Thu 17 August 2017
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Conference Programme


Sunday 13 November  

07.30–08.30 Breakfast 

09.00–10.30 Choice of: 

A8: Falconry (pre-booking essential)

A hawk for a handsaw, a kestrel for a knave, and jesses for handstrings. Birds of prey inspired some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines, but  20thC city dwellers rarely get the chance to see them. This is a unique opportunity to interact with horned owls, kestrels and other majestic birds of prey in the beautiful surroundings of the Stratford Manor Hotel - and, hopefully, to do a spot of writing afterwards. Cash only. Booking essential via our Eventbrite.

B8: a) Creativity, Sensibility and Technique: Escuela de Escritores Master Course in Narrative – Javier Sagarna

Escuela de Escritores Master course in Narrative is a programme of 576 hours of classes (876 counting project hours). It focuses on the three abilities we identify as critical for our students as writers: creativity, sensibility and literary technique. The course is divided into two years and into theoretical, practical and creativity matters. During the second year of the programme the students write a narrative project (a novel, a book of short stories) and they are led through a complete creative writing process. The results and experiences of six cohorts will be shown.  

b) Hypertext Hotel, Reflexivity and Poststructuralism – Louise Tondeur

This paper explores the connections and overlaps between critical and creative writing, and the implications for pedagogy. It looks at the links between the practice of reflexivity and recent writing about autho-ethnography and practice-based research. As a case study, I focus on Hypertext Hotel, a writing method developed by Robert Coover (1992). Thinking about third year undergraduate and MA level contextual courses, I examine how we can teach both cultural theory and reflexivity through the process of writing, and enable participants to be fully immersed in the theories they are reading about. I will talk briefly about the contextual courses I helped to establish at Roehampton. 

c) Artistic Research and the Call for the Meta-Text – Magnus Eriksson

This paper aims to discuss and analyze different metatextual approaches to artistic research, varying from the dual text/metatext relation to the self-reflective work of research where the metatextual level is inherent. It takes form through a process of speculative and theoretical transformations from the primary, artistic text.

C8: Swimming Against the Tide: Bringing creativity back into the classroom – Shelagh Weeks, Emma Beynon

Shelagh Weeks and Emma Beynon are developing a toolkit to support writers who are not teachers and teachers who may not be writers – both in schools and the community. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to explore and contribute to the development of this online resource. The workshop will consider how writing changes according to context: at postgraduate level, in schools and the community. Discussion will include: giving space for the equivocal and imaginative, managing writers who don’t want to sit down, and supporting writers too nervous to start. Participants will have the opportunity to do a short piece of writing and discuss the logistics of running their own workshops.

D8: a) Representing Consciousness: The problems and possibilities of exploring neurological fiction in the HE workshop – Naomi Kruger

From Asperger’s to dementia, the publishing world has seen a marked trend towards neurological perspectives in recent years. As a Creative Writing lecturer I have also observed an increasing amount of student fiction that attempts to represent different forms of mental illness, cognitive impairment and developmental disability. This paper will draw on my research as I develop an advanced fiction module entitled ‘Representing Consciousness’. I will examine some of the problems and possibilities of engaging with this subject in undergraduate workshops and explore some practical ways to encourage experiment but also acknowledge the ethical challenges that surround these kinds of representations. 

b) Creativity and the Chemo Brain – Susmita Bhattacharya

Does induced cognitive impairment, or chemo brain, affect the creative flow? A personal journey into the bowels of cancer treatment has allowed me to explore this condition; developing workshops for cancer survivors at the Plymouth hospital Macmillan Centre then enabled me to meet others with the same condition and regain my confidence in writing and teaching. This paper, a version of which was first published in Mslexia, June 2016, explores how writers and artists cope with this form of writers’ block and the methods they undertake to overcome their problems with creativity.

c) Writing: Trust and Process – Monica Suswin

Exploratory and personal writing has absorbed me for many years, taking me on an exhilarating adventure into creativity and healing. I’ve wholeheartedly learnt to trust all the processes involved as writing unfolds and evolves from scribbles to various literary styles. Writing about my own lived experience has been enriching, integrating, full of insights and surprises. But when considering publication – whether blogging or in print – there are ethical challenges: Do I invade my own privacy? I’ll reflect on this journey of implicit trust with readings from my forthcoming book on Creative Therapeutic Writing: A Fox Crossed My Path.

