Topic Ecological Grief
(Monday) 16:15 - 17:45(GMT+00:00) View in my time
Joanna Lilley: Hearing Voices: words of extinction WORKSHOP Hearing voices: words of extinction A workshop with Joanna Lilley Is there a way
Joanna Lilley: Hearing Voices: words of extinction
Hearing voices: words of extinction A workshop with Joanna Lilley Is there a way to hear the voices of extinct species and put them on the page? Do you wonder what our fellow creatures would say if we were all able to communicate in the same language? Come to this workshop and bring with you a nonhuman guest of your choice from any eon who no longer exists. Sit, crouch, lie or hover beside them and listen to what they have to say, whether whisper or bellow. Test each of your senses to connect with beings with whom we once shared the planet or who preceded our existence – and perhaps even tune into elements of your own existence you’ve never had a chance to fully explore. Beginners and experienced writers and word artists are all welcome. As part of this workshop, Joanna will share a selection of poems to illustrate some of the approaches she took to connecting with extinct animals for her 2020 poetry collection, Endlings from imagining what the dusty bones of a dodo in a museum might say and perceiving a great auk subculture to reporting on the story of how the very last Labrador duck was shot and travelling back to a planet on which Homo sapiens had yet to exist.
While I am personally a page writer I encourage word artists of all kinds to take part.
Speakers for this event
I'm greatly preoccupied by how we live alongside our fellow species in this world as well as those who no longer exist in body. While I try to bear witness I have never been able to work out how to deal with the harm that humans inflict on nonhuman animals. I am also very mindful that humans are a recent development in evolutionary terms and yearn to be able to connect with, honour and learn from species who existed long before we did. I'm also very passionate about sharing the joy of words with other readers and writers and love giving workshops and connecting in that way. I'm wondering if my response to this question in an interview I gave with my publisher might be helpful int he context of the borrowed-time initiative and my experience with loss and grief: 1. This collection must have been very difficult to write, given the heartbreaking nature of extinction and the knowledge that humans have played a direct role in the loss of so many species. What strategies did you use to cope with the feelings that resulted from writing this collection? Yes, it was a difficult collection to write but it also felt necessary to write it. It helped me delve into and examine my lifelong worry about animals. I’ve never understood why as a species we are capable of causing other animals so much suffering or why so many people forget we are animals too. So in a sense the collection itself was a strategy for creating something out of all that concern and preoccupation, as well as dealing with the knowledge that humans have caused demise of so many species. My intention in writing Endlings was very much to honour, acknowledge and celebrate animals that are no longer with us. It sounds fanciful and even grandiose, I know, but I wanted to somehow connect with them across history and try to listen to their voices and translate what they were saying into human language. It was a heartbreaking project but it became such a privilege to spend time with each creature and learn about them and try to imagine what their lives and consciousness were like. There was perhaps an unintended strategy at play as well. I didn’t of course know it would happen but while I was writing the poems in Endlings I went through four bereavements as well as almost losing my father. My dog died, then seven months after that my sister, then seven months after that my mother, then five months after that my cat. I know it might not seem right to some people to include a dog and a cat in same list as a sister and mother and part of me wants to justify that by pointing out that I don’t have children. But regardless of differing opinions about what a proper hierarchy of grief should be, losing my animal friends broke my heart. All this accumulated, personal loss became, I think, an underlying emotion or undercurrent in the collection, even though my original, impossible wish was to try to step out of human experience and let the animals speak for themselves. (The above interview is at: https://www.turnstonepress.com/bird-on-a-wire/quatrain-questions-with-joanna-lilley.html) I'll also include my more formal biography in case that's of interest: Author Joanna Lilley’s latest collection of poetry, Endlings, is all about extinction and was published in 2020 by Turnstone Press in Canada. Joanna’s other poetry collections are If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press) and The Fleece Era (Brick Books) which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She’s also the author of a novel, Worry Stones (Ronsdale Press), which was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award, and a short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna has given readings all across Canada and in the US and the UK and has delivered workshops as far afield as Alaska and Iceland. Her essay, ‘Do We Have the Right to Write About Animals’, was published in Writing for Animals (Ashland Creek Press) in the US in 2018. She has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and is a Humber School for Writers graduate. Joanna is from Britain and moved to Canada in 2006, 15 years after cycling alone across the country from Nova Scotia to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she co-founded the Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink, and is grateful to reside on the Traditional Territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council.
