Registration Open - Death and Celebrity

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of Portsmouth
contact email: 

We are pleased to share the provisional programme for our upcoming symposium, Death and Celebrity at the University of Portsmouth on 6th June 2018.


Registration is now live and can be accessed at:


The cost of attending the symposium is:

Student/Unwaged: £10

Waged: £25 



Death and Celebrity Symposium

University of Portsmouth

6th June 2018



This one-day symposium seeks to interrogate the role of death in the construction, negotiation and perpetuation of celebrity identity. For the ancients, true fame was necessarily posthumous, but in modernity, too, there remains an enduring fascination with what Andrew Bennett terms ‘the immortality effect’. Following the death of a celebrity, a variety of agents – friends, family, fans, professional associates, arts and heritage bodies – may interact to frame his/her legacy for posterity; moreover, celebrities themselves may take an active role in choreographing their cultural afterlives while still alive. Yet, while cementing, augmenting or rehabilitating the celebrity’s public profile, death can also prompt a reputational re-evaluation, with scandalous or unsavoury posthumous revelations resulting in the desecration, rather than the enhancement, of celebrity identity. 




9.00 –


Registration & Refreshments

DS 2.13

9.20 –




Welcome by Charlotte Boyce (University of Portsmouth)

DS 2.14


9.30 -




Title TBA


Samantha Matthews

(University of Bristol)

DS 2.14





Refreshments, DS 2.12 & 2.13




Panel 1A (DS 2.14)

C19th Literary Celebrity


“If you will send for a doctor, I will see him now”: Emily Bronte, Queer Agency and Death.

Claire O’Callaghan (Loughborough University)


“Let authors rest in peace”: Louisa May Alcott and Posthumous Domesticity.

Anna Maguire Elliott (University of Sussex)


The Death of William Wordsworth in 1850.

John Morton (University of Greenwich)


Panel 1B (DS 2.09)

Re-Evaluating Celebrity Lives


Keats in the Media - Priest of Love, or Martyr to Demon Poesy?

Sultana Raza (Independent Scholar)


The Untimely Deaths of Mr and Mrs Bouman: New Perspectives on Death, Life, and History.

Ernestine Köhne-Hoegen (Independent Scholar)


A Viennese Tragedy: Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele 1918-2018.

Anne Anderson (University of Exeter/V&A Learning Academy )


12.00 –


Panel 2A (DS 2.14)

Gothic (Self-)Fashionings


Material Matters: Mortality, Museums and McQueen.

Cath Davies (Cardiff Metropolitan University)


Celebrity, Death and the Gothic Body in the Work of Andy Warhol.

Harriet Fletcher (Lancaster University)


David Bowie –“I’m a Black Star, not a Rock Star”.

Stuart Gard (University of Portsmouth)

Panel 2B (DS 2.09)

Performance and Spectacle


The Immortalisation of Celebrities.

David Giles (University of Winchester)


Conjuring Casualties: The Performance of Death in Victorian Stage Magic.

Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott (University of Portsmouth)


At the End of a Rope – The UK Press, the Death Penalty and the Construction of the Celebrity Criminal.

Alexander Hay (Independent Scholar)

13.15 –


Lunch, DS 2.12 & 2.13

14.15 –


Panel 3A (DS 2.14)

Musical Icons


“You can leave me on the shelf”: The Death of The Fall and Mark E. Smith.

Martin Myers (University of Portsmouth)


The Tragic Queerness of Whitney Houston.

Gwynne George (University of Manchester)


“I can fly my friends”: Mercury’s Message to Go On With the Show.

Marie Bennett (University of Winchester)


Panel 3B (DS 2.09)

Historical Figures


Death Becomes Him: Raphael and his Cult of Death in Victorian Britain.

Donato Esposito (Independent Scholar)


Whose Body? St Teresa and the “Real” Spain.

Kathy Bacon (University of Cambridge)


Sensationalising the Sensational – the Execution of Anne Boleyn Retold Throughout History.

Lucie Cook (University of Portsmouth)



15.30 –







‘The Secrets of a Successful Celebrity Posthumous Career’


Ruth Penfold-Mounce

(University of York)

DS 2.14



16.30 –


Refreshments, DS 2.12 & 2.13


16.45 –




Book Reading (extracts from The Executor) and Q&A


Blake Morrison

(Goldsmiths University of London)

DS 2.14



17.45 –




Closing Remarks



Conference Dinner (pay as you go)



We look forward to seeing you there. For more information please visit our website: