Series of Talks Get Christmas, Cracked at The Hive

A brightly coloured Christmas biscuit and hot chocolate

A group of academic experts from the University of Worcester have got their heads together to discuss the biggest questions around Christmas and are putting on a series of talks at The Hive in December.

“Christmas, Cracked” will delve deep into topics ranging from ghost stories to psychology and from Christmas dinner to festive films.

The talks will take place in the run up to Christmas and are completely free to attend but you will need to book your place.

On Tuesday, December 12 between 6.30pm and 8pm, three 15-minute talks will discuss the themes of Festive Food, Celebration and Ritual, which will examine the role of food in our Christmas celebrations not just in the UK but globally.

Holly Barnes-Bennetts’ talk will look at how our identities and food rituals influence and inform one another while looking back at a brief history of food at Christmas.

Dr Lucy Arnold will take us on a journey through the connection between winter festivals and the supernatural in her talk on Festive Spirits: A History of the Christmas Ghost Story.

And Dr Tanya Carpenter will examine Group Dynamics at Christmas, where you can find out how the psychology of group dynamics can help you navigate the office Christmas party or Christmas lunch with your family.

A week later, on Tuesday, December 19, Katy Wareham Morris will look at the role of cinema in our own traditions, in her talk Festive Family Films. She’ll be exploring how and why we watch the films we do at Christmas and their link to family traditions.

From Home Alone, the Muppets Christmas Carole, The Grinch, Die Hard and more, Katy will be talking about why families invest time on this cultural practice and why it’s important to make times for watching films together at Christmas.

She’ll be joined on the same evening by Lou Aimes-Hill, who will be looking into the annual John Lewis Christmas message, and discussing how a well-chosen pop-punk cover version can successfully communicate the Christmas message.

The release of the advert has become something of an event in itself, and the song choice is always central to the conversation around the commercial.

Lou will be looking at the way the music adds meaning in the overall narrative of the advert.

She said: “We’re cracking open some of the best loved Christmas traditions, stories and rituals with a fun but informative journey through food, literature, family life, film and music.”

She continued: “We’ll be casting an academic eye on the nostalgia and ritual that Christmas brings, so if you’ve ever wondered why your family stir the Christmas pudding anti-clockwise, how ghost stories can sprinkle a little festive cheer, or why you’ve watched the same film at 4pm on Christmas day since you were knee high to an elf, come and join us and explore a different side to the festivities we know and love.”

There’ll be the chance for audience members to ask questions at the end of each talk, and if you’d like to book your place, please follow the links below.

You can book your free places to both nights on The Hive website.