As a constant and chilling presence in individual lives and the popular imagination, the supernatural, as a cultural phenomenon, is prone to repeated revivals and resurrections. Like some uncanny revenant, the supernatural re-emerges at crucial historical moments, often transforming to reflect the concerns of its epoch. Recent times have seen a sharp rise in occult practice amongst millennials, many of whom have rejected more traditional spiritual systems in favour of Wicca, witchcraft and astrology. The past two decades have also witnessed a proliferation of supernatural fiction, encompassing everything from populist works like Supernatural (2005 – present), Twilight (2008-2012), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – present) and Siempre Bruja (2019) to critically-acclaimed texts like The Babadook (2014), The Witch (2015) Under the Shadow (2016) and Suspiria (2018). The reawakening of interest in the supernatural poses a wealth of questions about why the occult has once again seized hold of the popular imagination, while, at the same time, gesturing backwards to earlier eruptions of supernaturalism (witch trials, outbreaks of demonic possession, the nineteenth-century vogue for Spiritualism, the New-Age occultism of the 1960s and ‘70s).
But what does the current preoccupation with the supernatural say about contemporary societies, particularly in relation to issues of gender, sexuality and identity, socio-political anxieties, historical and personal trauma? Why does the supernatural provide such a potent vehicle for grappling with those issues? Why are some expressions of the supernatural more culturally acceptable than others? To what extent does the supernatural play a positive role in society, and to what extent does it provide a convenient scapegoat for the real-world dark impulses of human beings?
The Supernatural Connections conference seeks to provide a platform for exploring these questions from inclusive interdisciplinary perspectives by opening up new avenues of research and new conversations about the supernatural through papers, performances and panels focusing on any aspect of this complex, multifaceted topic with a view to forming an innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.. The conference organisers are particularly interested in incorporating papers/ presentations from a diverse range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, literary and cultural studies, film studies, theology, psychology, the social and natural sciences, history, philosophy, sociology, education and anthropology. We also enthusiastically welcome submissions from practitioners, artists, writers, curators and others.
Potential topics may address any of the following topics; however, we are open to any submission that investigates the supernatural:
What To Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.
At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops and publications which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting.
300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 4th September 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.
All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 18th September 2020.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 15th January 2021.
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Supernatural Connections Submission
Details and Information
The cost for attending the conference includes:
~ conference registration fee
~ online registration
~ online abstract and programme submissions
~ access to the conferencing platform
~ ~ a virtual registration areas where conference information and materials will be available
~~ virtual ePoster possibilities
~ ~ virtual break out rooms
~ ~ virtual one-to-one meeting capabilities
~ ~ virtual networking rooms
~ electronic book of Abstracts
~ access to downloads of all conference materials
~ physical copy book of abstracts (on request)
~ participation in project output discussion session
~ live session with the publications team as part of a development meeting
~ discounted rates for any outputs emerging from the event
Calendar of time-lines and deadlines
Friday 4th September 2020
Friday 18th September 2020
Friday 9th October 2020
Booking Form Submissions
by Friday 23rd October 2020
Circulation of Draft Programme
Monday 23rd November 2020
Final date for payment
Friday 15th January 2021
Circulation of Revised Programme
Full draft of presentation to be submitted
Monday 22nd February 2021
Final programme to printing
The conferences, meetings and events we organise are not single ‘one-off’ events. They are part of a continual stream of conversations, activities and projects which grow and evolve in different directions. At the conclusion of every meeting, the question needs to be considered: What happens next? After all, there is little personal, educational or professional benefit in gathering people together from around the world and sharing all sorts of fascinating conversations if nothing further is going to happen as a result!
The possible ranges of ‘outputs’ which can productively flow from our meetings is a dynamic response to the dialogues, issues and engagements that take place during the events themselves. And as our meetings are attended by folks who come from different backgrounds, contexts, professions and vocations, what people would like to see developed as a result of our time spent together will always be potentially diverse, fluid and appropriate to what took place.
One range of possible outputs involves publication as a way of continuing the work of a project. Where publishing is a possibility, it is directly referenced in the Call for Papers, Presentations and Participation. Other possible outputs may include, but are not limited to:
~ social media platforms such as Facebook pages and groups, blogs, wikis, Twitter, as vehicles for continuing dialogues, disseminating knowledge and information and bringing new people into the work of the project
~ reviews; reports; policy statements; position papers/statements; declarations of principles
~ proposals for meetings, workshops, courses, schools
~ collaboration gateways, platforms and media
~ personal and professional development opportunities: faculty development; mentoring programmes; cultural cruises; consultancies; summer schools; personal enrichment programmes
The range of outputs is dependent on how little or how much you would like to become involved. Don’t let the end of the meeting signal the end of your involvement with the project. Please get involved, bounce ideas around, think out loud – we’d love to hear about what you’d like to do and are always happy to talk about what is possible.
Participants must complete the online booking form by Friday 9th October 2020 at the latest.
After the deadline has expired, an invoice will be drawn up and sent to you; the invoice will contain all the necessary information for you to pay by bank transfer, cheque, Paypal or credit card.
The invoice must be settled by Monday 23rd November 2020.
It is the responsibility of delegates to ensure that payment is made by this date. Failure to receive payment will result in your booking being cancelled.
There are a number of ways payment can be made.
Payment can be made by cheque, in GBP (£ sterling) only and must be drawn against a bank with headquarters in the United Kingdom. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Progressive Connexions’ and sent, with a copy of the booking form, to:
Dr Rob Fisher
149b Wroslyn Road
Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
We regret we cannot and will not accept cheques made payable in currencies other than GBP Sterling.
Bank Transfer Payment may be made using bank transfer. There will be an option to pay in either GBP (£ Sterling) or Euro (€). Full details to enable a bank transfer are made available on your conference invoice. If paying by this method, you must agree to pay all charges at the sending and receiving banks.
You may request that an invoice be sent to you which you may forward to your institution. It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice is paid before the payment deadline.
Your invoice will include a link to pay through a secure and encrypted online payment system. Please click the link to use this method.
Payment may also be made using credit card. We cannot accept American Express or Discovery as a form of payment.
Payment may also be made using Paypal. If paying by this method please send us the email account connected with your Paypal account and we will forward you a request for payment.
We strongly recommend that all delegates take out some form of travel or other insurance in relation to any and all travel arrangements or accommodation booked in regard to the conference. This should include cancellation insurance in the event of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances.
All fees are payable in advance. No delegate will be permitted entry to the conference if an invoice is still unpaid.
What’s so Special?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.