Writing for Place in Troubled Times

  • DATE

    25 June 2024

  • TIME

    10:00 am to 4:30 pm


    The Centre for Place Writing & and Leverhulme UNit for the Design of Cities of the Future

Since Place Writing’s reintroduction into popular discourse in the 2010s, a shift has been observed away from traditionally writing of or about place to writing for place. The emergence of this assumed agency by authors has been met equally by the emergence of a political voice. The 2024 postgraduate Place Writing Symposium will channel this political voice in an increasingly unstable world beset by climate crisis and collapsing biodiversity. “Place” as a concept feels uprooted and charged. This feeling is most readily observed in our daily communities – microcosms of the larger populations impacted by displacement, mental and/or physical.

The symposium manifests in direct response to three globally significant and ongoing events. First, following the global COVID-19 pandemic, and more specifically, the consequential lockdowns and isolation experienced, there is a necessity for a reexamination of our relationship with place. Second, in the UK an increasingly unsustainable housing emergency and sharpening climate crisis is contributing to a broader sense of instability among communities. Third, in observation of major conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, a calling to address the constant rise in humanitarian crises has been sounded and is being felt throughout the United Kingdom as migrants struggle to find suitable and safe accommodation.

2024’s Place Writing Symposium will focus on the city of Manchester and its people. Moreover, and in doing so, this interdisciplinary gathering will seek to examine and respond to the debate surrounding the practical applications of creative and academic writing. The guiding themes for the event will be: Community, Retrospection, and Progress. The Centre for Place Writing and the Leverhulme Unit for the Design of Cities of the Future (LUDeC) are well situated for this project based on their guiding agendas to preserve, meditate, and improve upon urban landscapes from an interdisciplinary perspective. Finally, in consideration of the power of writing for, the 2024 Place Writing Symposium poses the broader question: What defines a just approach to place in apparently troubled times?