Folklore festival kicks off on Friday 13

A group of academics are hosting a two-day festival of folklore, starting on Friday 13.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 12:55 pm
Opening of the new Centre for Contemporary Legend at Hallam University last year. Founders Andrew Robinson, Diane Rodgers and Dr David Clarke chat at the event. Photo by Dean Atkins

The Centre for Contemporary Legend based at Sheffield Hallam University are hosting a conference called Folklore on Screen which will look at the subject in film, art, photographs, landscapes, television and more.

Zombies, haunted paintings, UFOs, gothic television, werewolves, vampires and various other strange topics will be put under the microscope by experts from across the globe.

Dr David Clarke, co-founder of the Centre for Contemporary Legend, said around 40 people submitted talks to the conference which they had to pair down to around 20.

Some of the artwork for the event in Cantor building. Photo by Diane Rodgers.

“This is a really important part of the folklore revival that we’re experiencing at the moment. It’s just great that Sheffield, which is where the study of folklore first began, is doing this.”

Dr Clarke founded the centre with colleagues Diane Rodgers and Andrew Robinson last year.

He added: “It’s really taken off and we’ve had so much support – our research institute at the university has been really supportive as have the university itself and they recognise that folklore is a very timely thing. Students are interested in it – from courses like history, heritage studies, media, journalism – it’s a subject that they find fascinating.

“It’s weird that folklore was created in this country in the 19th century but apart from the University of Sheffield in the 60s there hadn’t been an academic base for it until now.”

The event kicks off with a series of talks throughout the first day followed by an evening of folk horror themed bands featuring artists including Sharron Kraus. There will also be limited edition beer available made specially for the event.

Some of the otherworldly topics have roots in the region. The famous Crying Boy painting, which is said to have caused fires in homes across the country, started with a story in Rotherham.

Lynn Brunet, an art historian, has travelled from Australia to speak about Peter Booth - an artist who grew up in Sheffield and became famous Down Under for his surreal paintings, many of which were inspired by his childhood in the city and steelworks.

The event will be held across The Hubs, on Paternoster Row, and Cantor, on Arundel Street. The full line up can be found on their website at are free and can be reserved here, the password to access the event is Conference0913