Manchester Folk Horror Festival III

14-16 Faraday St, Manchester M1 1BE

Sat, 1 Feb, 13:00 – Sun, 2 Feb, 03:30

The Manchester Folk Horror Festival returns for a third year, calling out to those brave souls blessed and able enough to know folk horror when they see it. This year, the umbrella widens into further reaches of esoterica, as we consider our ‘Invisible Neighbours’ and pay heed to hitherto ‘Hidden Devotions’. A broad animism can be observed within the boundaries of our experience—culturally, socially, biologically and imaginally.

With 2020 comes a new sensibility; the conclusion, that the super-normal is in fact entering our every day lives. From 80’s pop singers acting as the vessel for oracular wisdom, to statues of Moloch in the Vatican, to the obscure traditions of spirit propitiation on the banks of the Ribble, we now sit cheek to jowl with the liminal.

Artists have been approached who look to evoke to one degree or another, something of the incomprehensible consciousness, of that which is supposed without perception.  Artists and contributors include COMMON EIDER KING, Mark Pilkington AKA THOUGHT UNIVERSE, SPIRITUALIST CHURCH///Symphony, TARAS BULBA, ROTTEN BLISS, WATERFLOWER is artist Sabine Moore’s audiovisual performance project, CHELSEA HARE, ECKA MORDECAI, THE FATES Led by Manchester punk icon Una Baines, THE BEGOTTEN, EMILY OLDFIELD, FLANGE CIRCUS, PHIL LEGARD, SARA HANNANT, CHRISTOPHER JOSIFFE and STRANGER THAN LIFE DRAWING with BECCA SMITH


Everyday Delight

5 December – 28 February 2020

Free Space Project
Kentish Town Health Centre
2 Bartholomew Road

Shutter Hub have teamed up with Free Space Project to bring EVERYDAY DELIGHT – an exhibition all about looking for the joy in the small things, finding the magic in what might at first appear mundane, and discovering the beauty in the everyday.It’s there, but you might not always be able to see it.In a world where we seem to have more to worry about every day it’s not always easy to find the positive view, but Shutter Hub are hoping that this collaboration with Free Space Project, and the collation of over 100 images, will give viewers something to think about and to focus on temporarily, and perhaps to come away seeing things differently.

Featured on the Guardian

Magickal Women Conference     1 June, 2019

65 Queen’s Gate



The Magickal Women Conference pays homage to the women of the past who challenged the status quo by embracing mysticism, esotericism, and occult teachings, and to the women who continue those rich traditions through lived practice, performance, and adeptship.  I am delighted to be contributing an interactive art installation to this event.



I will be presenting ‘Enchanted encounters: reaffirming a magical heritage’ at the fourth of the RAI’s recent major conferences, organised by the RAI and the BM’s Department for Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and held in the Clore Centre of the British Museum and the Department of Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. 

Informal enquiries may be made to


Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. email or call 020 7520 1440.

My images will be projected in the foyer during the Time and Tradition weekend. 

I aim to capture the excitement and mystery of seasonal rites, revealing costumed processions, fire rituals, traditional dances and mumming plays held in rural and urban locations. Many of these customs represent the rhythms and cycles of Nature throughout the wheel of the year.  My book and exhibition, from which these projected images are part, celebrates a vibrant and evolving traditional culture that honours our connection with the seasons, the land and community.

Occult Humanities Conference 2017

Contemporary Art and Scholarship on the Esoteric Traditions

October 13-15, 2017
34 Stuyvesant St. New York, NY

Hosted by Phantasmaphile and the NYU Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions

The third Occult Humanities Conference is a weekend conference to be held in New York City on October 13-15, 2017. The conference will present a wide array of voices active in the cultural landscape who are specifically addressing the occult tradition through research, scholarship and artistic practice.  I will be presenting images from Of Shadows and speaking about some of the relationships between Witchcraft, Magic and Photography.

I am speaking about Of Shadows as part of the Strange Attractor Talks at SUPERNORMAL 2017. An experimental festival of arts and music, expanding upon new paradigms of what a festival can be. Independent and uncompromising, it champions multi-faceted, exploratory art and music from the underground, margins and fringes to impart inspiring and engaging encounters beyond the everyday and the expected.

