books

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Location, Location, Location … and Literature

Stories by the City, Stories by the Sea: Locative Literature and Narrative Archaeology

Verity Hunt, 25 Oct 2016, CEIR Seminar Series

Unless you are extremely adept at avoiding news on popular culture, you must have, in one way or another, encountered the mobile sensation that is Pokémon Go. In the past six months this augmented reality phenomenon has launched location-based gaming into the public consciousness. In the first paper in this year’s CEIR series, Dr Verity Hunt began by encouraging us to imagine if our smartphones alerted us to nearby voices from the past, rather than the presence of Pikachus. What if your phone could provide you, for example, with a story about the Victorian world set in the place you are standing, incorporating the archaeological traces of nineteenth-century narratives that permeate the built landscapes of our cities?

This is exactly what a team at the University of Southampton are achieving with the Story Places project, combining story-telling skills with the location-based technology behind Pokémon Go to create interactive historical landscapes. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the project has built a location-aware, storytelling application for smartphones, which supports situated stories interwoven with the places they are read. The team worked with a range of creative writers, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, taking three case study places as way to explore the potential of the application: Southampton Old Town and Docks, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and the Crystal Palace Park in South London. (more…)

Visiting Speaker, 29 Nov 2016: Tom Abba on Ambient Literature

Tom Abba (University of the West of England) will be presenting his paper, ‘The Road to Ambient Literature’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 29 November 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.03, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
2016-03-abbaAmbient Literature—a two year, AHRC funded research project undertaken by UWE Bristol, Bath Spa University and the University of Birmingham, did not suddenly appear fully formed within a funding application. The project, defined as an exploration of situated literary experiences, delivered by pervasive computing platforms, responding to the presence of a reader to deliver story, emerges from a body of work that has sought to address the form of digital texts, grammars of writing for new technologies and interventions into situated literary practice.

Six months into the project, UWE’s Tom Abba will discuss and assess the work that informed the initial development of the Ambient Literature proposal, including Circumstance’s These Pages Fall Like Ash and a Hollow Body, and map out the territory within which Ambient Literature operates. The underlying aim of the research project; the reification of frameworks, grammars and platforms for writing Ambient Literature; informs the commissioning of three new pieces of writing during the programme of work. Alongside these, smaller experiments are being used to work through initial findings and research questions as they arise. Tom will conclude by examining the ways in which the second of these—yesterday you’re still dreaming—worked with specificities of spoken word and situated storytelling to manipulate each reader’s perception of their experience. (more…)

Reminder: Verity Hunt’s paper on locative literature is tomorrow!

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‘Out of my country and myself I go’: Stevenson and Literary Geography

In the sixth of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a second-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

Edward Said writes that ‘none of us is outside or beyond geography; none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography’. The life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson is, perhaps more than most, intimately bound up with his geography. From the ambivalent relationship with his home town of Edinburgh, to his exploration of the conditions and effects of emigration in the New World, to his depictions of transculturation in the contact zones of the Pacific, issues of place and space, and their relation to identity, permeate both his biography and his writing. (more…)

Visting Speaker, 25 Oct 2016: Verity Hunt on Locative Literature

Verity Hunt (University of Southampton) will be presenting her paper, ‘Stories by the City, Stories by the Sea: Locative Literature and Narrative Archaeology’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 25 October 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.03, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
2016-01-huntEvery place has a story, and every story has a place; landscapes are made up of stories over time, layer-upon-layer, like geological strata. StoryPlaces, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores the stories of nineteenth-century places via the emerging digital medium of location-aware narrative. Focussing on location-aware stories of nineteenth-century Southampton Old Town and Docks written by University of Southampton creative writing students, this paper discusses locative literature’s potential to bring overlooked and long-forgotten nineteenth-century stories to the fore of our experience of the twenty-first-century city. Location-aware narrative stands as an innovative new creative medium for consuming our Victorian past; it enriches its readers’ narrative experience by creating interactive historical landscapes. (more…)