40th conference

International Society for Contemporary Legend Research

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK | 26-30 June, 2023 


The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research is pleased to announce that the 2023 Perspectives on Contemporary Legend 40th International Conference will be held in the Dorothy Fleming Lecture Theatre, Charles Street building at Sheffield Hallam University, 26-30 June 2023.

The 40th conference will celebrate the return of legend scholars to the city where academic inquiry into this new genre of folklore began in the summer of 1982. Not only will we aim to celebrate that special anniversary but also to examine how contemporary legend scholarship has evolved and expanded its remit to incorporate new stories, rumors, conspiracy theories, fake and folk news in the age of pandemics and perma-crises.

SHU’s city campus is located conveniently alongside Sheffield’s Midland Railway station that has direct rail links with London St Pancras International (2 hours 10 minutes) and Manchester International Airport (approx 1 hour 30 minutes). The organisers are making arrangements for a special group rate with the Novotel on Arundel Gate, a few minutes walk from the venue and within easy reach of city centre pubs and restaurants.

The conference will be organised as a series of seminars at which most attendees will present papers. Concurrent sessions will be avoided so that all attendants can hear all papers. Presentations will be 20 minutes with an additional ten minutes for discussion. Proposals for papers on all aspects of contemporary, urban, or modern legend research are sought, as are those on any legends, traditions and stories that circulate actively at present or have circulated at an earlier historical period. Proposals for special panels, seminars and any other related areas to contemporary legend and folklore are encouraged.

A few possible themes we could highlight for 2023 include:

  • Is the Truth still out there? Marking the 30th anniversary of The X-Files TV show

  • Under or mis-represented cultural communities/identities in legend studies

  • New legends from post-industrial urban areas 

  • Folk Horror: Cultural and global diversity

The organisers are Centre for Contemporary Legend co-founders David Clarke, Diane Rodgers and Andrew Robinson. To submit a proposal, please forward a title and abstract (250-300 words) by February 15, 2023 by e-mail to David Clarke ( and Diane Rodgers ( 

As part of conference events, we will also be hosting film screenings, we encourage submissions of short films (maximum 30-minutes in length) as part of a curated evening of multimedia – please send outlines and/or links to Andrew Robinson (

Sheffield, with a history brimming with stories and legends, is the UK’s greenest city with more trees per person than any city in Europe. Like Rome, the city is said to be built upon seven hills. One third of its area falls within the Peak District National Park, with its hills and moors forming a ‘golden frame’ around the valley of the river Don. Sheffield is world famous for its cutlery and steel industries symbolised by the statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, that stands on the city’s Victorian Town Hall. Sheffield was founded in Anglo-Saxon times as a settlement on the river Sheaf that marked the boundary between the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria, the ‘Sheaf-field’ or town beside the boundary river. Following the Norman Conquest, William de Lovetot built a castle at the confluence of the rivers Don and Sheaf to represent Norman power over the North of England. Sheffield Castle became one of the largest strongholds in the medieval England and in Elizabethan times it became the jail of Mary Queen of Scots. During the summer of 2023 archaeologists will begin excavating the ruins of that castle including its huge gatehouse as part of a £15 million project to regenerate the historic centre of Sheffield.

Comprehensive information on the conference will be forthcoming and will also soon be available on the website and our Facebook Page. We look forward to welcoming you to this conference, the area, and the trading of our stories in our annual reunion of researchers who work on this ever current and growing legends!

For more information on the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and to learn how to join, visit: