For our second annual Gothic conference we welcomed Fifth Form and Lower Sixth Form pupils from Holyrood Academy and Strode College to join Downside pupils for a day of events seeking to widening our horizons. 

Our keynote speaker was Dr Joan Passey from the University of Bristol whose speciality is Coastal Gothic. Before she explored this new territory, she outlined the history of Gothic literature and the tropes of the genre. Dr Passey led discussion groups focusing on questions such as ‘how are seasides uncanny?’

Next, author Natasha Pulley introduced us to Japanese Gothic and gently suggested that the best way to explore the Gothic is to try to write a Gothic story ourselves. Inspiration for Gothic tales was to be found during a tour of Downside Abbey Church given by Steve Parsons where we were challenged to capture the Gothic in a photograph. Here is the winning image: