“Every [living] scholar you have ever studied, is probably in this room,” a favorite professor stated at the first event of the International Gothic Association (IGA) Conference. And, with a few exceptions — he was right.
This post is a little late, (and I promise that a recap of New Orleans will be posted soon) but in August of this year, I had the pleasure of speaking at the IGA biannual Conference in Vancouver BC, Canada. The trip started great, as we located the conference hotel with relative ease and proceeded to check in the night before events were to begin, giving a touch of time to recover from the long drive.
The first day was wonderful as I spent the afternoon both visiting with friends and making new ones. There was also a meet and greet that night which featured an impressive gathering of Gothic lovers from students to writers to professors who came together to celebrate their mutual love of dark landscapes, creatures and literature.
The conference itself was an exciting array of papers, covering topics from the oldest of gothic myth of the victorian era to the most modern of supernatural portrayals ranging from the the supernatural television shows Vampire Diaries and True Blood, to the 2014 release, Prince Lestat to (my personal favorite) Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl, the most current of which was released only a few months ago. It also covered zombies, ghosts, victorian literature and all manner of Gothic tales.
I loved getting to meet everyone and stood in awe as a few of those whose work I have studied, quoted and (though I’ll never admit it) worshiped walked by with kind hellos, willing to indulge endless questions pertaining to student’s favorite themes and topics.
My own paper came on the final day of the conference, at a panel hosted at 8 o’clock that morning. Given the early morning status, I was slightly worried that few people would show. However, to my surprise and delight, almost the entire ballroom was filled with interested people. I had never presented a paper to a crowd quite so large before and was a touch nervous walking up to the podium, however after a few moments of speaking, my nerves had (mostly) vanished and I was able to deliver the speech, which seemed well-received by the listeners. A wonderful introduction to the IGA conference overall, as this was the first time I had ever had the pleasure of attending.
Vancouver was a fun city to visit, though I must admit it is often difficult to truly explore in the middle of a long conference. However we did get to visit some great restaurants, a lovely park and a few other places as we went through town. The greatest night that we had to explore, was the last night of the conference, when we took a river boat tour which doubled as the official dinner for the conference.
It was a fun boat with live music and beautiful settings against the background of the Vancouver sunset. The food was surprisingly good (some conference dinners leave a touch to be wanting) and a good time was had by all.
Overall, it was a great experience and I am very much looking forward to attending this wonderful event in the future.