Postgraduate Conference 2020

Arts and Humanities PG Conference - 22nd May 2020

“What haunts the digital cul-de-sacs of the twenty-first century is not so much the past as all the lost futures that the twentieth century taught us to anticipate.”

Mark Fisher

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Conference programme

See the full conference programme.

We will send links to the broadcasts and a full programme via email to all those who register for the event. For easier viewing it is recommended that you use the Microsoft teams desktop app, however this is not a requirement.

Call for papers

The past, the present, and the future do not exist in isolation but create a web of continuities. The blurred borders between temporalities, their interlinkages and interdependencies, can be both limiting and empowering to the ways we think about, theorise and imagine possible futures.

Current global cultural, social, political, and environmental challenges contribute to a growing need to question how we frame and engage with heritage. Digital technologies in particular present new opportunities to incorporate the past into projects of the future. These developments provoke a need to reconsider how we preserve artifacts of the past, how different forms of heritage are made available, and how digital technologies will continue to affect the ways the past shapes contemporary and future societies.

This conference invites participants to explore the ever-shifting landscapes and connections between the here and now, our heritage, and our possible futures. We invite contributions from all disciplines within the Arts and Humanities as well as interdisciplinary papers and collaborations as well as creative practice contributions.

This event is open to all. Please register for tickets if you would like to view and participate in live Q&A's with our Keynote speakers.

Keynote speakers

Dr Jennie Morgan

Dr Jennie Morgan is a Lecturer in Heritage and MSc Heritage Programme Director at the University of Stirling. Trained as a Social Anthropologist, Jennie's research focuses on the theory and practice of contemporary museums. She has published on a range of topics including the new museology and organisational change, contemporary collecting, significance assessment, and disposal from museum collections. Most recently, her research has been published in Museum and Society, The International Journal of Heritage Studies,and the forthcoming (July, 2020) Heritage Futures: Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices book. For further biographical details see here.

Keynote abstract: Curating Profusion for Alternative Heritage Futures

When faced with a proliferation of material things, especially those associated with mass production and mass consumption, what will make it into the future archive – and what will be forgotten? In this keynote, Dr Morgan addresses this question through her work on the Profusion theme of the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures project. Drawing on collaborative research, undertaken with theme-director Sharon Macdonald and researcher Harald Fredheim, Jennie considers how the future is manifest through ‘curating profusion’ in museums. Themes such as the uncertainty of the future, perceived obligations, and diversifying future heritage are considered. In doing so, she argues for a more explicitly futures-orientated research agenda and one that embraces the possibility for intervention to develop alternative routes for the future of heritage and heritage studies.

Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

Dr Darren Elliott-Smith is Senior Lecturer in Film and Gender at the University of Stirling. His research focuses on representations of queerness, gender and the body in horror and melodrama film and television and extends to cult and trash cinema and film exhibition, programming and curation and videographic film studies. His monograph Queer Horror Film and Television: Sexuality and Masculinity at the Margins (2016) is published by I.B. Tauris and he has contributed to several edited collections and journals on Queerness, Horror and Melodrama.

Keynote abstract: ‘Out’ of Joint: Queer Hauntology in New Queer Horror Film and TV

This keynote builds upon my previous and current research into the emergence of the New Queer Horror subgenre in film and television (Queer Horror Film and TV: Sexuality and Masculinity at the Margins (2016) and New Queer Horror Film and TV (forthcoming 2020)).  Here I argue that, in recent years, the longstanding monstrous-queer metaphors that have existed in the Horror genre since its inception have ‘stepped out of the shadows’ in contemporary films where queerness becomes explicit rather than implicit. My central research argues that when monstrousness as a metaphor for the threat that queerness poses to heteronormativity ceases to be coded and instead becomes open, it then operates to turn the focus of fear upon itself, its own communities and subcultures. It projects contemporary anxieties within queer subcultures.

The central tenet of Queer Horror focuses on supposed aberrations of eroticism, sexuality, and gender. These in turn work to expose and highlight the hypocrisies and inconsistencies within seemingly normative power structures, and draw attention to the failure to maintain imaginary boundaries and borders that demarcate ‘normalcy’ from ‘deviancy’. Queer Horror  also reveals contemporary critiques of and within queer communities around, post-AIDS anxieties, masculine/feminine shame, homonormativity, homophobic violence and assimilation anxieties.

This particular keynote, presented in the form of a Video Essay, however, attempts to understand a particular trope of Queer Horror whereby the queer spectator re-reads the text’s intricacies by way of an always-already-present historical conflation of monstrousness with non-normative sexuality via the concept of Queer Hauntology. The application of Hauntology to Queer Horror allows for a queering of the dominant understanding of time and of history as linear, and a queer rejection of binaries enforced between past/future, Us/Them, then/now, dead/alive. Queer Hauntology then can be seen not as an act of productivity and forward momentum, but one of endless re-production, and of connection with a past and future that are still, in many ways, present.

To demonstrate, the keynote will focus on examples from Queer Horror Film and TV that exemplify Queer Hauntology as a means through which to confront impositions of, what Elizabeth Freeman calls, ‘chrononormativity’ upon queer identities and indeed within the queer community and how the development of homonormative values only mimic and reproduce these same values as a result of contemporary ‘acceptance’ and ‘assimilation’ of queerness into the mainstream.  Examples will include: an experimental queer appropriation of De Palma’s Carrie (1976); the draggy-excesses of long running horror serial American Horror Story (2011-); spectral queer thrillers like: Rift (Rökkur) (2017) and Jamie Marks Is Dead (2014); erotic and nostalgic ‘queer-ial’ killer films Stranger by the Lake (2013) and Knife + Heart (2018), and queer zombie narratives Otto; or, Up With Dead People (2008) and In the Flesh (2013-2014).

N.B. Please note this keynote contains references to suicide and may contain some explicit sexual and horrific/violent images and references.

“What remains unlived therefore is incessantly sucked back toward the origin, without ever being able to reach it.” 

Giorgio Agamben

"But what’s time? How can I explain it? Now. It’s now. And now, it’s now…now is now."

Guardian (Embers, 2015, dir. Claire Carré)

"L’avenir est comme le reste: il n’est plus ce qu’il était. (The future, like everything else, is no longer quite what it used to be)"

Paul Valéry

"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

Albert Einstein

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

L. P. Hartly

"Heritage, and the formally staged experience of encountering the physical traces of the past in the present, has become an all-pervasive aspect of contemporary life."

Harrison, R. (2013). "Introduction: Heritage everywhere" Heritage. London: Routledge