Contemporary Cultures of Writing

This OU Contemporary Cultures of Writing seminar examines how imaginative writing can further our understanding of climate change. 

For more information on the seminar series, please visit the Contemporary Cultures of Writing website, here. 

Tuesdays, 17:30
Derek Neale (Open University)

Contemporary Cultures of Writing Seminar Series Autumn 2021 - Climate change and creativity 

The scale and speed of the climate crisis inspires differing responses, from denial to despair. How do we respond to an existential threat? It is challenging to find the language and the concepts to encompass its enormity. The facts are there, but the response is piecemeal, and there is no current prospect of the radical change called for by climate scientists. As we approach the UN climate conference COP26 (Glasgow, 1-12 November 2021) these issues need urgent discussion. 

The Open University is running two seminars which will consider the place of creative engagement in eco-aware writing, asking why facts alone aren’t enough to incite change around environmental issues and exploring the kinds of narrative techniques or formal strategies that writers might use.  

Although science may be viewed as a process of discovery, the arts serve as another mode to acquire and interpret knowledge of the world. Different perspectives can help people realize that we are all engaged in a search for understanding the world around us. Scheffer et al. (2015) suggest that a greater alliance with artists and integration with arts education in terms of ways of ‘learning to learn’ could even help stimulate scientific innovation by valuing associative and divergent thinking. 

These seminars explore these ideas and ask whether engaging with the natural world through writing can help avert climate catastrophe. 

These seminars will take place via Zoom. Registration will be open on Eventbrite from September.