Thanks to the funding received from the Graduate School’s Research Support Award and the kind help from my supervisor Professor Toby Heys, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the conference ‘Haunted Landscapes: Nature, Super-Nature, and Global Environments’ at Falmouth University, organised by the Dark Economies Research Group.
The conference, one of the leading annual events in the UK in the field of gothic studies, hauntology and occultural studies, gathered a great number of researchers from all over the world, over three days between 4 and 6 of July. The research area of the conference was intrinsically highly interdisciplinary, and it was incredibly inspiring to see such a wide spectrum of disciplines, spanning from literature to geography, history, cultural studies, law, media studies, game studies and sociology, just to name a few. Moreover, the panels displayed a vast diversity of identities, voices and backgrounds – an invaluable opportunity for reflection and learning.
At the conference, I had the pleasure of presenting a paper entitled ‘Star Sounds in the Space Between: Hellier and the Role of Acoustic Ecologies in Contemporary Practices of Paranormal Investigation’. The paper is an integral part of my PhD research on the role of sonic ecologies and listening processes in contemporary occultural practices and paranormal discourse. I was part of a panel focused on sound and hauntings and I felt honoured to present alongside two other amazing papers. At the end of the panels, a lively and profound conversation emerged between us three presenters and the audience, with many insightful questions and comments that showed how many interesting points of contact and resonances existed between our papers.
Being one of my first in-person conferences, it was a greatly enriching experience. I met a lot of amazing researchers with whom interesting collaboration opportunities might arise. Of course, networking is an important part of such events, as it presents the opportunity to share one’s own research. However, I really feel the conference has been, for me, first and foremost an incredible opportunity to learn from such a vast range of disciplines, research and voices. Overall, this was a beautiful discovery of how many amazing things are being done in my field.
As a side note, I was very happy to share the project of D∀RK (Dark Arts Research Kollective) – the research group I co-founded a few months ago with many other academics, researchers and practitioners at Manchester Met, around the intersections between occulture and the arts. I had the opportunity to share with the many academics at the conference the first independent publication of our group, the #1 Field Report, that can be downloaded here.