It’s been exciting to begin a new academic year, and to meet some of the new students I’ll be teaching this term at Portsmouth. Alongside that, my main focus has been preparing for this year’s Portsmouth DarkFest. DarkFest is an annual festival of arts and culture celebrating creative responses to the supernatural, weird and generally spooky.
The festival began in 2016, organised by Dr Karl Bell in the History department in collaboration with local authors and creatives across Portsmouth. DarkFest has grown steadily and in this year there are more than thirty events on the programme, with venues across Portsmouth, Southsea and beyond. The festival programming team have put together a fantastic range of events, from spooky storytelling and dark songs to ghost walks and public talks.
My main responsibilities have been focused on developing DarkFest’s online presence and branding – the DarkFest section of the Supernatural Cities website has been updated, as has the festival logo and art style. This year the full programme will be hosted on the website, which will hopefully make it easier for people to explore the full range of events, and plan their exploration of the dark side.
I’m also looking forward to taking part directly for the first time – I’ll be part of a panel discussing crime writing alongside some wonderful Portsmouth-based authors and scholars.
Portsmouth DarkFest 2018 runs from 19th October to 11th November, and more information is available via the Supernatural Cities website and Twitter, and the DarkFest Facebook page.
The main focus during my first six months at the University of Portsmouth has been developing and launching a website for the Supernatural Cities research project. Supernatural Cities is an interdisciplinary group with members drawn from schools faculties across the university – from historians, literary scholars and creative writers to specialists in architecture and game design. And beyond Portsmouth, the goal is for the project to serve as a network that helps bring together researchers exploring urban space and experience in relation to uncanniness, spectrality, haunting and the supernatural. Continue reading →
If I’ve never exactly been prolific on this site up to now, that’s been particularly true of the last six to nine months – a period in which I’ve written up and submitted my PhD thesis, and begun my first academic job. One of my main reasons for setting up a blog in the first place was to help stimulate the thesis-writing process, so I suppose I could argue that it has done its job in that respect, at least.
Since September I’ve been working part-time at the University of Portsmouth as Research Assistant on the Supernatural Cities project – a multi-disciplinary network of humanities and social science scholars concerned with the urban supernatural, spectral and fantastical. I’m very much aware of how fortunate I’ve been to secure a paid role almost immediately after submitting my thesis (I submitted on the Thursday and had my interview the next day, absurdly). Already, I’ve felt very settled and happy in Portsmouth – the project itself is fascinating, and is encouraging me to think about my past and future research from a different perspective, whilst I’ve found the atmosphere within the university to be very supportive and collegial.
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