E8: a) Genarrator: Digital Storytelling for All Skill Levels – James Pope

Genarrator is a bespoke online writing, design, and publication package. It enables creative writers of any skill-set to create and publish digital interactive narratives, online, free-of-charge. Genarrator has been created to be easy to use, but as flexible as possible, so that words, images, video, sound, animation and interactivity can all be combined very simply. The evidence of its success is over 300 published narratives made in the first version of Genarrator, and now more than 50 in the 2.0 iteration, launched late 2015. This talk demonstrates Genarrator’s tools and shows some examples of narratives made in HE, schools, and the community.

b) Writing a CV for Shrek: Creative Writing Approaches to Biodata – Deak Kirkham

The minibio (biodata) is a genre used in journalism, academic publishing and the world of work, in which an individual offers a highly condensed personal summary for a particular audience and purpose. This highly adaptable genre has an intrinsically personalized element offering opportunities for self-expression and creativity whilst at the same time developing awareness of genre and purpose, as well as structure. This workshop will explore the use of biodatas before moving on to the practicalities of writing: attendees can expect an engaging, amusing and above all practical experience with wide applicability for the teaching of writing. 

c) Rethinking Online Writing – Anna Kiernan

Writing is shaped by the constraints of the spaces in which it shared. A blog entry, for instance, makes meaning within curated contexts of image, sound and design. And these elements can be combined to create or promote brands (individual or commercial). The best online writing is purposeful, intelligent, original, conversational and authentic. The rule of engagement is to find the story and tell it well. So if you don’t have a story, you won’t ‘do’ social media well. This paper will offer fresh insights into how to draw on creative writing techniques to write more engaging copy for digital contexts.

F8: a) A Place in My Head: Accessing Your Emotions for Writing – Cath Howe

Creative Arts Teacher, Cath Howe, has developed this workshop in schools and with adult groups. Using a series of writing prompts based around simple objects such as a paper cup and plate, you will be encouraged to respond and dig down into your memories of childhood, events, people and places. You will build to a poem and, hopefully, find rich themes for future writing along the way. Suitable for all levels of experience. Come prepared to write and share ideas.  

b) Towards a Safe Space: Collaborative Writing and the Workshop – Lania Knight

This workshop will provide participants with activities for helping writers generate work collaboratively. The goal is to promote a safe environment for risk taking, a necessary step for writers at all stages. By responding to a series of collaborative writing triggers, workshop participants will learn various techniques for establishing a safe space within a newly formed group, as well as ways to shake up members of an existing group, opening them to sharing new work and taking risks with each other and their writing. 

10.30–11.00 Tea/Coffee

11.00–12.15 Choice of: 

B9: Making a Living: Contracts and Rights - Nicola Solomon, Carrie Etter, Celia Brayfield 

How does a writer make a living? Nicola Soloman, General Secretary of the Society of Authors, is joined by poet Carrie Etter and novelist Celia Brayfield to discuss successful career strategies for writers in education, and launch NAWE’s new Code of Practice for writers on casual contracts.

C9: How to Make the Most of Residencies, Festivals and Conferences – Judith Allnatt, Barbara Large

How can you make a writing residency work for your students, your host, the funding organization and yourself? Museums, heritage sites, digital experiments – how do you find residencies and what are the benefits of taking one on, both for your teaching practice and for your own writing? Identifying opportunities, such as mentoring schemes, workshops, festivals, conferences, library talks, competitions, national societies and events that will develop the confidence and experience of writers of all ages, levels of language and experience, and using them advantageously, continues the theme of this session.

D9: Poetry and Rap Creative Writing Workshop – Alan ‘Kurly’ McGeachie

For many pupils the word ‘poetry’ can have the same draining effect on creative energy as Kryptonite does for Superman. For the past 8 years I’ve visited many schools, Pupil Referral Units and youth clubs and successfully engaged and energized pupils to write and perform their own poetry while developing the appreciation of already established poets. By using Rap as a means of conveying the principles of rhyme, rhythm and introducing wider poetic devices such as metaphors and abstract nouns, pupils’ perspectives and experience of poetry become enhanced. The session will demonstrate some of the exercises that can lead to independent writing and performance.  

E9:  Serious Playing and the Sonnet – Pam Thompson

When is a sonnet not a sonnet? What does a sonnet do? What can we do with it as writers? In this workshop we’ll discuss those questions, then look at some sonnets, traditional and contemporary, ranging from Shakespeare to Frank O’ Hara and Geraldine Monk. Working with the idea of form as serious play, we will then ‘re-make’ some of the examples and create others using a variety of prompts including maps, newspaper articles and photos, and techniques such as cut-ups, collage and found text. You don’t have to know anything about sonnets or be a poet to attend. 

F9: Write Out There – Sue Burge, Mike Loveday 

This session allows you to connect and share knowledge with peers working outside of school and university settings: freelance, healthcare/wellbeing, further education, community projects, creative residencies, charities. First we’ll focus on innovative projects you have been involved in outside of schools and universities, including what went well, pitfalls, what you’d do differently. Sharing in small groups, you will finish this activity with fresh, inspiring ideas for new projects you could try. Then you’ll share one current challenge/future goal, for problem-solving in a small group, gaining ideas and advice through brainstorming, informal coaching and knowledge-sharing.

12.15–13.00 Plenary session

Conclusions and NAWE AGM – Seraphima Kennedy, Jonathan Davidson

NAWE’s Programme Director and Chair will enable delegates to raise in public any issues discussed in less formal gatherings throughout the weekend. The formal business of the AGM will include the election of a new Higher Education Committee to serve for the coming three years.

13.00 Close of Conference