Academics to stare into the void at Manchester Metropolitan University. Will the void stare back?

Academics drawn to the dark side have established a centre dedicated to studying all things gothic in Manchester.

The Centre for Gothic Studies at the Manchester Metropolitan University brings together professors from a wide variety of disciplines that all have "strong interests in the Gothic", according to the website.

The Centre for Gothic Studies is the first of its kind to incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach to the study. Academics from across the university will arise in the mornings to feast together on the many forms of the Gothic "as it manifests itself in a range of literary, filmic, televisual and popular cultural texts".

“The public interest in the Gothic has never been greater,” explains Dr Linnie Blake, the director of the new centre and an internationally renowned expert on horror cinema. 

“But it isn't simply a popular mode of entertainment. It is a powerful form of storytelling that tells us something about our deepest and darkest fears, about who we are as people and how our society works.”

As well as offering an MA course, the centre will produce an open access journal, entitled Dark Arts: An Online Journal of Gothic Studies.

“It will be fully peer-reviewed and will offer an opportunity for both established and early career academics as well as postgraduate students to publish,” says Dr Blake.

The journal will comment on current trends in the genre as well as providing details of upcoming events. The first issue will be released in autumn 2014.

The Gothic Manchester Festival running this week is allowing the public to pick the experts’ brains, so to speak, at a number of talks and workshops. There was even a zombie pub quiz, which was a “storming success”, says Dr Blake. “It pulled in participants from across the city whose expertise in all things zombie outstripped even our own!”

While the city may currently be infected with a taste for the darker topics during the course of the festival, the centre will continue to corrupt the public with various engagements that will run year round. Those at the centre aim to "bring the dark delights of Gothic culture to a wider non-specialist audience".

The Centre for Gothic Studies will allow students to study the dark side in whatever form it might appear. Its engagement with the wider Manchester community will enable the pubic to keep a stake in the heart of the genre that has swept the nation.