I went to the Gothic Science Fiction conference which Napier hosted yesterday - it was well worth spending a Saturday at University for it!
Speakers included Roger Luckhurst, Nickianne Moody and Fred Botting, who (along with PHd students) lectured on their areas of expertise and invited discussion with the audience. There weren't many of us there and I appeared to be the only non Dr or PhD student in the entire conference (where were you, Mandy?!?) so I felt like a right nonce with only my BSc and MA on the way, but it was a nice friendly atmosphere and everyone was really interested throughout.
I originally decided to attend this because the subject of the conference as well as several of the speakers research areas seemed attractive to my general interests. I wasn't sure what the event itself would be like, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself. Discussed were: books by Lovecraft, Wells, Shiel; films like the Matrix, Blade Runner, Dawn of the Dead; the genres (and if genre exists!!) of science fiction, Gothic-Punk, horror (zombies, primarily) and the "Post Genre Fantastic".
I talked to a few of the PhD students in attendance during the breaks (one girl was doing a PhD on Terry Pratchett!!!) and a student at Napier is very kindly going to let me read her thesis for my own research project, as she is studying literary fiction in the subject area I am researching for my own MA research module.
I actually came away with loads of research ideas for my project, as well as a few wee ideas for the film I'll be using my research to write as well. We have to do 25 annotations for the research project and currently I'm WOEFULLY behind in this area. Yesterday's conference has pushed me towards about half a dozen appropriate academic papers as well as several pieces of fiction that I want to investigate.
Hopefully I will be spending most of tomorrow in the Edinburgh University library, ploughing through academic papers and nice old books that our Uni doesn't stock. The conference has really inspired me and I hope I don't lose the impetus to research properly!