News Publication

The Congress for Curious People

13 August 2013

A Festival of Spectacular Cultures

August 29th – September 8th 2013

From Fun Fairs to Freak Shows… Magic Lantern Lectures to Flea Circuses… Cyclopian Artists and Mediumistic Drawings to Severed Heads and Anthropomorphic Taxidermy… Riotous Fireworks and the bright lights of an otherworldly Blackpool to the dark recesses of Old Operating Theatres and Clandestine Archives.

Join us for an excursion into the peculiar, the carnivalesque and the macabre….

The Congress for Curious People is a week long festival of spectacular cultures, followed by a two-day symposium, co-curated by Morbid Anatomy, Preserved!, and Strange Attractor.

Founded in 2010 as a scholarly sideshow to the Congress of Curious People – a theatrical celebration of the carnivalesque at the Coney Island Museum in New York – the Congress for Curious People finds itself this year in a series of hidden locales and out-of-the-way venues across the U.K. Presenting talks, screenings, performances and walking tours, the festival will bring together over 40 international contributors specialising in eccentric customs, alternate histories and medical anomalies to explore ideas of spectacle and curiosity in some truly fascinating locales.

A two-day symposium on ‘Reclaiming Spectacle’ will include panels of academics, rogue scholars and artists discussing the intricacies of collecting, the politics of bodily display, non-human oddities, religion and the occult, whilst The Horse Hospital will host ‘Ethel Le Rossignol: A Goodly Company’, an exhibition of stunningly beautiful psychic artworks painted in the 1920s by this previously unknown medium and artist. The Congress will create a forum not only for discussing, but also for experiencing spectacle, combining the niche and the popular, the scholarly and the entertaining.

More information and a full schedule can be found at Curious Congress; please contact us at

Morbid Anatomy


Strange Attractor

This event is co-organised by Petra Lange-Berndt (Preserved!), Department of History of Art, UCL

Kindly supported by the Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust