What is Spectral Visions? (And Why You Want To Come)

It seemed only fair that I should explain to you what Spectral Visions is before I begin bombarding you with updates from the planning. I hope to get you as excited for it as I am!

Spectral Visions is an annual Gothic conference hosted by the University of Sunderland’s English department. It’s designed for A-level students and their teachers, to provide revision and extra information for their exams. Every year, workshops are ran on the texts studied at A-level: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Bloody Chamber, The Canterbury Tales et al. It’s a completely free event, and easily one of the most fun things to be involved with.

I honestly believe Spectral Visions is one of the crowning achievements of the English department. On every level, it’s about getting involved and showing your passion. There is an unfortunate stereotype that English is dry and uninteresting, or boring and irrelevant. Literature doesn’t have to be, and it especially isn’t at the University of Sunderland. This year’s title is Spectral Visions III: The Vampire Strikes Back. It’s not some tedious attempt at teaching what has already been taught. It’s about fun, whimsy, and above all passion. Passion is why I chose this university to study at, and it’s something I think all great literature evokes.

In my opinion, no other genre evokes more passion than the Gothic. It hold the best of the Romantic movement with the sheer terror of the Victorian horror. At its very core, the Gothic strives to address your fears while inspiring your darker wants. It shows pure chaos in its villains, and embodies the good in all of us in the heroes we follow. Does Mr Hyde not lurk in all of us? Are we not all products of our creators? Do we not all strive to better ourselves, knowing full well the risks that could come of it?

Spectral Visions will be hosted Thursday 26th June 2014 at the University of Sunderland. It happens to fall the day before my 21st birthday, something which makes me far happier than it should.

If you’re an A-level teacher, or just someone from the UK who would like to come along and see why I’m so in love with Spectral Visions, please contact colin.younger@sunderland.ac.uk and book your place. I promise you, it’ll be worth it.

And for my followers not UK based or unable to attend, my position as Social Media Goddess means I will be live-blogging the event. So please, follow my Twitter for more updates. And for those of you still yearning for more Gothic goodness, I’m the admin of the Spectral Vision’s wordpress.

And so, dear readers, we reach the end of another post. As is custom, I relay to you some questions.

Which Gothic tale is your favourite? Which creature of the night haunts you? Is there more horror in the creatures than there is in the human monsters?

Let me know your thoughts.


About Stephanie Gallon

I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I work as an English teacher in England, and have a PGCE PCET, a distinction in MA English studies and first class honours in BA English and Creative Writing. I have more degrees than friends
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