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Sacred Stones and Bodies Seminar at USW

Maria_23_28thFeb2017-minJackie_13_28thFeb2017-min Our recent seminar at the University of South Wales, ‘Sacred Stones and Bodies’, held on 28 February 2017, examined the material culture and some of the sacred loci of modern arts and performance festivals.  The speakers talked about the sacred stones at the Glastonbury Festival, as well as the rituals associated with ‘festival bodies’.
Dr Jacqui Mulville, a Reader in Bioarchaeology at Cardiff University, talked about ‘Festival Archaeology’, showing how Bioarcheology can  be used to explore the way in which the Stone Circle at Glastonbury can take part in the construction of festival Identities.  Jacqui examined how festivals can be researched through the application of archaeology.  She showed how archaeological evidence is called upon to construct festival identities, both physically, such as the stone circle at Glastonbury, and socially, in the re-creation of ‘ancient traditions’.  Jacqui posited that contemporary participatory archaeological research is beginning to map festival journeys and examine the material culture of festival identities.
Dr Maria Nita, at University of South Wales, talked about ‘Bodies, Rituals and the Glastonbury Festival’, attempting to show that the festival journey can be both a solitary one, in which the festival goer establishes a ritualized itinerary through the festival fields, and a communal (ritual) experience.  Maria discussed her current research on the Glastonbury festival, focusing on the significance and ritualistic treatment of the  body for the duration of the festival. She examined some historical findings that show how Woodstock’s, and conversely Glastonbury’s, iconic naked bodies both displayed a  nostalgic memorialisation of the past and ignited the imagination of a generation about the future.
We are grateful to the Humanities Research Institute at the University of South Wales for their support.
Dr Brian Ireland, Dr Sharif Gemie and Dr Maria Nita
Sacred Stones at Glatonbury

‘Sacred Stones and Bodies’, Festival Studies Network Research Seminar

University of South Wales, Cardiff
Tue 28 Feb 2017
This seminar will examine the material culture and some of the sacred loci of modern arts and performance festivals.  The blank canvases of the festival fields, which in their majority contain ephemeral yet well established, storied, structures, such as the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, have some permanent residents: ‘sacred stones’. What are their relationships with the festival bodies that rest, play, sing and dance among them?
Seminar papers:
Dr Jacqui Mulville, Cardiff University: ‘The Stone Circle at Glastonbury and the Construction of Festival Identities’
Dr Maria Nita, University of South Wales: “And Her Huge Nose was Touching the Roof…”: Bodies, Rituals and the Glastonbury Festival’
Dr Jacqui Mulville is a Reader in Bioarchaeology at Cardiff University. Dr Mulville will talk on the relationship between archaeology and festival.  She will examine how archaeological evidence is called upon to construct festival identities, both physically, such as the stone circle at Glastonbury, and socially, in the recreation of ‘ancient traditions’.  Jacqui will also present contemporary participatory archaeological research that is beginning to map festival journeys and examine the material culture of festival identities.  
 
Dr Maria Nita is a lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of South Wales. She will discuss her current research on the Glastonbury festival, focusing on the significance and ritualistic treatment of the  body for the duration of the festival. Moreover Maria will discuss historical findings that show how Woodstock’s, and conversely Glastonbury’s, iconic naked bodies both displayed a  nostalgic memorialisation of the past and ignited the imagination of a generation about the future.
Schedule
14:30 Introductions 
14:40 Dr Jacqui Mulville, Cardiff University: ‘The Stone Circle at Glastonbury and the Construction of Festival Identities’
15:10 Dr Maria Nita, University of South Wales: “And Her Huge Nose was Touching the Roof…”: Bodies, Rituals and the Glastonbury Festival’
15:40 Group discussion with online participation. Proposals and suggestions from Dr Florence Ayisi, John Morrow and Adeola Dewis.
17:00 Seminar ends
This seminar will be streamed online. Admission is free but booking is essential. Please contact Dr Maria Nita on maria.nita@southwales.ac.uk both  to register or join us online.