Braziers Park, Ipsden, Wallingford, Oxford, OX10 6AN




All about Cinderella: retellings in the cultural imagination Postgraduate Centre, Luton Campus University of Bedfordshire
9th – 10th June 2017

Scholars from around the world at the University of Bedfordshire to explore themes around the Cinderella story.  I will give a presentation on my work Ladybird Cinderella: Your House is on Fire.

Cinderella: The clock began to strike twelve, 2014

Academics from as far afield as America, Canada, Brazil, Turkey and Australia attended the conference called All About Cinderella: retellings in a cultural imagination at the University’s Luton campus.

During the conference the guests, who specialised in a variety of disciplines, including literature, dance, theatre and film, explored the popular Cinderella story and how different cultures interpreted the myth in different ways.

They also debated how the classic fairy tale is retold by every generation through story, film, dance, pantomime and music, and discussed how the story asked questions about gender stereotyping, female identity and femininity.

At the centre of the conference was a selection of items from the collection of Cinderella memorabilia donated to the University by an anonymous donor – it was this collection, held in the library at the Bedford campus, which inspired the conference.

Conference convenor Dr Nicola Darwood, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University, said: “We were delighted to welcome scholars from around the world and it was a privilege to hear so many speakers on such a variety of aspects of the Cinderella story.

We had two days of fascinating papers and interesting conversations, and I hope that a number of international and interdisciplinary collaborations will arise from the conference.”

Ritual ‘Litter’ Redressed: The heritage of contemporary deposits at the University of Hertfordshire

Water, Wish 2, 2013
Earth, Wish 4, 2014
Fire, Wish 4, 2014

I am speaking about Numinous at a one-day workshop ‘Ritual ‘Litter’ Redressed: The heritage of contemporary deposits’.

A one-day workshop inviting scholars, heritage specialists, site managers and interested members of the public to explore the material culture and heritage of contemporary deposits.  

The workshop is organised by Dr Ceri Houlbrook from the University of Hertfordshire and will explore the heritage of the contemporary deposit, defined here as any tangible item placed in a public space with no obvious intention of retrieval.  

The aim of the workshop will be to promote a renegotiation of the term ‘ritual litter’ and to foster a dialogue between academics (from a wide range of disciplines including history, archaeology, anthropology, folklore) researching contemporary deposits, and heritage specialists and site managers, who tackle the practical issues surrounding such depositions.

There is a perceived schism between the researcher’s approach to these objects (as ‘material culture’, ‘ritual artefacts’, ‘empirical data’), and how they are sometimes viewed and treated within the heritage sector (as ‘litter’, ‘waste’, ‘vandalism’).

However, this schism is not always evident, and successful collaborations have taken place between researchers and site managers. The workshop’s primary objectives are to explore such collaborations, address problems, and exchange ideas on the management of contemporary deposits.  Speakers include Christine Finn, author of ‘Leaving more than footprints’: Modern votive offerings at Chaco Canyon prehistoric site’, Antiquity, 71, (1997), and Andrew Foley, National Trust Ranger for Wayland’s Smithy.

Folklore from the Cradle to the Grave: FLS AGM conference 2017

Numinous, Air, Wish 1, 2014

Sara Hannant will be speaking at “Folklore from the Cradle to the Grave”.  The Folklore Society’s AGM conference 2017, 31st March -2nd April,  jointly hosted with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, and Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.  Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR. 




Caught by The River will be returning in March to The Horse Hospital – this time teaming up with Strange Attractor Press.

Monday 20th March, Doors 7pm Tickets in advance £10


Strange Attractor began in 2001 as a series of events at the very same Horse Hospital.  Since then, they’ve published numerous brilliant works on neglected and esoteric cultural, historical and anthropological themes, by authors such as David Keenan, John Doran (the Quietus) and Tom Bolton, among many others.

Our collaborative March event will feature: Sara Hannant and Simon Costin discussing, as documented by their recently published book Of Shadows.  

Christopher Josiffe relating the bizarre tale of Gef, the ‘talking mongoose’ or ‘man-weasel’ – said to have the ability to talk in several languages, to sing, to steal objects from nearby farms and to eavesdrop on local people – who allegedly appeared in the home of an Isle of Man farming family in the 1930s.

Artist and Gossamer Days author Eleanor Morgan, who has spent a decade working with spiders and their silk, examining the strange, centuries long entanglement between humans and spiders – from gun sights to sticky tunics via acoustic lures, royal underwear and the mystery of the disappearing spider goats.

