Skip to main content

As part of the programme of events complementing Space Popular: The Portal Galleries, join Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, the design duo behind Space Popular, and bestselling fantasy writer V.E. Schwab for a discussion on portals in popular culture.

The discussion is moderated by Professor Sally Bushell of Lancaster University.

The portal, a door or threshold that grants entrance into another environment, and the desire to travel virtually across time, space and realms, has been a recurring theme in the collective imagination – one that many have explored through fictional narratives. From the wardrobe in Narnia, to Alice’s rabbit hole, and from Doctor Who’s TARDIS to Platform 9 ¾ leading to the Hogwarts Express, characters have embarked through these portals to face challenges in alternate worlds. The panel will consider the portal as a device and how it shapes our understanding of the virtual today.

Lara and Fredrik will share their extensive research in conversation with author V.E. Schwab, whose Darker Shade of Magic series features ‘an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons’, (Publishers Weekly).

This panel discussion will take place via Zoom. You can register to attend here.


Space Popular is a research driven art, design, and media studio that explores the future of spatial experience through virtual reality, film, exhibitions, speculative writing, as well as buildings and objects. The studio is directed by architects Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, both alumni of the Architectural Association in London (2011). They founded the practice in Bangkok (2013) and have been based in London and Spain since 2016. The studio has completed buildings, exhibitions, public artworks, furniture collections, and interiors across Asia and Europe, as well as virtual architecture for the immersive internet.

Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of acclaimed Shades of Magic series and international bestseller, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. She lives in Edinburgh and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters. 

Sally Bushell is Professor of Romantic and Victorian Literature in the Department of English Literature & Creative Writing, Lancaster University. Her primary research interest is in mapping texts in a range of ways (across process; empirically; digitally). She is also interested in digital projects for the mapping of literature. She was PI on the AHRC Funded project Chronotopic Cartographies and co-creator of an educational project using Minecraft to map literary worlds (Litcraft). She has many publications on the topic of literary place and space, but her most recent book is Reading and Mapping: Spatialising The Text (Cambridge, 2020). She has a particular interest in the spaces of children’s literature and movement across and between realist, imagined, remembered and fantastic spaces. 

Event Info

24 Aug 2022


Free to attend (pre-registration essential)

Hosted online, via Zoom