Monday, September 04, 2006

Sectus 2007 - Harry Potter Conference

I'm on the Harry Potter for Grown Ups mailing list and I've just received details of the Sectus 2007 conference. This is an unofficial Harry Potter conference being held in London from 19-22 July 2007.

This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Harry Potter books in the country where it all began. Sectus will be held in the heart of the capital, close to Regent's Park and within easy walking distance of Oxford Circus, Madame Tussaud's and King's Cross.

Sectus will comprise a varied mixture of academic papers, panels, informal discussions and workshops. We already have Steve Vander Ark, creator of the Harry Potter Lexicon, confirmed as a guest speaker, and some exciting proposals lined up from all areas of fandom.

Call for Papers

For the academic side of the programming, we're seeking papers on a wide range of topics - the following are just some suggested themes:

- *Science and technology.* Can science be said to exist in the Wizarding World, and if so, how far does it reflect our real-world knowledge? Is magic bound by the laws of physics ?

- *Mythology, alchemy and symbolism.* How myths and legends support Rowling's storytelling, and how an examination of alchemical theory and symbolism can help us unravel the secrets within the text ?

- *Education.* The portrayal of education in the Wizarding World, the effective use of Rowling's books in real-world education and is the 'reading revolution' a myth?

- *Social and political issues.* Explorations of class, race, gender and sexuality in the narrative, the Wizarding World and/or derived fan works.

- *Fandom history.* From paper to screen - how would the HP fandom have fared without the internet, and what lies ahead for the fandom after the publication of the seventh book?

- *Fandom issues.* Staying on the right side of international law, fan fiction vs. fan art, gender and the fan community.

Proposals for papers on these or other topics, or for any other events, should be sent to Full guidelines for submission can be found at Sectus 2007.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 31st January 2007.

Extra-curricular activities:

As well as the academic side of the conference, we will be running a unique Wizarding Tournament. This is open to all attendees, and will consist of three tasks, culminating in a treasure hunt around London.

At the centre of the tournament will be Not the Yule Ball, a formal dinner and opportunity for some well-mannered frivolity. Entertainment will be provided by ZHL Strings, a string quartet renowned for their energetic performances. Tickets are not included in the registration price, and will be on sale soon.

Outside the conference:

For those who want to extend their trip into a full holiday, we're offering two options.

Starting on 14th July 2007, we will be running a series of sighseeing trips and activities designed to help you make the most out of your stay in London. As well as the usual sights, we're planning a themed medieval banquet and a cruise down the Thames. All suggestions are accepted: please email with your preferences.

Also in the works is a trip to Alnwick Castle, better known as Hogwarts from the first two films. This trip is to be held on Wednesday July 18th, and will include a tour of all the filming locations in the castle, lunch in the castle restaurant, organised games and a themed gift bag. Tickets for this trip will be on sale shortly: please watch the website and/or LJ community (sectus_2007) for details.

All pre-conference events will be organised on an informal basis, and are subject to availability and demand. Payment for some events may be required in advance.

If you're looking for a way to relax after a busy conference weekend in London, you might be interested in our Residential Course.

From Monday 23rd July until Sunday 29th, we will have exclusive use of a bunkhouse in an isolated part of Snowdonia, North Wales. As well as the academic programming, which will consist of presentations and roundtable-style discussions, there will be plenty of opportunity to relax and explore your surroundings in one of the most unspoiled areas of Britain.

The cost of the Residential Course is £250 (payable in installments), which includes travel to and from London, six nights' accommodation and all meals for the duration of our stay. Further details and a booking form are available at Sectus Residential

Please note that places on the Residential Course are extremely limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Where your money goes

Sectus is completely non-profit and run entirely by volunteers. Unlike other conferences, everyone involved in running Sectus pays the same registration, accommodation and travel as everyone else.

Any surplus resulting from the event, as well as any proceeds from our Charity Auction, will go directly to Book Aid International, an organisation who work to provide books to libraries, hospitals, refugee camps and schools in the developing world.

We hope you will join us in supporting this worthy cause.

Registration and where to find out more

You can book for Sectus on our website, at Sectus 2007 Registration.

Our special early booking rate of £45 is available only until 31st October 2006.

This all sounds like great fun - but I find myself thinking "Hang on. What if HP7 comes out the weekend of the conference ? I shall want to be at home, reading the book and then Blogging about it, not hanging about a London conference centre, trying to find time to read it in between going to sessions !"

Of course, the inclusion of the residential course in Wales, means this conference may attract visitors from overseas, although there are a number of HP conferences taking place in the US next year (I know of at least 2 - Phoenix Rising May 17 - 21 2007, in New Orleans and Prophecy 2007 August 2 - 5 2007 in Toronto, Canada !) - so if you want to attend Sectus 2007, it may be best to book early !


Unknown said...

It sounds like a lot of fun, but you make a really good point about the date! July 2007 seems like a likely candidate for HP7 release date, and you're right that when it does come out, I'll want to pretty much set everything else aside to read it!

Michele said...

If only JKR/Bloomsbury/Scholastic would tell us when the new book will be out... (Do you think she's even finished writing it yet ?)