Once again, silver-tongued Poets-in-Residence Will Burns and Martha Sprackland will both put in an appearance. DJ on the night will be Strange Attractor’s Mark Pilkington, and our very own John Andrews will be taking on MC duties.

Shirley Collins: Lodestar (live)

18 February 2017 at the Barbican

One of the most important voices in British Folk, silenced for years by illness, singer and song collector Shirley Collins performs music from and inspired by her first release in nearly 40 years, Lodestar, alongside visuals by Nick Abrahams including my photographs. Before Shirley takes to the stage, special guest musicians and dancers including Alasdair Roberts, John Kirkpatrick, Graham Coxon, Lisa Knapp, Olivia Chaney, the Brighton Morris Men and Boss Morris will pay homage to the vocalist, referencing not just her back catalogue, but the Folk songs and traditions that she holds dear.

Lodestar shows that, even at the age of 81, Collins is still pushing the boundaries of what can be done with Folk music. ‘Shirley is a time traveller, a conduit for essential human aches, one of the greatest artists who ever lived, and yet utterly humble’ Stewart Lee

Shirley Collins review – a five-star foray into the darker depths of folk.  The Guardian 05.02.17

“What is wonderful about Lodestar – and this was accentuated in performance – is how absolutely willing it is to embrace the difficult and sinister sides of English folk. Collins opened with Awake Awake, a penitential song from the 1580s about the great earthquake of London, with menacing scenes of ritual burning (Lewes bonfire night) projected on a screen behind her. Without hysteria or overstatement, she reminds us that folksong taps a collective history that we ignore at our peril.”Kate Molleson

Burning effigy of David Cameron, Cliffe Bonfire, Lewes, Sussex, 2010
Burning crosses, Lewes Bonfire Parade, Sussex, 2010

Future dates

4th March – The Sage, Gateshead 
Guests: Alasdair Roberts, Emily Portman (Furrow Collective), Boss Morris

23rd April – Safe As Milk Festival @ Pontins Prestatyn Holiday Park, Wales Tickets

29th April – Arts Centre, Warwick 
Guests: John Kirkpatrick, Lisa Knapp, Boss Morris

6th May – Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 
Guests: Alasdair Roberts, Olivia Chaney, Boss Morris

6th May – Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 
Guests: Alasdair Roberts, Olivia Chaney, Boss Morris

First Royal Anthropology Institute Salon on December 7, 6 – 8pm at the Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, W1T 5BT 

Knitted Poppet with Photograph: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, 2013
Knitted Poppet with Photograph: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, 2013

The evening, which has been developed by the RAI photography committee, aims to share projects and ideas to create an informal network of interest.  A meeting of minds for those interested in the intersections of anthropology and photography, a group of photographers and researchers (and photographer-researchers, and researcher-photographers) will convene, with wine, to show images, and talk.  Taking a Pecha Kucha format, each participant was asked to bring one image and speak for just three minutes.  I will be speaking about my latest work in ‘Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’ exemplified with a single image.  

There then, hear now is a radio show broadcast on Resonance FM by Mark Aitken about the relationship between photography and sound.   Aleister Crowley described the potential of magick ritual as, ‘every man and every woman being a star’.  Can the taking of a photograph be recognised as a ritual in itself?  

Friday 2nd December, 9 – 10pm Tonight we delve into Sara Hannant’s book  Of Shadows – One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, published by Strange Attractor Press.  With music by John Zorn, The Incredible String Band, Comus and Black Widow.


London Fortean Society presents

The Haunted Landscape: British Folklore and Ghosts

Saturday 19th November @ 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

£16 – £20 SOLD OUT

As the days darken the London Fortean Society explores the folklore, ghosts and curses of the British Isles with the one-day symposium The Haunted Landscape. Authors, experts and researchers discuss ghosts, strange beasts and magic. From a talking mongoose to soul birds, moving megaliths in the landscape to witch marks in old buildings; fairy lore and ghosts. Join us at Conway Hall to learn that the green and pleasant land we abide in has dark, strange and chilling other side.

