Impact Fellowship's first workshop
Participants were invited to share ideas about the writing process (including writing as research method) and discuss the ways that different types of writing (creative, academic, environmental, legal, scientific) influence and are influenced by landscape.
The workshop aimed:
to address both criticism and creative writing, various modes of publication, and the reception and effect of writing as well as production
to consider a range of places and spaces under 'landscape and environment' - urban, rural, local, industrial, regional, marginal, transportational, maritime, terrestrial, contemporary, historical – and a repertoire of literary forms and genres, both factual and fictional.
All participants were asked to select texts (and images where appropriate) that could be used to discuss the following four questions. These texts were put together in the workshop anthology (see resources) and used to structure the workshop sessions.
1) In what ways does writing on places, and writing about writing on places, reflect and shape interpretations of landscape and environmental change, both natural and social, for example through vocabularies, genres and forms of narrative, from the biological to the geological?
2) How does a landscape and environment framework affect wider issues about writing, for example the relation of the critical to the creative, the personal to the social, questions of theory and history, power and authority, genre and canon?
3) In what creative ways does writing on landscape and environment creatively interact with other media of representation, the visual, sonic and performative, including multi-media forms like maps and guidebooks?
4) How can writing on landscape and environment contribute to current academic concerns with multi-disciplinarity and public value, and help frame 'impact' in an imaginative and scholarly way?
The group thought that selecting the texts was a useful exercise, but agreed that the texts didn’t work in isolation and needed commentary from the person who had selected them. Some had been a little terrified by the 'big questions' posed ahead of the workshop but in reflection recognised that these were important questions that require thought.
All participants said that there were happy to continue conversations which had covered a phenomenally wide range of issues. Forming this group of scholars interested in landscape and literature had already proved useful. In thinking about being hands-on and creative we have been talking about 'doing', and film was noted as a missing element in the day's discussions. The Landscape and Environment programme has created a new way of talking, perhaps a conversational walk would be the next step?