Between the Living and the Dead: A Halloween Conference

Between the Living and the Dead: A Halloween Conference
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 7:00pm to Sunday, October 31, 2021 - 7:55pm

Between the Living and the Dead:
A Halloween Conference

Saturday 30th October - Sunday 31st October 2021

Across cultures and time, humans have demonstrated a primal need to maintain a connection with the dead. The idea that the veil separating the living and the dead becomes porous at particular times and places has held particular sway over the imagination, with Samhain in Ireland and Scotland, Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, the Hungry Ghost Festival in regions of Asia, Pitru Paksha in India, or the Awuru Odo Festival in Nigeria emerging as just a few examples of the rituals that articulate humanity’s drive to transcend the boundaries of mortality. This notion of boundary is even further removed from many Indigenous/First Nations traditions, where rituals highlight the presence of departed ancestors in the land, winds and waters.

Though the connection to the past and to ancestors is deeply personal, the rituals for marking that bond are shaped by the social forces that structure public life. For example, Christianity, the Enlightenment, colonialism, commercialism and other influences have transformed the Pagan celebration of Samhain into the mainstream, modern day, decidedly secular holiday of Halloween. And of course, it is impossible to overlook the way accusations of witchcraft and demonic possession were historically levelled against individuals who failed to conform to the norms of a community.

Halloween therefore marks an appropriate time to reflect on the meaning of the rituals humans have developed to negotiate their relationship with the world beyond. Why do we tell stories about ghosts/spirits, haunted houses, witches, and demonic possessions? What do our narratives and cultural practices reveal about the way we perceive death, the afterlife and the supernatural?

The Halloween Connections Project offers a space for participants from diverse fields and practices to engage in multi- and inter-disciplinary dialogues around these issues.

Key Topics
Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:

~ Psychological, physiological, anthropological and religious/spiritual perspectives on the human preoccupation with the dead
~ Case studies of rituals, their evolution and their meaning
~ Meanings/ideolgical implications of Halloween iconography and narratives (e.g. witches, demons, the Devil, possessions, etc.) in oral traditions, literature, drama, film, television, video, gaming, the arts
~ Haunted spaces and places regarded as portals to another dimension
~ Commodifying rituals and humanity’s obsession with the dead
~ Impact of technology on the boundary between living and dead (e.g. bringing back the dead in the form of holograms, cloning, etc.)
~ The future of rituals
~ Music and the relationship between the living and the dead

What To Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Monday 6th September 2021. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 10th September 2021.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Monday 18th October 2021

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Between the Living and the Dead Submission.

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Adriana Gordillo:
Project Administrator (Len Capuli):

What’s so Special About a Progressive Connexions Event?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.

A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.

A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.

An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.

An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.


Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.

Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

All enquiries should be sent to the project email address:

Further details and information can be found at the conference web page:

Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions


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