The purpose of this conference, entitled ‘Out of the Blue’, is to address the question: what is the role of literature in an era where the manifestations of human-induced climate crisis are a common occurrence? In collaboration with the Association for Literature and the Environment for the UK and Ireland (ASLE-UKI), this event will draw postgraduates, academics, and creative practitioners to the University of Sheffield in order to unravel those narratives which address the ecocatastrophe embedded in our daily lives. Discussions will cover issues of fluidity, permeability, and nourishment in our relationship with the environment and narratives that consider it.
The conference will take place at the University of Sheffield over three days, with the afternoon of the second day dedicated to two trips running in parallel. The first trip will be lead by Dr. Daniel Eltringham, and it will be a walk to the drowned villages of Derwent and Ashopton. The second trip will hopefully involve tree-planting; this is still under discussion with the University of Sheffield’s Estates and Facilities Department. There will be two keynote addresses, on the first and third day, and a careers roundtable on the third day. We plan to run three parallel panels depending on the amount of proposals received. We also plan to run a raffle on the last day in order to raise funds for two postgraduate bursaries which will be awarded at the next post-graduate conference to the best proposals from students with no additional funding means.
In the light of current social distancing measures relating to COVID-19, we have looked into the possibility of running the conference online and have set a deadline of July 31st to make this decision based on the measures still in place at that time. In this case, of course, costs will be significantly lower. However, given the amount of time before the conference is planned to take place, it is likely that social distancing measures will have been relaxed by then and perhaps only small changes will be necessary. These may include international travel restrictions, in which case we will look into the possibility of making all papers available electronically so that anyone planning to attend from abroad can still access the full timetable. One of our keynote speakers is based outside the UK, so in the unlikely event travel restrictions affect their ability to attend in person, we will arrange for their paper to be given via video link. Based on recent experience attending an online conference, we would use Microsoft Teams to facilitate this as it allows for high quality video/audio and also for real-time Q&As following talks.
Daniel Bowman, School of English, University of Sheffield
Other student organisers
Veronica Fibisan, University of Sheffield Rosamund Portus, University of York Katerina Liontau, University of Leeds Ashley Bullen-Cutting, University of Sheffield