“Writing with Undisciplined Discipline” environmental humanities workshop
Back in May 2016 a group of environmental humanities researchers from KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment and TEMA Department of Thematic Studies at Linköping University got together over a weekend in Småland to network, brainstorm, and discuss what environmental humanities means to us. That’s when we came up with the idea to discuss and trouble the ways in which we can write and re-write both environmental humanities as an emerging field of research and our own practices of writing, and, more broadly speaking, doing research. The idea took a more concrete shape as we collaboratively applied for a Seed Box, a Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory seed grant to support the organization of a practice-oriented writing workshop for early career researchers working within environmental humanities.
From the very beginning, the goal of “Writing with Undisciplined Discipline: A Writing Workshop with Environmental Humanities” was to undiscipline and de-institutionalise modes and means of research-writing practice through sharing techniques and tools for both playing with words and writing for the joy of it. But how to write Environmental Humanities? How to write in response to the need for new forms of engagement and expression called forth by the often destructive, at times regenerative, complexities of human-non-human entanglements within the anthro/capitalocene? How to support and encourage each other to write differently and sensitively in academia?
On the evening of January 25th, 2017 a group of 25 workshop participants gathered in a town of Lillsved on the island of Värmdö in the Stockholm Archipelago, to discuss the aforementioned questions. The event consisted of 8 sessions and more than 14 activities whose aim was to share techniques for writing, discuss academic practices of collaboration and start a platform for further conversations and intra-activity within and around environmental humanities. The idea that the environment is always unruly and in itself undisciplined calls for methods and praxes of undisciplining the discipline of environmental humanities and our place within it.
Organizers and participants exchanged their roles as workshop facilitators and leaders in what become an inspiring and creative event. The offered workshops opened space for us to creatively approach and address the topics of:
- creative writing techniques. Tullia and Elliot shared a “Loops and flows” writing technique, Max and Vera taught us how to make zines, and Pablo showed us how to use HMTL5.
- collaborative writing and authorship. In their collaborative authorship exercise Jesse and Isabel encouraged us to challenge the idea of individual authorship in academia.
- materiality of writing. From Sarah’s creative “paper workshop," to stone writing with Helena, to mushroomy writing with Hannah, we explored the materiality of writing-together-with our objects and materials.
- embodied writing and self-care. While Laura, Anna and Daniele took us on a multisensorial writing stroll, writing became listening, stomping, breathing, and smelling. Borja prepared an activity which helps to deal with negative emotions that often accompany writing process, be it anxiety, writer’s block, or boredom.
- writing environmental humanities. Thursday morning sessions were held in groups of 4 or 5 people and were devoted to discussions around the previously submitted individual writing samples. In the Friday morning session, Daniel and Anna designed and facilitated an exercise on translating interdisciplinarity from natural sciences discourse to environmental posthumanities, and the other way round, thus encouraging us to look for ways in which to communicate between science and humanities and bridge disciplines.
Thanks to the effort of a team of organisers – Jesse Peterson, Isabel Peres Ramos, Daniele Valisena, Irma Allen, Anna Kaijser, Johan Gärdebo, and Olga Cielemęcka – and the generosity and creativity of the workshop participants this became a truly wonderful event. We firmly believe that this is only a first seed of a bigger network and a first sprout towards many more entangled and undisciplined collaborations!
Many warm thanks to our wonderful participants and workshop facilitators for making this possible: Daniel Andersson, Henrikke Bauman, Elliot Blomqvist, Åsa Callmer, Laura Denning, Helena Hunter, Ilenia Iengo, Sarah Kelly, Hannah Klaubert, Justin Makii, Nuno Marques, Max van Midde, Borja Nogué Algueró, Laura Pearson, Hannah Roberson, Pablo de Soto, Tullia Jack, Vera Weetzel.
Special thanks to Seed Box, a Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory for their generous support of the event.
Images (top to bottom): 1. "Writing with Undisciplined Discipline." Day Two. 2. A cutout manifesto by the Huh-Collective created during a "Collective Authorship / CYOA: Making Writerly Interactions" workshop. 3. Paper as a companion species: Hannah at the "Multidirectional writing" workshop. 4. Justin, Helena and Pablo working on their papers. 5. Brainstorming ideas.
Last updated: Fri Feb 03 10:27:40 CET 2017