Northern Ireland

Derry to host academics for first ever Global Zombie Studies Symposium

A scene featuring zombies from US TV show The Walking Dead.
A scene featuring zombies from US TV show The Walking Dead. A scene featuring zombies from US TV show The Walking Dead.

A gathering of academics from around the world who study 'zombie culture' is to take place in Derry on Halloween.

Ulster University has announced its first Global Zombie Studies Symposium, with over 80 academics from various universities and colleges expected to attend the two-day conference.

The event will feature workshops, panel discussions and film screenings, all dedicated to the concept of the undead in folklore, with many events also exploring political themes linked to zombies and how real-life events including the Covid-19 pandemic mirror fictional apocalypse portrayals in literature and on screen.

A number of US universities have offered courses linked to zombies in recent years, with students exploring the myth's links to issues including slavery and colonialism.

Among screenings to take place during the conference is 2017 Irish horror The Cured, by director David Freyne.

The symposium is taking place at Ulster University's Magee campus as part of Derry's annual International Halloween Festival.

The university's Dr Victoria McCollum said: "There is nowhere better on earth to host a global zombie studies symposium.

"For almost a century, the zombie has been used as a vehicle to inform our understanding of terrorism, racism, poverty, globalisation, communism, contagion, and so on.

"A mass horde of international zombie scholars will soon be en route to our Derry - Londonderry campus, which has long played a central role in engaging with and supporting our local communities through our teaching, research and investment.”