Saturday, 20 December 2014

Announcement: Reimagining the Gothic: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Many thanks to all Gothic Reading Group attendees over the past term for your contribution to meetings and the disccusions they've generated. We're already working on plans for the next set of meetings and for a range of other activities - including a trip to the Terror and Wonder exhibition, currently running at the British Library (more on that shortly). For now, though, here's GRG oganiser, Lauren Nixon, with some information on an outreach event planned for later in the year.

Reimagining the Gothic: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Back in October, the BBC ran a series of television and radio programmes dedicated to our favourite topic: the Gothic. Meanwhile, the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination exhibition currently at the British Library honours centuries of Gothic literature, art and fashion. Elsewhere, a sequel film has been made to The Woman in Black and the trailer already has 157,086 views on YouTube. Today, I found a copy of Thomas Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey in Oxfam bookstore. Evidently the Gothic is experiencing a surge in popularity and so we of Sheffield Gothic have decided to jump on the bandwagon!

(Okay, so that last point about Nightmare Abbey is mostly inconsequential. I was just excited to find it and thought I’d share.)

Next year, Sheffield Gothic hopes to host a one day interdisciplinary symposium dedicated to reimagining and resurrecting elements of the Gothic that may have been lost, distorted or altered over the decades by taking it outside of its usual academic situation and opening it up to new possibilities and showcasing them to the public. 

Imagine, perhaps, what difference it may make to our reading of the Mysteries of Udolpho, or indeed any Radcliffe novel, if we could hear the songs and music she describes? Whilst Radcliffe’s audience would have been familiar with the melodies and styles she uses- as modern readers do we lose something? Or, how would a new 21st century reader picture these grand Gothic spaces? Or the appearance and dress of Emily and fellow heroines? Do modern readers see Radcliffe’s world differently? It’s these elements of the Gothic we hope to recapture and these questions we hope to answer, to bring something new and fresh to those of us already familiar but also to take the Gothic out of the University and into the public. 

Of course, projects don’t have to be limited to these ideas, and certainly not just to Radcliffe’s work. We’d love to see a great variety of work, delving into the numerous aspects of the Gothic and bringing them to lightWe are seeking groups or individuals within the University of Sheffield, across the Schools and disciplines to come together to create projects that show the Gothic in a new light or bring to life something time has forgotten. Artists, musicians, architects, graphic designers, film makers, photographers, historians, geographers: we want you. The collected projects will be exhibited as part of a public showcasing event in May 2015 (details TBC).  

If you’d like to contribute, or offer ideas then we’d love to hear from you at:

Lauren Nixon is a PhD student in the School of English, working on Gothic and gender in the eighteenth century. She's not actually working in the eighteenth century though. That would be impossible.  

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