In Haunt

An International Gothic Summer School is coming to Manchester on 15–17 July 2020, continuing to mark the city’s place on the map as a renowned destination for learning about the Gothic mode. This Summer School is the initiative of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, one of the largest research centres of its kind worldwide. The Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies will be hosting Professor Carol Margaret Davison (University of Windsor, Ontario) as Visiting Professor of Gothic Studies for the month of July.

Gothic Summer School

Currently based at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Professor Davison is recognised as a specialist in Gothic and Victorian literature. Her work in the field includes her role as Series Editor for Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature, and her editorship of The Gothic & Death (2017) for Manchester University Press and winner of the 2019 Allan Lloyd Smith Prize for best edited collection devoted to Gothic criticism. In her extensive study of the Gothic mode, Professor Davison has further explored such areas as the Scottish Gothic, vampire culture and mental health, having edited Scottish Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (2017), a special issue of Gothic Studies on Gothic and Addiction (2009), and also Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897–1997 (Oxford: Dundurn Press, 1997), which won the Lord Ruthven Assembly Award. Her critically acclaimed monographs include Anti-Semitism and British Gothic Literature (Palgrave, 2004) and Gothic Literature, 1764–1824 (University of Wales Press, 2009). During the International Gothic Summer School, Professor Davison will work alongside a number of other world-leading academics based in the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies.

The Gothic is a genre and mode of cultural expression that ranges across multiple forms, including literature, film, architecture, music, art, gaming and more. It explores themes of darkness and subversion, and characteristically draws on categories such as the Uncanny, the Eerie, the Liminal and the Weird. Vampires, werewolves, witches, hauntings, horror and terror are some of its most defining features. The Gothic mode also provides a pertinent reflection on culture past and present– especially the ongoing legacy of power struggles, corruption and deceit. It also provides an interesting perspective on aspects of gender, age and social order, maintaining a socio-cultural relevance that demands closer scrutiny.

Accordingly, the International Gothic Summer School will provide a platform for in-depth learning about the Gothic, from the eighteenth century to the present day. This three-day intensive, non-credit-bearing course is designed to give participants a taste of life in the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, as well as an opportunity to learn from staff and other visiting scholars and experts in the field.

What about the Summer School course itself? The eclectic programme of plenary lectures, master-classes and workshops will allow participants to choose sessions directly suited to their own interests. Across all of the sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the Gothic mode as it ranges across genres, forms and media, including fiction, film, poetry, architecture and theory. The programme truly promises to offer something for everyone, even those without any formal academic background in the Gothic.

Get involved. Whether you are a budding Gothic scholar, are currently studying Gothic at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or are simply an interested member of the public, the Summer School is designed for all of those who are actively seeking to further their Gothic knowledge. Learn more about the Gothic mode, its history and its notable presence in contemporary culture, right here.

According to Professor Dale Townshend (of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies and author of Gothic Antiquity: History, Romance, and the Architectural Imagination, 1760–1840, previously interviewed by Haunt Manchester here):

"We're extremely excited to be hosting the International Gothic Summer School at Manchester Met next July.  The Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies is home to some of the world's leading Gothic scholars, and we're looking forward to sharing our research with a broader community. We're hoping that the Summer School will attract students, researchers and interested members of the public from near and far alike - anyone, in fact, with an interest in the Gothic mode, its history and its contemporary manifestations."

The exciting news of the International Gothic Summer School also promises further to highlight Manchester as an acclaimed location for the appreciation, study and research of the Gothic. Not only is the city home to the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, but it also boasts the annual Gothic Manchester Festival. Co-ordinated with RAH! – Research in Arts and Humanities at Manchester Met, the seventh and largest public celebration of the Gothic was run throughout the month of October 2019, its numerous events variously exploring the theme of ‘Gothic Times’. The Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies has continued to attract Gothic researchers from all over the world, welcoming the International Gothic Association (IGA) Conference in 2018 and also running a range of conferences and symposia of its own, including the Absent Presences conference in June 2019, which was organised by Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies Postgraduate students, and which explored changing definitions of the Gothic mode across time. The Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies also hosts a number of other short courses relating to the Gothic, including Post-Millennial Gothic, The Rise of the Gothic and Twentieth-Century Gothic.

Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies and the city of Manchester is thus a forward-thinking, exciting destination to continue Gothic exploration. Manchester itself is steeped in Gothic potential – from prime examples of neo-Gothic architecture such as the Town Hall and The John Rylands Library, to themed walking tours, stories of hauntings and mysterious happenings, and areas of dark and gritty public history.

Further details and booking link for the International Gothic Summer School are coming soon. For further enquiries, please email

By Emily Oldfield 

Image used from the Manchester Metropolitan University page, here




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