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The Scottish Maritime Museum will host an afternoon of talks on maritime folklore, myths and monsters on Saturday 20 August as part of the award-winning attraction’s summer blockbuster exhibition ‘Sea Monsters!’.
3pm – 4pm Saturday 27 August
Scottish Maritime Museum, Harbour Road, Irvine

During the ‘Voices from the Deep’ event, researchers Shelby Judge and Adam Flynn will introduce guests to some of the weird, wonderful and eerie sea monsters ‘spotted’ in Scotland, Denmark, Greece and Japan since the Middle Ages.

Talking at the Museum on Irvine Harbourside, Shelby will discuss selkies, kelpies and the Loch Ness Monster of Scottish folklore before journeying afield to the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis of Greek myth and the Umibōzu of Japanese myth. Pondering what these sea monsters symbolise, Shelby will look at the cultures and anxieties of the people who told these myths.

Adam will step back in time to 1546 when the half-human, half-fish ‘Sea Monk’ ‘raised its head’ off the coast of Denmark. Bearing a humanoid head, scaled body in the shape of a monastic habit and a large pair of tentacles in place of arms, the ‘Sea Monk’ featured across naturalist books, medical treatises and popular ‘broadsides’ or posters. Adam will end with some tentative answers to the complex question of what reality – if any – lay behind this strange being.

The talks will each run for 20 minutes followed by a Q&A.

Shelby Judge completed her PhD in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis titled “Contemporary Feminist Adaptations of Greek Myth”, looks at the current trend of women writers retelling Greek myths and what this illuminates about current concerns within feminism. Shelby is interested in feminist and queer theory and contemporary British and North American women’s fiction. She has published articles on the literature of Ali Smith, Jennifer Saint, and Carol Ann Duffy. She has publications forthcoming on the instapoetry of Nikita Gill, #MeToo and the Trojan War, and Margaret Atwood’s anthology ‘Dearly’.  She also runs a research-related blog: TheShelbiad.blogspot.com. You can find her on Twitter @judgeyxo and Instagram @shelbyjudge

Adam Flynn recently received a PhD in History of Art from the University of Glasgow. His doctoral thesis addressed the paradoxical realism of monsters in early modern printed images. He has delivered a public talk on the concept of monstrosity in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe at the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, and held research positions at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life and Glasgow University Special Collections.

Bilyana Palankasova, Exhibition and Events Officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum, explains:

“We’re thrilled to offer visitors this really thought-provoking afternoon with Shelby and Adam.
“We look forward to hearing them share their fascinating and informed understanding of sea monsters and discuss some intriguing ideas about what these mysteries of the deep say about different cultures and our human anxieties.
“With Voices of the Deep, our new film season and exhibition and all our related ‘Come and Sea Us’ children’s activities, visitors can take a fabulous deep dive into the amazing world of sea monsters this summer with lots of fun and learning along the way!”

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s ‘Sea Monsters!’ exhibition celebrates the fantastical and mythical sea creatures of Scottish legend and maritime mythology across the world.

The Museum’s first ever movie season will give visitors the chance to experience the magic of some of the best loved sea and sea monster movies within the stunning setting of the vast and atmospheric Victorian Linthouse.

The six screenings – ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘20,000 Leagues under the Sea’, ‘Splash!’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’, ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Luca’ – will run every second Sunday from 14 August until the end of the ‘Sea Monsters!’ exhibition on 31 October.

The Museum’s ‘Come and Sea Us’ event programme and film season have been made possible by the support of the Museum and Galleries Scotland (MGS) Museums Recovery Fund.

Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and offers strategic development support to the sector. For further information about Museums Galleries Scotland visit www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/about-us/

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