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.