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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

POSTPONED Visual Evidence Public Lecture series : Ghosts: the evidence of spirits Workshop

23rd February 2016, 09:00 to 17:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Palace Green, Dr Stefano Cracolici and Dr Mark Sandy

We live in a world populated by ghosts. The landscapes scenes we pass through each day are inhabited – if not possessed – by spirits. Our everyday haunts are haunted by ghosts. The rationality which governs our lives, our thoughts, our beliefs urges us to conceal their spectral presence, to demote their evidence; we cannot see them, therefore we deny their existence. Ghosts dwell not in our world but, we like to think, in fictional or possible worlds – in literature, in film, in art. Or, perhaps, in some multiple time dimensions that science might discover.

Modernity, it seems, has freed us from ghosts; culture has invented for them the interstitial space of superstition. Yet by embodying an awareness of the presences of those who are not physically there, ghosts help us construct both our sense of place and of belonging to a given community.


The organisers regard this project as interrogating how that awareness or feeling compels us to search for evidence of the ghostly – the evidence of spirits in our everyday life. They appear as strangers in our internal conversations, as expansions of our personal identity, as auras in our encounters with images, as eerily evident in our reactions to the visual arts, as traces of our posthumous condition, as spectres haunting our history, and even as ghostly presences in our syntax. We resist belief in ghosts and yet we feel their spectral presence everywhere.

The project consists of three separate, but complementary strands: a lecture series, an exhibition on ‘Ghost Stories’ held in October 2015 at the Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre; and a one-day workshop to take place at the IAS on 23 February 2016. (Please note that this workshop has been POSTPONED, and will be rearranged for Autumn, 2016).

Lectures will be held fortnightly on commencing 13 October at 6:15pm in Elvet Riverside 140. Lectures and the exhibition are open to all, though attendees at the opening event of the exhibition will need to register in advance.

Please contact Dr Mark Sandy or Dr Stefano Cracolici to register for this workshop.

For more information on this series of events, please click on this link.

This workshop is free and open to all.

Directions to Institute of Advanced Study, Palace Green

Map - Institute of Advanced Study is denoted as building No. 21

Contact m.r.sandy@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.