The Green Voices Research Group provides a focus for the study of ‘green culture’, and a forum and catalyst for the discussion of broader ‘green’/ecological issues. Based in the Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts at the University of Worcester, the group brings together researchers in the ‘green humanities’ from media and cultural studies, English, art and design, and drama through events, collaborative projects and publications. It also actively seeks to develop interdisciplinary links with scholars across the University and beyond.
We are particularly keen to engage with individuals and community groups outside the University,and will be hosting or facilitating public events connected with environmental culture. Plans include an inaugural one-day symposium followed by a series of head-to-head talks with prominent green thinkers, book group discussions and film screenings.
The group is led by Dr John Parham, co-editor of the journal Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, which is financially supported by the Universities of Worcester and Bath Spa.
We welcome enquiries from scholars wishing to develop or carry out projects as postgraduate students or post-doctoral researchers, and from groups and organisations wishing to collaborate on green cultural events.
IHCA inaugural annual event and launch of the Green Voices Research Group
Caspar Henderson (The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: a 21st Century Bestiary) and Richard Kerridge (Cold Blood: Adventures with reptiles and amphibians) reading and in conversation, hosted by Dr John Parham
Tuesday 3 June, 6.30pm at the Chapter House, Worcester Cathedral. Doors open 6.15pm
Admission is free and open to all, but places are limited so please make a reservation in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is hosted by the University of Worcester's Green Voices Research Group and is the inaugural Annual Event of the University's Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts. The two authors will read from their recent books and then engage us and each other in conversation. Informal drinks and an opportunity to continue the discussion and purchase signed copies of the books will follow.
Caspar Henderson’s The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary first came out in 2012 and has recently been reissued in paperback by Granta in the UK and Chicago University Press in the US. From Axoloti to Zebrafish, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an invitation to consider real creatures often stranger and more astonishing than anything dreamt of in the pages of a medieval bestiary. Ranging from the depths of the ocean to the most arid corners of the earth, it captures the beauty and bizarreness of the many living forms we thought we knew, as well as some we could never have contemplated. In 2013, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings was Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for science books, a Society of Biology award and the British Book Design Awards; a vivid combination of natural history, spiritual primer and philosophical meditation, James Guida in the Page-Turner blog of The New Yorker describes it as being “about earth’s adventure as whole…much of the news is abysmally sad. Should one be completely frank and insistent about this great tragedy, keep stressing the dimensions of what is being undone? Or will bright facts about the animal world, working indirectly, better aid the cause of action? Wisely, Henderson combines approaches. In that regard, he’s a bit like the honey badger which “flourishes due to its insane strength and tenacity but also thanks to a fellow hive-seeking partner: a small bird, who lightly leads the way.” Caspar Henderson is the recipient of a Jerwood Award from the Society of Literature and a Roger Deakin Award from the Society of Authors. He has been a journalist and editor for BBC Radio 4, Nature, New Scientist and openDemocracy (amongst others) and is a past recipient of an IUCN-Reuters award for best environmental writing in Western Europe. He lives in Oxford.
Richard Kerridge’s Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians has been published this month by Chatto & Windus, and has already been heralded as “a minor classic…exquisite…shot through with quiet passion” (Sunday Times). As a boy, Richard loved to encounter wild creatures and catch them for his back-garden zoo. In a country without many large animals, newts caught his attention first of all, as the nearest he could get to the African wildlife he watched on television. There were Smooth Newts, mottled like the fighter planes in the comics he read, and the longed-for Great Crested Newt, with its huge golden eye. The gardens of Richard and his reptile-crazed friends filled up with old bath tubs containing lizards, toads, Marsh Frogs, newts, Grass Snakes and, once, an Adder. Besides capturing them, he wanted to understand them. What might it be like to be cold blooded, to sleep through the winter, to shed your skin and taste wafting chemicals on your tongue? Richard has continued to ask these questions during a lifetime of fascinated study. Part natural-history guide to these animals, part passionate nature writing, and part personal story, Cold Blood is an original and perceptive memoir about our relationship with nature. Through close observation, it shows how even the suburbs can seem wild when we get close to these thrilling, weird and uncanny animals. Richard Kerridge received a BBC Wildlife Award for Nature Writing in 1990 and 1991 and is widely internationally respected for over a decade’s research in ecocriticism and writing and environmentalism. His academic life is based at Bath Spa University, where he is course Director for Bath Spa’s MA in Creative Writing.
University of Worcester one day symposium, A Place, A Space, June 2012 http://www.worcester.ac.uk/researchportal/730.htm
2012 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, Composting Culture http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/conference-composting-culture-literature-nature-popular-culture-science.html