Friday, 30 January 2009

Spatial Writing?

Speaking to Donna Daley-Clarke recently about the residency she did at Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol last year, I was struck by a comment she made: about her interest in the processes of construction, and that had she had more time for the residency she would have liked to explore whether she could find her writing process in these construction processes. I am really interested in this – in whether writing in the context of regeneration requires us to think differently about the way we write, and the form we write in. Can there be a spatial writing? Jane Rendell at the Bartlett is doing interesting work in this area, with her project Site-Writing. At a recent lecture she asked “can writing be architecture, rather than just talk about architecture?” There is something here, that I can’t quite get to grips with, something about writing creating rather than just reflecting space and place…

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Glocal Imaginaries

I recently put together a conference abstract for Glocal Imaginaries, a really interesting looking conference which marks the end of the research project Moving Manchester. I’ve been continuing the thinking I started when I wrote a paper for Playing in Urban Spaces at Leeds Metropolitan University in October 2008 (available to download from A Place For Words). Through discussing the idea of writing as an active process that can engender change, I keep returning to the question of how this model – of a powerful writer – intersects with democratic ideas of place and aspirations towards conversation and participation. I keep tying myself up with questions about readers and writers and texts. I think a lot of the work I’m interested in is about how people’s relationship with place can change positively when they engage with it creatively through writing. So where does that leave the text? And who is the reader?

Monday, 19 January 2009

Conversation, collaboration - a network?

I interviewed the poet Linda France about her work with poetry and public art last week. Discussing teaching a module on text and public art at Newcastle University, she talked about how she found the module a valuable forum for discussion and creative debate. She said: “There is no canon, no critique for this work – we are creating it ourselves, and so we have to keep talking. This is a collaborative process which will only move on and grow through conversation.”
Her thoughts echoed my own about the need for collaboration and conversation to realise the potential of working in this field. I am currently thinking about the best way to create a network of interested people from across different disciplines, which can facilitate debate as well as partnerships that will result in specific projects.
I am thinking about programming a ‘trial’ programme of networking events in London, which will be mirrored and supported with some kind of online life/networking/forum opportunity. Any thoughts or suggestions would be gratefully received.