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'Magic and the Sense of Place' Conference

Investigating the relationship between magic and location/geography via folklore, history, archeology and literature, 'Magic and the Sense of Place' was a three-day conference held in 2022. The goal of the conference was to explore magic and the sense of place in four geographical locations – Britain, Northern Europe, Central Europe, and the Americas. Bringing together personnel from the heritage and museum industries with academics and a creative group of writers and artists, they discuss the relationship between place/location and magic.

The conference also provided a sustained exploration of the relationship between place and magical ideation. Questions addressed included the following: how does an idea of magic arise from the interpretation of a place? What kinds of places seem magical to particular cultures? How far can place become a significant generator of meaning when it represents a meeting or a clash of cultures? Who controls these processes and when do they become contestations?

The conference features 20-plus talks across three days, under session headings 'Who Owns This Place?', 'The New World', 'Making a Place', 'Between', 'Getting Lost', 'Urban', 'Rome' and 'Placing the dead'. Talks include the following and more:

Ronald Hutton - How Sacred Are The Dead?
Neil Philip - “All that he owned”: Alan Garner and the sentient landscape
Caroline Tully - Cosmothonia - 'Henges and wildercharms: the magical earth-sky-love-body in Feraferia'
Andrew Chesnut - Holy Death in Times of Pestilence: Santa Muerte, the Newest Plague Saint
Diane Purkiss and Alex Paddock - Sinking into place; bog bodies, Grendel, and the green chapel
Steve Gladwin - "The woods are lovely dark and deep", An Encounter in Time, Story, and Duality
Todd Borlik - Malaria and Maleficium in The Witch of Edmonton
Sabina Magliocco - Crafting Enchantment: Fairy Gardens and Emplacement in North America
Sophie Page - Magic and Living things in Medieval Europe: Extinct, Everyday and Extraordinary Creatures
Nancy Caciola - Learning from Folk Horror

Cover photo by 'lankelsall1' from Wikimedia, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 and available for reuse on same terms.

# Episode Title Description People Date
3 'Magic and the Sense of Place' Conference Day 3: 'Urban', 'Rome' and 'Placing the dead' Talks from Alice Huxley, Amy Blakemore, Nancy Caciola and more, under the themes 'Urban', 'Rome' and 'Placing the dead'. Alice Huxley, Todd Borlik, Amy Blakemore, Ellen Kushner 20 Apr 2023
2 'Magic and the Sense of Place' Conference Day 2: 'Making a Place', 'Between' and 'Getting Lost' Talks from Caroline Tully, Elizabeth Garner, Gwendolyne Knight and more on the themes of 'Making a Place', 'Between' and 'Getting Lost'. Gwendolyne Knight, Sophie Page, Karen Mahony, Alex Ukolov 20 Apr 2023
1 'Magic and the Sense of Place' Conference Day 1: Opening Session, plus 'Who Owns This Place?' and 'The New World'. Opening Session featuring Ronald Hutton and Chris Gosden, plus talks under the topics 'Who Owns This Place?' and 'The New World'. Andrew Chesnut, Dan Kline, Will Badger, Ronald Hutton 20 Apr 2023