The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and to mark a new chapter, founder and House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse is stepping down from the role of Executive Director to welcome film scholar, FrightFest programmer and ScreenAnarchy Contributing Editor Dr. Shelagh Rowan-Legg to take her place at the helm of the world’s longest-running horror school.

“To call Kier-La Janisse irreplaceable is an understatement, says Board member and genre film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (whose most recent publication is the encyclopedic 1000 Women of Horror), “and her enormous donation not just to Miskatonic as its founder and driving force for over a decade stands next to a seemingly endless list of achievements that have fundamentally reshaped how so very many of us critically engage with horror, be it as fans, critics or scholars.”

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies began as a one-off workshop for teens in Winnipeg, Canada in March of 2010, and first established regular classes on horror history, theory and production at the now-defunct microcinema Blue Sunshine in Montreal. Since then it has expanded to branches in London, New York and Los Angeles, and will offer its first online classes starting this fall. Dr. Rowan-Legg’s many years as a film critic, programmer and festival organizer specializing in genre film make her “a custom-fit to continue the work with Miskatonic that Janisse began,” Heller-Nicholas continues, “and in her very capable hands I have no doubt it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

“Shelagh is one of the most insightful and thoughtful people I know in our film community,” adds Board member, actor and producer Barbara Crampton. “Her understanding and knowledge of literary studies puts her at the forefront of understanding what Miskatonic is all about and where it can go in the future. I am so thrilled to welcome Shelagh Rowan-Legg and I look forward to her taking us on a forward journey into the deep and dark unknowable future of the fantastic!”

“As a long-time admirer and attendee of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, I am delighted to come on board as the new Executive Director,” says Dr. Rowan-Legg. “There are so many stories to be told and ideas to be investigated about horror in culture, from the popular to the obscure. I’m excited to work with the branch directors on new lectures and courses, and expand the Institute’s online and global presence.”

As Executive Director, Dr. Rowan-Legg will oversee all operations of the Institute, will work with the Advisory Board and its various committees on policy and branding, and will guide the programming mandate to be carried out by the co-directors in each of the three branches. She will run the Institute in concert with Janisse for the fall 2020 semester – whose completely online program will be announced in the coming weeks – with the official handover occurring in time for the spring 2021 semester.

Miskatonic is also pleased to announce that Ashlee Blackwell, co-writer and producer of the acclaimed Shudder Original documentary Horror Noire and founder of the popular genre film website Graveyard Shift Sisters is also joining the Advisory Board in time for our fall semester. Ashlee will sit on the Academic Committee, which advises on the school’s educational policies and vision, and supports the programming activities of the various branch directors.


For more information, including interview requests, please contact miskatonicinstitute@gmail.com
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REMINDER: Our archival class THE SHADOW OVER LOVECRAFT: INTERROGATING H.P. LOVECRAFT’S RACISM, a conversation featuring Lovecraft scholar Peter H. Cannon and authors Matt Ruff (Lovecraft Country), Victor LaValle (The Ballad of Black Tom) and Ruthanna Emrys (THE INNSMOUTH LEGACY series) that took place at Miskatonic NYC in April 2019, goes live at vimeo.com/ondemand/shadowoverlovecraft Thursday June 20 at 12 Noon Pacific.

This class is behind a paywall for a limited time, from August 20, 2020 – September 20, 2020. 70% of proceeds from purchase or rental of this class during this period will be donated to Black Lives Matter charities.