The Museum of Witchcraft was founded in Boscastle, Cornwall in 1960. It explores British magical practice, making comparisons with other systems of belief, from ancient times to the present day. Photographer Sara Hannant and museum director Simon Costin reveal highlights from their forthcoming book ‘Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’.

lo-poster-hect-32-401x567Friday November 4th 2016

Lo Recordings & state51 present: A Festival Season of Light

6pm until late..

8-10 Rhoda Street London E2 7EF

Lo Recordings in association with state51 are hosting a very special event that celebrates all manner of wonderful things. Alongside live music and screenings, esoteric publishers Strange Attractor Press are presenting Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  I will be giving a tour of my exhibition of photographs at 6.30pm.

Photobook Fair

As part of Photomonth East London, theprintspace 74 Kingsland Road, E2 8DL are hosting the Photomonth Photobook fair, a collaborative event celebrating the photobook, taking place this Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th October from 11am – 5pm, with titles recently released by some of the most exciting, independent publishers who will be showing some of their latest short run publications.

Publishers and photographers taking part in the photobook fair include Hoxton Mini Press, Dewi Lewis Publishing, Trolley Books, Hwaet Books, A&E Photobooks, Chris Dorley-Brown, Giles Duley, Tom & Beth Atkinson, Heather McDonough, Mark Mattock, David Solomons, Homer Sykes, plus many more!

On Sunday at 2.30pm Sara Hannant is giving a talk about her photographs in Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic published by Strange Attractor Press


OF SHADOWS  A haunting exhibition by photographer Sara Hannant launching the publication of her book with Simon Costin, Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  Published by STRANGE ATTRACTOR PRESS Hallowe’en, 2016.  Sara captures the essence of these carefully selected artefacts including wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets, all used in the practice of witchcraft and magic.Ofshadowscover

EXHIBITION EXTENDED 27 October-4 November 2016 LO & BEHOLD 2B Swanfield Street E2 7DS  Mon-Fri 12noon-5pm, Sat-Sun 12noon-6pm

The exhibition is part of Photomonth East London International Photography Festival 2016Photomonth

Photomonth celebrates photography in galleries and venues across East London. The festival aims to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary photography and reach the widest possible audience. Since 2001 Photomonth has become one of the largest and most inclusive festivals in the UK – bringing innovation and inspiration through the Open Call for exhibitions, giving the opportunity for emerging artists to be appreciated in a variety of interesting and unusual spaces alongside leading internationally renowned photographers in galleries and major institutions.



Rumplestilskin, 2013
Rumplestilskin, 2013

Brighton Photo Fringe 2016 is a free city-wide open-access festival of new photography providing a packed programme of exhibitions, talks, screenings, workshops, tours and parties.  The festival provides a chance to explore the city and see what makes photography such a central part of all our lives.

As a culmination of the BPF16 exhibition openings, the  LAUNCH PARTY will be held on 1 October from 9pm at  Alcampo Lounge,  84-86 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JF.  This event is ticketed in order to help BPF raise funds for its programme. Tickets can be purchased online at  All proceeds will go towards continuing the organisation’s support for the photographic community. Tickets £4.50.  The launch will feature projections of  the OPEN16 submissions including work by Sara Hannant from her series, Ladybird, Ladybird.


Trans-States: The Art of Crossing Over is a transdisciplinary conference which will explore representations in contemporary visual culture of boundary crossing, liminality and queerification with specific reference to occultism, mysticism, shamanism and other esoteric and spiritual practices.  Sara Hannant will be speaking about Of Shadows:One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  Keynote speakers include academics, independent scholars, practitioners and artists such as Dr. Marco Pasi, Alan Moore and Dr. Richard Kacynski.
The School of The Arts trans-statesLogo1
The University of Northampton
Avenue Campus, St George’s Avenue
Northampton, Northamptonshire
An unabashed play on words, a trans- state is, among other things, a coincidentia oppositorum. An alchemical wedding that defines the fixed place, where boundaries are actively transgressed. In many ways, this very undertaking is where the role of the magician, mystic and artist collide. Down at the crossroads, where possibilities are collapsed into actualities, by the wondrous act of a conscious decision: there lies the place of suffering and surrender; of realisation and redemption.


