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As the dates are confirmed for Derry~Londonderry’s International Halloween Festival, this week Ulster University has announced its very first Global Zombie Studies Symposium.

The Symposium will bring together academics from all over the world researching the many fascinating facets of Zombie Culture, to share their studies with like-minded Zombie afficionados.

The Global Zombie Studies Symposium will take place over two days, October 30th and October 31st, with around 80 delegates expected to attend from academic institutions from across the world. The event features talks, panel discussions and workshops, touching on a diverse range of subjects including Zombie politics, Zombie Beauty and Rethinking the Living Dead in the era of the pandemic. Delegates will then have the opportunity to don their best blood-soaked apparel and join in the wider Halloween festivities, including the carnival parade, which will take over the city centre on Halloween night.

Looking ahead to the event, Dr Victoria McCollum from Ulster University, said:

“Derry Halloween is such a vital aspect of cultural life here in the city. There is nowhere better on earth to host a global zombie studies symposium! For almost a century, the zombie has been used as a vehicle to inform our understanding of terrorism, racism, poverty, globalisation, communism, contagion, and so on. A mass horde of international zombie scholars will soon be en route to our Derry ~ Londonderry campus, which has long played a central role in engaging with and supporting our local communities through our teaching, research and investment.”

Mayor of Derry, Councillor Patricia Logue said the Symposium had picked the perfect place to locate this year in the home of Halloween.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Ulster University’s Zombie Symposium event to our city – which will provide the perfect backdrop for the conference.

“It will be a real highlight of the festival, which this year will take place over four days featuring a fantastic array of activities and entertainment for all ages. The Zombies will fit in well with the many witches, wizards, ghosts and ghouls who will be crossing over from the spirit world to join in the celebrations which attract over 100,000 revellers each year. There will be lots to keep the little ones entertained, including the magical Awakening the Walled City Trail running through the city centre over three nights, October 28-30, followed by our Halloween night carnival extravaganza, with over 600 performers taking part in the traditional parade and fireworks. It’s going to be a fabulous event and I am so looking forward to welcoming our Zombie academics to be part of the celebrations, with more details on the programme soon to be announced.”

The Derry Halloween programme features a whole host of spellbinding events for people of all ages, including ghoulish ghost tours, spooky story-telling, creepy arts and crafts and spine chilling haunted houses to get you in the Samhain spirit. For three nights the spirits arise to join the Awakening the Walled City Trail, a magical journey through the City of Bones where you will encounter some of the many weird and the wonderful characters who bring Halloween to life, including the infamous skeleton Walter DeBurgh.

On Halloween night itself hundreds of performers from schools and groups across Derry and Strabane will then take to the streets for the annual carnival parade, followed by a thrilling fireworks finale over the River Foyle.

Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter said Council hoped to build once again on visitor numbers at the event:

“With the launch of the Halloween Festival date the countdown is now officially on to this year’s festival, which we are hoping will attract even more revellers to the city. The event has grown year on year to become the biggest celebration of its kind in Europe and we are extremely proud of the international reputation it has established, drawing visitors from all over the globe.

“I am delighted that this year the city will be hosting the Global Zombie Studies Symposium – there’s no better platform to discuss the issues of the undead – and I know that after experiencing Derry Halloween the delegates will all just be dying to come back!

Chief Executive of Visit Derry, Odhran Dunne, said the city was gearing up to welcome thousands of international visitors.

“Over the years Derry has established itself as the place to visit at Halloween, and the scale and quality of our celebrations are second to none. Our visitor numbers have been steadily rising post-pandemic, and we’re delighted to see our tourism offering growing to meet that demand.

“Our local tourism industry is looking forward to supporting another exceptional festival this year with a busy programme of events for all to enjoy. As one of the world’s top Halloween Festival destinations, Derry Halloween provides us with the perfect opportunity to showcase the hospitality we have become renowned for around the world. This, added to our unique cultural and historical experiences, ensures our popularity is increasing as a fascinating visitor destination.”

To register for the Global Zombie Studies Symposium, visit: Global Zombie Studies (

Keep an eye out for more exciting Ulster University Halloween events to be announced at: