Gothic regions/regional Gothic

Gothic regions/regional Gothic – report on a one day symposium organised by the Centre for the History of the Gothic, Monday April 24th, 10.00-16.30.

Emma McEvoy at the start of her paper, ‘Keep Calm I’m a Ripperologist: Appropriation, Negotiation and Protest in the East End’.

This symposium on Gothic regions, attended by academics, early career researchers and PhD students from a number of institutions, addressed the idea of place and how it relates to the Gothic. It also explored how such Gothic sites might be developed into places of interest for the Gothically-minded tourist.

The day was led by two external speakers (Dr Catherine Spooner from the University of Lancaster and Dr Emma McEvoy from the University of Westminster), who began the symposium with a workshop that explored the relationship between tourism and the Gothic via a discussion of a number of sociological and cultural analyses of the topic. In the second workshop attendees explored specific examples of Gothic tourism that they had brought with them. After a lively debate, Catherine and Emma gave papers which addressed their recent research on Jack the Ripper guided walks, and the Lancashire Witch trials.

Catherine Spooner delivering her talk on ‘Get your kicks on the A666: Tourism, Psychogeography and the Lancashire Witches’.

The symposium concluded with a roundtable discussion of the day and it was agreed that as we had representatives present from four northern universities that it would be appropriate to develop an AHRC network bid around the theme of the ‘Northern Gothic’. Dr Linnie Blake, Director of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, was present at the event and as she has led on several symposia on ‘Gothic North’ and secured a PhD scholarship on the topic, it was agreed that she would be best placed to lead on this initiative with the Centre for the History of the Gothic being a participant member of the network.

The symposium was organised by Professor Andrew Smith, who co-directs the Centre for the History of the Gothic with Professor Angela Wright, and it was generously supported by funding from the Humanities Research Institute.

— Andrew Smith

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