01nov17:1517:45A Corcoran: Creatively commemorating and reasserting the natural world17:15 - 17:45(GMT+00:00) View in my timeSession (Hopin)Event type:PresentationTopic:Ecological GriefSession ID: :Session 4A
(Monday) 18:00 - 18:40(GMT+00:00) View in my time
Borrowed Time Co-convenor Mat Osmond in conversation with Jennifer Abbott, Director of The Magnitude of All Things. We have made available to all delegates a
Borrowed Time Co-convenor Mat Osmond in conversation with Jennifer Abbott, Director of The Magnitude of All Things.
We have made available to all delegates a private screening of Jennifer Abbott’s acclaimed film The Magnitude of All Things. Here Ms Abbott is in conversation with Mat Osmond. You are invited to view the film at any time (but preferably before this session) from the beginning of the symposium until the end of Day 2 (Monday November 1). After that the film will no longer be available for viewing but can be seen at numerous festivals and special venues around the world.
When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. Abbott’s new documentary The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
This cinematic journey by the Sundance award-winning director (The Corporation) takes us around the world to witness a planet in crisis: from Australia’s catastrophic fires and dying Great Barrier Reef, to the island nation of Kiribati, drowned by rising sea levels. In Nunatsiavut, melting ice permanently alters the landscape, while in the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous people fight a desperate battle against oil and mining extraction.
For the people featured, climate change is not happening in the distant future; it is kicking down the front door, flooding homes, poisoning water and destroying communities. The connection between humanity and the environment is stated plainly by Australia’s Wonnarua Traditional Custodians: “If this land hurts, we hurt.”
Like ash from a distant fire, grief on this scale touches everything. But coming to terms with the brutal reality of climate breakdown requires more than empty words and gestures. When hope is lost, the real work begins. Members of Extinction Rebellion protest in the streets, risking arrest. Greta Thunberg’s school strike grows from a solitary vigil to a mass movement. The Sápara, Wonnarua and Nunatsiavut land defenders hold the line in a life and death struggle. Facing her own mortality, Jennifer’s sister offers another kind of answer: “Just a simple, quiet openness to all that is.” Battles waged, lamentations of loss, and raw testimony coalesce into an extraordinary tapestry, woven together with raw emotion and staggering beauty that transform darkness into light, grief into action.
The URL for viewing the film will be released to all delegates at 15.00GMT on Sunday, October 31.
Speakers for this event
Flying Eye Productions
Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning filmmaker who has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years. She is best known as the co-director and editor of The Corporation, frequently described as the most successful documentary in Canadian history. She also co-directed, co-wrote and edited Us & Them; co-wrote and edited Sea Blind; executive produced and edited I Am; and made the short Brave New Minds, among other films. In 2020, Abbott will release two feature documentaries: The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (co-director and supervising editor) and The Magnitude of All Things (writer, director, editor, sound design and co-producer).
Flying Eye Productions
Mat’s a writer and visual artist with an interest in the arts’ role in helping us to understand and confront the dominant culture’s radical unsustainability. His recent work includes an ongoing series of illustrated poetry chapbooks, Strandline Books (which won the British Museum’s 2015 Michael Marks Prize for poetry illustration), as well as image-word collaborations with the poet Em Strang (Stone, 2016) and the painter Kate Walters (The Black Madonna’s Song, 2020). Mat regularly publishes essays that speak to entanglements of art, ecology and spirit within arts practice, including The Schoolgirl & The Drunkard, on storytelling and runaway climate change, An Underswell of Divination, on the illustrational collaborations between Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin, and Black Light, on mass-extinction, regenerative culture and the rewilding of prayer. As part of Falmouth University’s Dark Economies research group, in 2019 Mat curated Negotiating the Surrender, a regional series of talks and workshops with Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine, in support of the regenerative work of the Extinction Rebellion movement. In 2017 Mat led a residential Art.Earth Short Course with the poet Alyson Hallett, Intimate Ecologies, which experimented with writing, drawing and improvised ritual as a means to enter into a reciprocal conversation with place. Mat’s a director of the graphic literature publisher Atlantic Press and of the Art.Earth research collective based at Dartington, where he’s currently leading a year-long series of events on the theme of Death, Dying & Change. Having regularly published his own illustration, poetry and essays with the Dark Mountain Project since its inception, in 2017 Mat acted as art editor for Issue 11 of their Dark Mountain Journal and as guest editor for In Other Tongues: a series of essays flowing out of the Art.Earth summit of the same name.