Witchcraft’s Artifacts: An illustrated talk by Sara Hannant April 18th, 2016

Baphomet, Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, 2014

Objects, exuding magic and mystery, emerge from the darkness of Cornwall’s much loved Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Artist and photographer Sara Hannant has captured the essence of these carefully selected artifacts, which include wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets. Some have been displayed at the museum for years, others have long been hidden in its archives. Using her own magical tool, the camera, she found that “it was best to photograph at night. This enabled the objects to emerge from the darkness, where it is said magic begins.” Tonight’s stunning visual lecture shows what her residency revealed.

Sara’s books are Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year and forthcoming Of Shadows, One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Talk: £8 Ring 0207 419 8508 or book online here

33 Store Street Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS

Time: 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start.

Witchcraft’s Artifacts: An illustrated talk   A Bad Witch’s Blog


This is Sara Hannant’s second visit to SELFS, her first being a tour de force on the English Ritual Year. SELFS does not say this lightly: this is a talk you will be wanting to come to. This talk is in advance of the publication of OF SHADOWS: ONE HUNDRED OBJECTS FROM THE MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT AND MAGIC published by Strange Attractor Press

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‘If you really must understand this world, first you must stand upon your head.’ Cecil Williamson, founder of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Objects, exuding magic and mystery, emerge from the darkness of Cornwall’s much loved Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Artist and photographer Sara Hannant has captured the very essence of these carefully selected artifacts, which include wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets, all used in the practice of witchcraft and magic. Some have been displayed at the museum for years, others have long been hidden in its archives.

Says Hannant: “It was best to photograph at night. This enabled the objects to emerge from the darkness, where it is said magic begins. Superstition and magic have encircled photography from the beginning. In many cultures, the word for photography/photographer translates as ‘soul taker’, ‘shadow catcher’, or ‘face stealer’. The camera itself was perceived as a magical object, and photographs were thought to possess supernatural powers.”

The talk will start at 8 pm in the upstairs room of the Old King’s Head, off Borough High Street. It will cost £3/1.50 concs


Hollyman, The Lion's Part Plough Monday celebrations, Bankside, London, 2007
Hollyman, The Lion’s Part Plough Monday celebrations, Bankside, London, 2007

Photography, Folklore and some Confusions

1 July 2015, 6 pm

At the Warburg Institute, Woburn Square London WCIH OAB

Sara Hannant photographer and author of Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year and Doc Rowe photographer and author May Day: The Coming of Spring

The lecture is free and open to all. To book, email or phone 0207 862 8564

10734070_825869074129282_1541677938960744891_oBBC Mark Forrest Evening Show interview with Sara Hannant 08.07.15  The country is filled with unusual little events and ceremonies.
Sara Hannant is a photographer who loves capturing them…
She has a book “Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year”and a touring exhibition of the images…

Calendar Customs and Seasonal Events Conference 

26-28 June 2015, at the University of Exeter, Students’ Guild, Devon

Cal_Cust_flyerFrom New Year’s mummers to Xmas carol singing, wassailing to well dressing, Easter eggs to Halloween lanterns, calendar customs and seasonal events mark the rhythm of the year and celebrate festive occasions in many different ways — some old, some new, and all subject to change over time. This conference will look at a variety of customs and traditions associated with the calendar and changing seasons.

Speakers: Stephen Banks, Tom Brown, Helen Frisby, Alice Gilbert, Nick Groom, Deborah Kelley-Galin, Sara Hannant, Maureen James, Sharron Kraus, Tommy Kuusela, Mark Lewis, Peter Millington, Mark Norman, Bob and Jacqueline Patten, Steve Patterson, Jennifer Reid, Bill Roberts, Peter Robson, Derek Schofield, Murray Stewart.

RAIRoyal Anthropological Institute

Anthropology and Photography Conference

British Museum, Clore Centre, 29-31 May 2014

The Royal Anthropological Institute is pleased to announce that a conference ‘Anthropology and Photography’ will take place at the British Museum, Clore Centre, in conjunction with the museum’s Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. The aim of the Conference is to stimulate an international discussion on the place, role and future of photography.  The Folklore Society have invited Sara Hannant to show some of her photographs as part of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Anthropology and Photography Conference to be held on 29-31 May at the British Museum in London. The portfolio illustrates how photography is advancing the practice and understanding of anthropology and folklore.

The Fool, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Staffordshire
The Fool, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Staffordshire, 2006
Lamas ritual, Eastbourne, Sussex
Lammas ritual, Hunter’s Moon, Eastbourne, Sussex, 2008