Magical Cities – deadline 31 January 2019

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Date / time
Date(s) - 15 June
All day



15th June 2019, University of Portsmouth

Keynote speaker: Dr Matthew Sangster, University of Glasgow


The University of Portsmouth’s Supernatural Cities research group presents their fourth conference: Magical Cities. This one-day conference seeks to explore the magical potential of urban environments. To what extent are fictional cities ‘real’ or grounded in reality? In what ways are ‘real’ cities fictional or fantastical creations of their observers and inhabitants? How have people historically imagined the urban environment and through what social, cultural, literary or political lenses? How might the geography of the city space suggest surreal, unreal, supernatural or magical characteristics or personalities? How do such spaces affect our identities?

We particularly welcome abstracts from PGRs and ECRs. In the interests of making this conference as interdisciplinary as possible, we also welcome abstracts from across disciplines and approaches including: History, Literature, Sociology, Art History, Psychogeography, Cultural Studies, Journalism, Creative Arts, Game Design. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Cities & time: how city living and exploration affect our perceptions of the passage of time
  • Cities as multidimensional spaces: hidden cities within cities
  • Cities as monstrous spaces
  • Urban ecosystems
  • Cities as illusion
  • Magical urban tours (e.g. Mystic London (1875), Là-bas (1891))
  • Audio-dramas/podcasts centering on weird urban spaces and their depictions (e.g. Welcome to Night Vale, Limetown)
  • Utopian and dystopian cities
  • ‘Punked’ cities (e.g. steampunk, cyberpunk)
  • Controlling fantastical cities: governments, monarchies, legal systems as magic systems
  • ‘Real’ versus ‘Fictional’ cities – a false dichotomy?
  • Affecting architecture – how creativity shapes spaces, and their inhabitants
  • Reimaginings of ‘real’ cities: NeoVictorianism, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words, a 50 word biographical note and up to four relevant keywords (e.g. magic, author name, monsters, architecture) to by January 31st 2019.

For more information on the Supernatural Cities project see