True Crime
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference


Sunday 18 April 2021 – Monday 19th April 2021
Vienna, Austria

This event has been moved online due to COVID-19.

Humankind has long been fascinated with accounts of crimes and criminals. Our oldest texts are littered with narratives about wrongdoing, from the Bible to the Arabi Nisollasaya and beyond. Stories about real cases – with real victims and real perpetrators – are just as riveting, as evidenced by the crime pamphlets of the 16th-century, 17th-century chap books and murder ballads, and the mass street literature sold at public executions in the Victorian era.

The public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for gore, misery and retribution is undiminished today. True crime regularly tops poll as one of the most popular literary genres and it often focuses on the worst of humanity: murderers, necrophiles, cannibals, and the like. Only a small percentage of the world’s murders are committed by serial killers, yet approximately 40% of true crime books focus on serial murder, often promising a glimpse into the mind of fiends such as Ted Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo and Myra Hindley. Although generally considered to be ‘low culture’, salacious and disreputable, true crime narratives have also garnered critical plaudits, with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood becoming a classic of American literature and Normal Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. In recent years, true crime has entered a golden age, with emerging media forms bringing it into the mainstream. Podcasts like Sarah Koenig’s Serial and streaming documentary series, such as Andrew Jarecki’s The Jinx and Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s Making a Murderer, have challenged convictions, uncovered new evidence and in some cases even impacted judicial processes.

True crime’s focus has also shifted; salacious retellings of serial murders have been replaced by thoughtful examinations of neglected cold cases, and righteous opposition to corrupt and prejudiced institutions. The reader, viewer or listener of such narratives has also been transformed from a passive consumer of other people’s misery to something much more self-aware and critical, at times, even crossing over into an active detective role, as evidenced by the dedicated teams of amateur sleuths working in Reddit subs and Facebook groups on cases such as the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik.

Against this backdrop, our True Crime conference will explore the popularity of true crime, past and present, considering how these stories expose deeper societal issues and tensions. We will examine the links between real crimes and crime fiction, how one feeds into the other with sometimes horrifying consequences; and examine the moral landscape of true crime, including its potential to re-traumatise survivors, victims’ families and witnesses.

Key Topics

From the full range of disciplinary, professional and social perspectives, our focus will rest on all stakeholders in the true crime landscape, from real-life offenders and victims, to law enforcement, the judiciary, probation services, reporters, and the writers, filmmakers and consumers of true crime narratives. The aim is to generate inclusive dialogues involving researchers, practitioners, artists, activists, legal professionals, clinicians, social workers, probation officers, representatives from the voluntary sector, individuals whose lives have been impacted by true crime and others with an interest in the field with a view to to forming a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.. We particularly welcome 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.

Topics for discussion include, but are not restricted to:

  • the true crime industry;
  • the popularity of true crime television series and podcasts;
  • the ‘Netflix effect’;
  • international and transnational perspectives on, and variations in, true crime;
  • the morality and ethics of true crime;
  • legal and judicial process;
  • the politics of true crime;
  • true crime and psychology;
  • miscarriages of justice;
  • neoliberalism, social breakdown, mistrust of elites;
  • institutional racism, sexism and other prejudices;
  • true crime and gender (perpetrators, victims, consumers, producers);
  • the democratisation of the genre;
  • the historical trajectory of true crime;
  • street ballads, broadsides, penny dreadfuls, the Newgate Chronicles;
  • true crime and music;
  • new journalism and the non-fiction novel;
  • how accounts of crimes, past and present, reveal societal mores and attitudes;
  • balanced reporting vs. sensationalism – true crime and the news media;
  • the poetics of true crime;
  • Reddit subs, Facebook groups and amateur sleuthing;
  • focalising true crime, from inside the mind of the murderer to victim-centred perspectives;
  • the science of true crime – DNA profiling, fibre analysis, forensic topology, etc.;
  • audience participation in true crime narratives;
  • the impact of multi-media on true crime;
  • the valorisation of the serial killer;
  • victimology;
  • cold cases;
  • Fandom – ‘murder clubs’, reading groups, online forums;
  • the future of true crime.

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, problem-solving sessions, case studies, 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, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting. There is an intention, subject to the discussions which emerge during the course of the meeting, to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 25 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 9th October 2020.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th February 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: True Crime Submission

Where To Send

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs and the Project Administrator:

Dean Jobb:
Len Capuli (Project Administrator):

Details and Information


Registration Fees

The cost for attending the conference is £145. This 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 25th September 2020
Abstract/Presentation submission

Friday 9th October
Acceptance/Rejection notification

Friday 30th October 2020
Booking Form Submissions

by Friday 13th November 2020
Circulation of Draft Programme
Invoices issued

Monday 14th December 2020
Final date for payment

Friday 22nd January 2021
Circulation of Revised Programme
Full draft of presentation to be submitted

Friday 19th March 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.

Payment Process
Participants must complete the online booking form by Friday 30th 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 14th December 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.

Payment Methods
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
Progressive Connexions
Priory House
149b Wroslyn Road
Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
United Kingdom

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.

By Invoice
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.

Credit Card
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.

Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network inspiring inclusive interdisciplinary research, publishing and collaboration