Academic Conference Connected Communities Knowledge Exchange project

LitCom 1 conference programme, 2-3 March, Norwich

Below is the programme for the literature and communities conference. This is the latest event in the programme we organise from UEA for and with Connected Communities. Further information is here

Venue: Writers’ Centre Norwich, Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich         

Thursday 2 March

12:15-13:00                 Registration

13:00-13:15                 Welcome and introduction

13:15-14:00                 1. Keynote address

 Celebrating Reading in Athens

Ava Chalkiadaki, UNESCO World Book Capital, Athens

Chair: George McKay, UEA

14:00-15:30                 2. Community and Place A

Writing ‘home’: madness, health and gender in the work of the female authors of the Greater Moray Firth Issie MacPhail, University of the Highlands and Islands Rural Health and Wellbeing and Jane Verburg, Cromarty History Society

The John Hewitt Society: ‘Once alien here’ Jan Carson, writer and community arts facilitator, and Hilary Copeland, General Manager, The John Hewitt Society

Creative writing and / as community arts practice Lynne Bryan and Belona Greenwood, Words and Women

Community relations and affect in post-industrial townscapes: ‘Merthyr gave me a hug’ Peter Davies, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University

Chair: Jos Smith, UEA

15:30-16:00                 Tea and coffee

16:00-17:30                 Parallel sessions

  1. Poetry and community

Poetry Postie Sally Crabtree, Independent Researcher

“That was England in nineteen eighty four” – non-professional poets (re)write the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike in post-industrial South Yorkshire Ryan Bramley, University of Sheffield

Writing from within/without the LGBTQ Communities Dr Cath Nichols, University of Leeds

Chair: Eleanor Rees, Liverpool Hope University

16:00-17:30                 4. Writing Home – Workshop*

Jane Moss, Independent Researcher

*Places limited. See Workshops for more information.

19:30                           Evening meal for speakers at The Last Wine Bar

Friday 3 March

9:00-9:30                     Tea and coffee

9:30-10:15                   5. Keynote address

The Amazing Push Poem Machine: How Writing Connects Communities Dave Ward, Co-ordinator, The Windows Project

Chair: Eleanor Rees, Liverpool Hope University

10:30-12:30                 6. Digital and Publishing

Small Publishers Fair  Helen Mitchell, Director, Small Publishers Fair

White Water Writers Francesca Baker and Dr Joseph Reddington, White Water Writers

‘Stand out from the crowd!’ Literary advice in online writing communities Bronwen Thomas, Bournemouth University

Connecting communities through digital fiction Isabelle van der Bom, Sheffield Hallam University

Chair: Jane Moss, Independent Researcher 

12:30-13:15                 Lunch

13:15-14:45                 Parallel sessions

  1. Practices and Reading(s)

Spaces of possibility: literary communities in and outside the classroom Tom Sperlinger, Bristol University

Shared reading: creating and connecting communities Susan Jones, University of Nottingham

Mother earth in translation: Exploring the literary geographies and aesthetic borderlands of demiurgical figures in transnational indigenous activism Naomi Millner, Bristol University

Chair: Hugh Escott, Sheffield Hallam University

  1. Life Chances

Life Chances: re-imagining future regulatory systems for low-income families in modern urban settings through co-writing a fictional sociology Debbie Watson, Bristol University, Simon Poulter, Artist, Moestak Hussein and Nathan Evans, Community Partner

*Places limited. See Workshops for more information

14:45-15:15             Tea and coffee

15:15-16:45             9. Community and Place B

Literary pathways in the co-creation and re-presentation of stories by, with and from disadvantaged young people Candice Satchwell, University of Central Lancashire

A Tale of Two Cities Polly Moseley, Liverpool John Moores University

The Gloves of Democracy: Co-Constructing Stories with Children and Young People Hugh Escott, Sheffield Hallam University, and Sarah Christie, Grimm and Co.

Chair: Dave Ward, The Windows Project

Parallel Sessions

Spaces limited – booking will be available at registration

Day 1 16:00 – 17:30

Writing home

Jane Moss, Independent Researcher

This practical writing workshop offers an approach to writing about our personal ideas of home and community; the places and communities we consider our homelands, whether we live in them now, are in exile, or have moved on from them. The session is facilitated by Jane Moss, a writer working in communities in Cornwall. Jane will use the Dear Homeland model established by Steve Potter ( to demonstrate the way writing letters to and from our homelands can give rise to reflection and realisations about our concepts of home and our relationship with the communities in which we live. Jane, with colleagues in Lapidus Cornwall (, has hosted this workshop at the Penzance Literary Festival and other community settings, and is interested in the potential for creative writing to bring people together to enhance community cohesion and a shared sense of story making across diverse communities of interest and place within localities. You will need to bring a pen and paper, and are warmly invited to participate and reflect on the process of writing as an individual practice and as a group experience, and of the role of the writer-facilitator in the community.

Day 2 13:15-14:45

Life Chances

Debbie Watson, Bristol University, Simon Poulter, Artist, Moestak Hussein & Nathan Evans, Community Partner

The middle classes form a buffer between the super-rich and the detached poor. They join in with the finger pointing by proxy through being uninformed about the reality of what’s right in front of us.

Life Chances is a project within the Productive Margins programme. Participants, community organisations, the researchers and artists have together produced a published fictional novel, an interactive game, and jewellery.

The novel combines participant’s characterisations into a collaborative storyline that is both critical of policies and services and provides radical inclusive alternatives from community perspectives. The focus is on welfare provisions and reform and foregrounding how families experience these in their daily lives. Utopian thinking and re-imagining is introduced in order to offer alternative systems of regulation such as benefits, housing, immigration and child protection. Whilst ostensibly a work of fiction, Life Chances is also a rich data source allowing different understandings of people’s lives to be co-constructed in ways that provide people control over the story telling and making. How much of the novel is art and how much social science data collection and how the two disciplines have been utilised, and for what purposes, will be the focus of our presentation.