manchester Children’s Book Festival presented a signing and Q&A event with Gothic YA authors Danny Weston and Sally Green at Waterstones, Deansgate.
- In October, Dr Aldana Reyes and Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn were invited guests at the Horror Expo Ireland festival in Dublin, where they participated on specialist panels on horror fiction and film.
- In November we ran our fourth Gothic Studies Open Day for A-Level students, which involved workshops and talks by various members of staff.
Public Engagement in 2015
The Gothic Manchester Festival was once again reincarnated in October 2015. The festival included the one-day symposium What Lies Beneath, organised by Dr Linnie Blake. This year the Centre turned to the Lovecraftian Gothic with an eclectic collection of entertaining, thought-provoking and occasionally downright disturbing events that shed light on the ‘weirdest’ side of Manchester.
Read more about the Gothic Manchester Festival 2015
Other public engagement events in 2015 included:
- On 2 April, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn and Rachid M'rabty were invited by Grimm Up North, in association with Library Live and Manchester Central Library, to introduce a special screening of American Psycho (2000).
- On 21 May, Dr Blake, Dr Ní Fhlainn and Dr Aldana Reyes were invited to participate in a discussion entitled Exploring the Influence of Gothic Horror on Contemporary Culture that followed the performance of Gothic play Cuddles. Cuddles played at the Royal Exchange (19-23 May) and would go on to play in New York. The session was chaired by director Rebecca Atkinson-Lord and playwright Joseph Wilde.
- Also in May, Dr Angelica Michelis gave a workshop and lecture on the Gothic for Sixth form students at Xaverian College, Manchester.
- In November we ran our third Gothic Studies Open Day for A-Level students, which involved workshops and talks by various members of staff.
Public Engagement in 2014
Following the phenomenal success of the Gothic Manchester Festival 2013, we returned with a new programme of events and activities designed to showcase MMU’s academic expertise in the gothic and foreground Manchester’s rich vein of gothic talent. Included in Gothic Manchester Festival 2014 were readings from authors working on the gothic dimensions of austerity politics and author Rosie Garland discussing her alternative life as Goth icon Rosie Lugosi. We also had a vampire-themed pub quiz, a phantasmagoric lantern display and film screening, and the local Steampunk community joined us for a day of retro-tech delights, including a costumed tour of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Steam Hall. The annual symposium, on the topic of the Gothic north, was organised by Dr Linnie Blake.
Read more about the Gothic Manchester Festival 2014
Other public engagement events in 2014 included:
- In January, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn was invited to give a special introduction to The Lost Boys (1987) as part of Grimm Up North Horror Classics Series in association with the BFI Gothic Season strand, Love is a Devil. The Dance House, Manchester, UK.
- From October to November, Dr Blake and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes, designed and ran a sold-out public Introduction to Gothic Cinema course in collaboration with HOME, the former Cornerhouse. This 8-week course included two major screenings of the films Rebecca and Elephant Man. The course was very positively received by attendees.
- In June 2014, Dr Blake, Dr Aldana Reyes and Prof Jo Verran ran the pre-conference workshop 'The Pedagogic Use of Zombies in the Humanities and Science' for the HEA’s third annual Arts and Humanities conference, Heroes and Monsters: Extraordinary Tales of Learning and Teaching in the Arts and Humanities. The three-hour interdisciplinary and interactive workshop brought together teachers and researchers in English, Film, Microbiology and Computer Science.
- In November we ran our second Gothic Studies Open Day for A-Level students, which involved workshops and talks by various members of staff.
Public Engagement in 2013
Following Dr Linnie Blake's successful proposal to found of a Centre for Gothic Studies that would reach first into the local community, in the form of public engagement activities, whilst building MMU’s profile as the country’s foremost institution in this field, the Gothic Centre was launched in 2013 alongside the first Gothic Manchester festival. The festival, co-organised by Dr Blake and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes, was part of the British Film Institute’s Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film season, which ran from October 2013 to February 2014. Blake and Aldana Reyes introduced, and co-curated with Cornerhouse (now HOME), two public screenings of the restored version of Terence Fisher’s Dracula and of the classic occult film Night of the Demon, as part of a nationwide Gothic film festival.
Read more about the Gothic Manchester Festival 2013
October saw the launch of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, which took place in Manchester Town Hall and was supported by the Lord Mayor's Fund. To celebrate the occasion, we hosted the first Gothic Manchester festival, a range of events and activities from the dark side designed to showcase Manchester’s Gothic dimensions. The festival was part of the IHSSR’s wider research programme Humanities in Public, directed by Helen Darby, and was also supported by it. The festival was so successful that it has become an annual event in the city’s cultural calendar.
Other public engagement events in 2013 included:
- In June, Dr Aldana Reyes ran a season entitled European Gothic for the Manchester Met-based TRAUMA film group. These series of public screenings were accompanied by introductions to the films.
- In July, Dr Ní Fhlainn was invited to contribute in a YouTube Zombie ‘Live Feed’ ‘Spreading the Virus’ for Queensland University of Technology Creative Industries Panel at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane (19 July 2013).
- In October, the Humanities in Public programme was kickstarted with a strand on the Contemporary Gothic convened by Dr Aldana Reyes. It included a series of very popular public lectures by distinguished academics in the field of Gothic Studies: Prof Fred Botting, Prof Isabella van Elferen, Dr Catherine Spooner, Dr Stacey Abbott and our own Dr Linnie Blake.
- In November, Dr Aldana Reyes was invited to give a public talk on ‘Mad Science and Surgical Horror’ for the BFI’s Gothic public lecture series.
- In November, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn gave a short talk to introduce a special vampire double bill - Nosferatu (1922), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and a new short film, The Gloaming (2013) - as part of the Grimm Up North Film Festival in association with the British Film Institute's Gothic season at The Dance House, Manchester.
- Also in November we ran our first Gothic Studies Open Day for A-Level students, which involved workshops and talks by our various members of staff.