Professor Catherine Spooner (Lancaster University)

Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes (Manchester Metropolitan University)

and featuring a Q&A with Dacre Stoker

How can vampires help us heal?

In the 125th anniversary year of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this interdisciplinary project examines the continuing history of the vampire from the 19th century to the present and explores how the vampire can function as a cultural figure of recovery, community, and regeneration.

The cultural history of the vampire has been conventionally one of degeneration, illness, contagion, and variously embodied metaphors of anxiety. This event moves critical discourse from degeneration to regeneration, asking how the vampire functions as a metaphor for recovery (whether physical, emotional, or economic), community (fandoms, gamers, ‘goth culture’), identification and self-expression (racial identities, spirituality and religion, neurodivergence/-diversity, disability, gender and sexuality).

We welcome proposals for 15-20-minute papers, and panels. We also welcome practical or industry approaches to reinterpreting the vampire through collaborative, creative, or playful research, as well as contributions to a creative industries panel by publishers, authors, artists, heritage professionals and film-makers who work on the figure of the vampire. Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • Healing, trauma, recovery
  • Gothic tourism / regeneration / international relations / economic growth
  • Vampires and the creative economy
  • Vampires and community: gaming, goth culture, fashion
  • Medical humanities and the vampire
  • Addiction recovery, nutrition, attitudes to feeding
  • Reclaiming the vampire and neurodivergence/-diversity
  • Selfhood, belonging, and ‘the outsider’
  • Spiritual growth and religious experience
  • Race and inclusivity / representation
  • Child vampires / vampires for children
  • Pedagogy and the vampire
  • Laughter, comedy and Catherine Spooner’s ‘Happy Gothic’
  • Adaptation, receptions and legacies of 19th/20thC vampires

Thanks to the generosity of BAVS, BARS and Edge Hill University, we are delighted to be able to offer several PGR/ECR fee-waived bursary places for this event. If you would like to be considered, please indicate on your abstract and include a short statement (100 words max) about how the conference relates to your research.

Please send 300-word abstracts or panel proposals to Dr Madeline Potter ( and Dr Laura Eastlake (

This conference will be fully accessible, with a primarily online component. Please check our website and follow us @VampireRecovery for updates on conference format and further info.

Deadline: 8 August 2022

Follow us on Twitter @VampireRecovery for updates