The Urban Weird 2018

Open Graves, Open Minds & Supernatural Cities present: The Urban Weird

University of Hertfordshire, 6-7 April 2018

The third Supernatural Cities conference was an exciting collaboration with the Open Graves, Open Minds Project at the University of Hertfordshire.

Open Graves, Open Minds & Supernatural Cities present: The Urban Weird took place at the University of Hertfordshire on the 6 and 7 April 2018. The OGOM Project is known for its highly imaginative events and symposia, bringing the vampires, the undead and other supernatural creatures into the academy. The Urban Weird was no exception – fascinating panels were combined with a folklore workshop, a film screening and guided tour through the streets of St Albans.

The fifteen panels covered topics ranging from ‘Urban Myths and Mobility’ and ‘Weird Victoriana’ to ‘Killers of London’ and ‘the Neoliberal Weird’. You can browse the schedule of panels and papers, as well as the abstract and bio for each speaker.

Keynote Speakers

Three speakers delivered keynotes as part of the conference. Dr Sam George (University of Hertfordshire), Convenor of the Open Graves, Open Minds Project, spoke on ‘City Demons: Urban Manifestations of the Pied Piper and Nosferatu Myths’. Dr Karl Bell (University of Portsmouth), Convenor of Supernatural Cities, ‘Dark City, Daemonic Architectures: Towards a Cartography of the Urban Weird’. Prof. Owen Davies (University of Hertfordshire), historian of witchcraft and magic, ‘Supernatural Beliefs in Nineteenth-Century Asylums’

Special Events

All delegates were able to attend a series of free special events:

  • Urban Weird Boggart Workshop: The conference opened with a special workshop led by Dr Ceri Houlbrook, in which she used a wide range of material to trace the history and folklore of Boggart Hole Clough
  • Urban Weird Film Screening: Folklore specialist Dr Mikel Koven introduced a rare screening of the 1922 film Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
  • Spectral St Albans Magical City Tour: On the afternoon of the final day, OGOM’s Dr Sam George and Dr Kaja Franck led an exploration of the magical and supernatural history of Hertfordshire’s finest spectral city

The conference was a great success, and we’re very grateful to all the participants who made it such a stimulating few days, and to the OGOM team for curating and hosting such a weird and wonderful event.

For more weirdness, read the OGOM conference round-up blog, or enjoy some highlights from the #UrbanWeird18 Twitter moment…