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Fairy Tales Re imaginedenchantment, beastly tales and dark mothers

By September 21, 2012news

Saturday 13th October
Guthrie Theatre
University of Technology Sydney

Why do traditional fairy tales have such a powerful hold on our cultural imagination?

Fairy tales remain a rich source of inspiration for visual artists and filmmakers. Recently we have seen well-known stories like Snow White, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood retold at the cinema for adult audiences. The TV series Once Upon a Time challenges us to recognise well known fairy story characters. Contemporary writers constantly re-imagine traditional fairy tale narratives. Their familiar motifs and symbols thread throughout advertising and popular culture.

This one day symposium Fairy Tales Re-imagined: Enchantment, Beastly Tales and Dark Mothers brings together writers, artists and academics to speak about their fascination with fairy tales and their approaches to taking old stories into new forms. It invites the audience to question the hidden meanings of these dark tales and to ask what relevance do they have for our contemporary world?

Cost: $80 or $50 concession (lunch included)

To register:

For more info: Sasha Segers 9514 9931

Meredith Jones, well known for her writings on cosmetic surgery, takes us into the world of enchanted sleep, not just in fairy tales but in everyday life, even in the corporate and medical worlds.

The symposium brings together award winning writer Margo Lanagan talking about animal –human shape changing stories including her recent novel Sea Hearts and Melbourne printmaker Jazmina Cininas blurs the boundary between Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in her art practice. Taking the Bluebeard story as her starting point, Cathy Cole speaks about the killer husband at the heart of so many contemporary crime narratives.

Why are fairy tales full of terrible step-mothers and wicked witches? Jungian analyst and media artist Sarah Gibson offers a psychological interpretation of the dark mother of fairy tales, in particular in the recent Snow White films. Kate Forsyth draws on her recent novel Bitter Greens to offer a new interpretation of the witch in Rapunzel. Baba Jaga is the Polish dark mother who inspires the work of artist Agnieszka Golda. After this panel you will never think of the wicked witch in the same way.

Colin Harvey speaks about his experience writing transmedia fairy stories in particular the fate of Tinkerbell. Together all these artists and writers reflect on the way the traditional stories shape shift in contemporary culture.

Radio producer, writer and Zen teacher Susan Murphy asks us to consider a larger question: what stories may help us address the trouble we’re in at this moment in human history and how might story be able to lead our imaginations back from the brink?

The symposium has been initiated by Sarah Gibson, Senior Lecturer at UTS whose highly acclaimed interactive project Re-enchantment was launched by the ABC last year. It explores the hidden meaning of fairy tales for adults and can be found at

This one day symposium will be of great interest to lovers of fairy tales, to artists, writers, storytellers, educators, counsellors, academics and those thinking about media, communications, psychology, cultural studies and literature.

Join us for this lively symposium about why fairy tales continue to enchant, entertain, horrify and fascinate contemporary adults?