It has been some time since I posted – so I thought I’d write a quick update.
Over the last few months I have been buried deep in the analysis of data for this research and am beginning to properly draft my PhD. Survey responses came from all over the world, as illustrated below, and working through responses has been a huge – and hugely rewarding – task. For the first part of 2018 my primary occupation will be writing up my thesis, and I hope to be closer to completion by this time next year. During that time I will be able to post more regular updates.
It’s a long process… but we’re getting closer!
For this research I have travelled to many countries, particularly in Europe, to attend Goth and alternative culture events, gigs, festivals, concerts and all sorts of gatherings.
The sense of community has been amazing.
Like other socially active groups we have developed common rituals, aesthetics and behaviours (clothing, dance styles, etc), which inform our personal interactions and provide comfortable social boundaries. Of course, like all communities, not everyone in the Goth scene gets along; there can be rivalries and occasional bitching. In my experience however, this has been minimal and has not disrupted the overwhelmingly positive mood of these events.
One of the principal characteristics of the culture observed on these trips has been participants respectful collective response to one another when in large crowds; a consistent pattern of courteous social interaction and generally polite deportment. …And an ever-present dark sense of humour. The Goth community has developed natural, unspoken, yet internationally understood, etiquette responses which allow such events to progress amicably, irrespective of language barriers or other impediments to communication.
Most recently the Melbourne Gothic and Victorian Picnic was a fabulous display of the Australian Goth community: brilliantly organised and well patronised by a glorious array of attendees.
At M’era Luna earlier this year it was overwhelming to be in the midst of such an enormous crowd of like-minded folk [25,000+], almost all of whom were considerate and welcoming. Family groups stood alongside young Goths as well as veterans of the culture, in all manner of couture, each enjoying the atmosphere and entertainment.
There were many examples of generosity, humour and good will despite some fairly dismal weather, more mud than is decent, and often extremely long queues…Infest was similarly outstanding, as it always has been, with a great crowd in attendance every night and bands responding brilliantly to the energy in the room.
At each of these events I have collected a mass of visual and interview data as well as reflecting on my own experience in the Goth community and the importance these social events play in maintaining connections to and within the Goth culture.
There have been a number of other events – Whitby of course and lots of gigs etc – which I will document more fully later.
Thank you to everyone who made time to chat, I loved almost* every minute of it!
Once my research is completed I hope to publish images collected as part of this study in my thesis and will also post updates on planned future photographic projects next year.
*Almost… I am especially thankful to the lovely people who provided assistance and support at the Sisters gig at Camden Roundhouse when I was knocked unconscious by a crowd-surfer – thank you! …all part of the fun!