Place Writing: People, Partnerships & Pedagogy; or Impact, Exchange & Policy

Char: David Cooper, Manchester Metropolitan University


David Borthwick, University of Glasgow – Flux Chamber: Translating a Carbon Landscape & Science Communication

Helen Mort, Manchester Metropolitan University – Made in Derbyshire: Laureates & Locality

Samantha Walton, Bath Spa University – Landscaping Change: Place-Based Partnerships & Creative Arts

We are occupying a critical moment in the evolution of our discipline. We must, of necessity, reflect on questions of interdisciplinarity, the prominent ‘impact’ and ‘knowledge exchange’ agendas which UK-HE institutions (and the Research Excellence Framework) increasingly value. At the same time, we must negotiate the increasingly consumerist nature of undergraduate culture and the ‘value’ of our creative and critical projects and procedures. This panel will feed off and back into such debates by exploring the synergies and tensions between reading, writing and making place and places.

Over the past decade, place writing – in a pluralistic range of forms and genres – has played an increasingly prominent role within contemporary literary culture. At the same time, literary geography has developed as an increasingly robust and internationalised field of interdisciplinary enquiry. How, though, can the geo-specific work of creative writers and/or literary critics provide the foundations for partnerships with organisations and communities beyond the academy? To what extent can such partnerships be based on genuine, mutually beneficial, collaboration? By extension, how can such place-focused projects and practices feed back into our work as teachers at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels?

This panel will bring together creative and critical practitioners, from three distinct institutions, to reflect on the possibilities and problems of fostering collaborative partnerships with a range of organisations and individuals outside the HE sector. Crucially, there will be also plenty of time allocated for in-depth discussion between panellists and with the audience.

Wednesday 5th July 12.30