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Litcom 1

Event date Event time Event location
03/03/2017 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Dragon Hall, 115-123 King Street, Norwich

What is the relationship between literature and communities? This conference aims to take issue with a conception of literature as an individualistic arts practice (solo writer, solo reader), to offer a critical space for those projects and activities that have been engaging with literature, and to co-produce research questions which will inform further events and a planned edited book around the topic.

We wish to consider how literatures emerge from given communities and in turn contribute to their co-creation. Do differing contexts produce distinctive literatures? What is the role of the writer in these communities? Do roles alter at different scales, i.e. local/national/international? Is the act of creative writing itself of value to communities as well as the act of reading? How can the production of literature be thought a negotiation with community?

We take as our beginning the view that all individuals are inextricably interwoven into wider complex communities. How does writing from within and with alter the practice of the literary arts? Yet also is it really possible to even ‘write with’ a community and what shifts in thinking and doing are required to understand more clearly the activity of the writer in a community?

This event is funded by the Connected Communities programme, organised via the University of East Anglia. Although Connected Communities has engaged extensively with community arts practices arguably there has been less exploration of the literary arts in relation to communities.

Get involved

Papers, presentations, panels, readings, and other forms of communication of ideas are encouraged from all academic disciplines, interdisciplines and indisciplines, and from community writers and arts workers and their organisations. Places are limited, but attendance is free. Researchers, practitioners and community partners who have not previously been involved in the Connected Communities programme are also invited to contribute; we anticipate a small number of spaces here.

Subjects for the conference include but are not limited to:

    • The (non)place of literature in Connected Communities
    • Creative writing and / as community arts practice
    • Spoken word and radio / media / online
    • Literature festivals and community
    • Creative writing courses and groups
    • Reading groups
    • Writing place / space / belonging
    • Literature, community, and social justice
    • Writing and exile/diaspora/transnational communities
    • Digital narratives (storytelling, gaming, online collaborations like Storymash or Protagonize)
    • Writers’ communities
    • Small presses, publications, websites
    • Regional literatures / literatures and devolution.

The conference seeks to share ideas and practices from researchers, creative writers and other community artists and workers. We also seek contributions from arts administrators, curators and producers, and funders interested in finding out more about state of the art practice and thinking in the field.

Keynote Speakers:

Ava Chalkiadaki, Vice-Chair, Organisation of Culture, Sports and Youth, City of Athens; member of the Organising Committee, City of Athens World Book Capital 2018

Dave Ward, Co-ordinator, The Windows Project, Liverpool – writing in the community since 1976.

Deadline for contributions

Tuesday 17 January 2017. 200 words max. please about what you want to do. Also include names of presenters/partners (if more than one) as well as brief details about your Connected Communities project, where relevant.


The event is free. For Connected Communities participants, travel and accommodation (UK only) will be arranged and paid for. Some bursaries are available for contributing community partners, postgraduate students and Early Career Researchers.

Further information

Further information regarding the Conference and Programme is available from Rachel Daniel, Connected Communities administrator, r.daniel@uea.ac.uk or telephone 0117 33 14289 and from the programme website: http://connected-communities.org

Queries regarding access may be directed to info@writerscentrenorwich.org.uk or telephone 01603 877177.

Conference Committee

    • Eleanor Rees, Creative Writing, Liverpool Hope University
    • George McKay, AHRC Connected Communities Leadership Fellow, UEA
    • Ross Hair, Lecturer in American Studies, UEA,
    • Jonathan Morley, Programme Director, Norwich Writers’ Centre
    • Simon Popple, Senior Lecturer in Photography and Digital Culture, University of Leeds
    • Jos Smith, Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, UEA
    • Rachel Daniel & Jess Knights, Connected Communities administrators, UEA.

Connected Communities is a Cross-Research Council programme led by AHRC, designed to help us understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the role of communities in sustaining and enhancing our quality of life

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