Upcoming and Past Events from the Centre for Contemporay Legend.

CALL FOR PAPERS – Deadline: 23rd April 2020

POSTPONED due to Covid-19 – More information to Follow

This one-day symposium, hosted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Contemporary Legend, seeks to explore the influence and impact of England’s calendar customs on contemporary communities, and what their continued performance means for us today. We actively encourage dialogue between disciplines and areas of study, and welcome speakers from the academy as well as practitioners, collectors, participants and governors of English calendar customs.

England has a rich and varied calendar of folkloric customs, communal traditions that take place in the same place, at the same time each year, which are usually governed, stewarded and performed by the community itself. Though the origin or purpose of the custom itself may have been lost, or the function now deemed archaic, communities continue to perform them, often attracting crowds of spectators and tourists, not to mention significant media coverage, both in traditional press and online, through social media channels.

Ronald Hutton (1996) observes that collective, society-wide holidays, such as Whitsun and Wakes Week, have declined in favour of the ‘celebration of private relationships and the individual lifecycle’. So why do these customs persist? Why are old customs surviving or being revived and new customs being invented? Are we experiencing a resurgence of interest in English calendar customs and, if so, what is driving this? What role does digital technology (the internet, social media and audio visual technology) play in contemporary calendar customs? Is social media, with its opportunities to publicise customs to a broader audience beyond the boundary stone, contributing to a raised profile and increased interest? And with easy access to smart phones and digital media, are we documenting customs and disseminating the resulting media more easily and more frequently? What is the impact of this documentation, and what happens to this documentation once the custom is complete for the year?

England’s calendar customs can be dramatic and dangerous, such as the tar barrels of Ottery St Mary, or as delicate and diligent as Derbyshire’s well dressings. What do contemporary communities achieve by performing their annual custom, and what is the function of the custom for individual participants and spectators from within and without the community? Does the custom bring together communities that would otherwise be fragmented for a unified moment of celebration, or is the custom another indication of exclusivity and elitism orchestrated by particular groups? Is it an opportunity to assert and express distinct local identity?

We invite contributions that address one of the following, or related, themes:

  • Identity, nationalism and patriotism
  • Englishness and tradition
  • The English custom of the future
  • Revival and invention
  • Commercialisation and the money problem
  • Imagery and photography, film and moving image
  • Social media and online representation
  • Documentation and the future archive
  • Politics, and the problems with governance and stewardship
  • Performance and practice
  • Placemaking, custom tourism
  • Customs and community cohesion
  • Representations of customs in the arts, culture and media

Proposals should be 200-300 words for 20-minute papers, and please also include a personal biography of no more than 200 words. We also welcome suggestions for themed or grouped panels.

Proposals and any enquiries should be sent to:

Date and Location:

  • Thursday 9 July 2020
  • 9:30am – 5.00pm with evening exhibition opening
  • Sheffield Hallam University, Cantor Building, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield S1 2NT.

Image of Castleton Garland Ceremony, May 29th 2019, © Andrew Robinson 2020.

Folklore on Screen

A 2-day international conference, with a hauntological music event.

Friday 13th– Saturday 14th September 2019,

Sheffield Hallam University, South Yorkshire, England, UK.


FRIDAY MORNING (registration – 10:30 – 11:00)



Return of the Living Slave: Jordan Peele’s Get Out as Zombie Film

12:30 – 13:30 – LUNCH


13:30-15:00 – FEATURED PANEL (A) – Monster Mash

  • Matthew Cheeseman (University of Derby) – Dracula’s Fangs
  • Craig Ian Mann  (Sheffield Hallam University) – Pack Mentality: A Cultural Approach to the Werewolf Film in the 1970s
  • Rebecca Bannon (Queens University Belfast) – Ghosts of the Past: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and liminality

15:00-15:30 – REFRESHMENTS

15:30-17:00 – PANEL (1a) – Ghosts in the Machine

  • Stella Gaynor (University of Salford) – Momo and the Simulation of the Real: A Digital Urban Legend
  • Joe Ondrak  (Sheffield Hallam University) – How to Kill a Ghost: The Hauntological Internet, Creepypasta and Online Misinformation

15:30-17:00 – PANEL (1b): I Want to Believe

  • Jake Edwards (University of Warwick) Alien Qualities: Unidentified Flying Objects and the Photographic Image
  • David Clarke (Sheffield Hallam University) Tears for Fears: Haunted Artwork on Screen
  • Lynn Brunet (Australia) A Sheffield Dreaming: The Art of Peter Booth.


