Why a Worcestershire academic has embarked on a ghostly quest - The Evesham Observer

Why a Worcestershire academic has embarked on a ghostly quest

Evesham Editorial 10th May, 2023   0

A NEW international cultural research network, set up by a University of Worcester academic, will explore use of the child ghost in literature and film.

Lecturer in English Literature, Dr Lucy Arnold, is the co-founder of the new research network, which is tasked with looking at how ghostly, absent or missing children are depicted in popular culture and what that says about how society views childhood and certain groups of children.

‘Haunting Issues: Children, Spectrality and Culture’, as the network will be known, was made possible with funding from the Art and Humanities Research Council. The project is co-led by Professor Katy Shaw at the University of Northumbria.

Dr Arnold is a specialist in contemporary literature, with particular research interests in contemporary gothic, narratives of haunting and contemporary women’s writing.

She said: “In my previous research into haunting and spectrality in contemporary literature I noticed that the figure of the child ghost – whether literal or metaphorical – kept re-occurring with increasing frequency.

“However, there wasn’t any sustained scholarship on this development in contemporary culture, particularly in literature.




“Ghost stories are frequently used as vehicles to think about individuals, events, voices or even communities who are marginalised, forgotten or ignored.

“Therefore, it was important to me to think about what these narratives of child ghosts might be telling us about how we think about the figure of the child and the experience of childhood in our present moment.


Dr Arnold and Professor Shaw will work with academics from 15 different universities in the UK, the EU, North America and Australia.

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