19:30 – THE HUBS (Sheffield Hallam University Student’s Union)

CCL & Heretics’ Folk Club present a hauntological music event featuring presentations from Sharron Kraus and Cath Tyler

SATURDAY MORNING (Registration from 9:30)

10:00-11:30 – FEATURED PANEL B: The Haunted Generation

  • David Southwell (Hookland) – Receiving the Ghost Transmissions: Factual Broadcasting as Cathode Terror
  • Andy Paciorek (Wyrd Harvest Press) – Urban Wyrd
  • Bob Fischer (Fortean Times) – The Haunted Generation

11:30-13:00 – PANEL (2a) : The Devil Rides Out

  • Tom Clark (University of Sheffield) – The Devil Made Me Do it: The Development of Satanic Narratives in Contemporary Culture
  • Timothy Jones (University of Stirling) – Imaginary Revivals: Folk Horror and Twentieth Century Occulture
  • Kerry Dodd (Lancaster University) – You Are Not in Control: Glitch Horror and User Agency in the Information Age

11:30-13:00 – PANEL (2b) – The Village of the Damned

  • Diane Rodgers – (Sheffield Hallam University) – Beasts, Monoliths & Witchcraft – the Unsung Nigel Kneale
  • Andrew Robinson (Sheffield Hallam University) – The Lord of Misrule: misbehaving badly in a Cornish town
  • Gail-Nina Anderson (Newcastle) – The Wicker Man and the misuses of Folklore

13:00-14:00 – LUNCH


14:00-15:30 – PANEL (3a) – Island of lost souls

  • Evelyn Koch (University of Bayreuth, Germany) – Cyclic Time in Folk Horror
  • Amy Harris (De Montfort University, Leicester) – Following the Wicca Man: Addressing the Invisible Women behind Contemporary British Folk Horror Cinema
  • Ceri Houlbrook (University of Hertfordshire) – Our Love Will Last Forever: The Love-Lock Motif on Screen

14:00-15:30 – Panel (3b) –  At the Mountains of Madness: (Hollywood and Beyond)

  • Sandy Hobbs (University of the West of Scotland) – Val Lewton at RKO: Horror or Folklore?
  • James Williamson (Goldsmiths, University of London) – Challenging Sight and Sense: Tracking the UFO in Science Fiction Cinema
  • Ekaterina Netchitailova (Sheffield Hallam University) – Holy-foolishness in Russian Culture, from Holy Fool to the Modern God-driven Eccentric

15:30-16:00 – REFRESHMENTS

16:00-17:00 – CLOSING KEYNOTE – HELEN WHEATLEY (University of Warwick)

Haunted Landscapes: Trauma and Grief in the Contemporary Television Ghost story

Hauntological music event featuring Sharron Kraus and Phil Tyler, 13th September 2019.

Visit the Heretic’s Folk Club Eventbright page HERE for tickets and their Facebook page HERE for further details.

CCL Inaugural Symposium Nov 2018

Sheffield Hallam University, Thursday 15th November 2018 ~ 9:30am – 5:00pm.

The venue is in the main building at our Collegiate Crescent campus (Sheffield S10 2BP). The campus is short taxi journey from Sheffield train station lasting approx. 10 minutes and costing around £5.

Please enter via the Oaklands entrance on Collegiate Crescent opposite Broomhall Road, where there is a main reception just inside the glass-fronted Helena Kennedy centre. Staff will be on hand to register you, direct you to nearby complimentary refreshments and then down into the main building. The room we will be in is D.008, on Level 0 of the main building (there are also toilets immediately outside room D.008).

Oaklands entrance off Collegiate Crescent, with the glass-fronted main reception just behind

Just right from the Helena Kennedy centre reception is the Heart of the Campus Atrium with toilets, and The Granary cafe open all day until 5:30pm and smaller classroom (HC.0.29) just to the right of the cafe where a complimentary lunch will be served for registered symposium delegates.

The schedule for the day is as follows – click here for PDF of full abstracts and speaker biographies.

09:30 – 10:00Registration & coffee (Main Building D.008)
10:00 – 10:30Welcome to the Centre for Contemporary Legend: led by David Clarke, with Andrew Robinson and Diane Rodgers
10:30 – 11:50Panel 1: Archiving, Documenting and Photographing Folklore

John WiddowsonNew Wine from Old Bottles: Re-evaluating and Reinaugurating Archives of English Folklore.
Richard BradleyGas Fires, Plastic Dustbins and Robert Maxwell: Threats to Calendar Customs from the Domestic and Mundane World of Everyday Life.
Andrew RobinsonPhotographers, the English Calendar Custom and the Lure of the Wyrd.
11:50 – 12:50LUNCH – Heart of the Campus HC.0.29
12:50 – 14:10Panel 2: Folklore Studies: Past, Present & Future

Paul Smith Contemporary legend Studies: Looking Backwards, Sideways and Forwards.
Owen Davies & Ceri HoulbrookPutting together a postgraduate programme of study centred on Folklore.
Katy SoarDeveloping a course and an integrated approach to combine the study of Archaeology and Folklore
14:10 – 14:40Refreshments
14:40 – 16:00 Panel 3: Folk Horror: Folklore on Screen

Diane RodgersSomething Wyrd: Folk Horror, Folklore and British Television
Douglas McNaughtonFolk Horror in British Television Drama: The Pattern Under the Plough
David PowellHesitation, Repetition and Deviation: The Temporal Nightmares and Haunted Landscapes of British Television.
16:00 – 17:00Plenary session

Summary of the day, general group discussion of the day’s events and matters arising