Writing and Environments
Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr James Wilkes
Overall aims and purpose
This module will explore creative responses to wilderness, the non-human and environmental challenges, drawing on a range of ecological writings including creative non-fiction, novels and poetry. Literary relationships with landscape and the non-human world will be explored in relation to issues of race, gender and global justice as well as the context of climate crisis and emerging understandings of wellbeing. Building on students' previous experience in creative this module will allow them to develop work around specific ecological themes, while gaining insight into contemporary ecocriticism. Through seminars and workshops they will experiment with different approaches to writing about place, environment and the non-human world. There will be opportunities to discover some of the ecological research taking place in Bangor University, and to draw on it creatively. The module will include writing outdoors, making the most of Bangor's unique location.
Topics studied may include:
New nature writing Wilderness/wildness in place and language Ecopoetics Posthuman identities Recycling as a model for writing Psychogeography Narrative structures and more-than-human perspectives Communicating scientific research Site-specific writing
B- to B+ (60-69%) A 2(i) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities: Demonstration of a degree of vitality and originality. Very good understanding of generic conventions; sound use of structures and forms. Resourceful use of language. Sound understanding of the creative process and thoughtful control of decisions made in writing.
C- to C+
C- to C+ (50-59%) A 2(ii) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities: Some attempt at serious exploration of ideas. Some link between themes and form. Good attempt to engage with form, but this may not be entirely sustained. Use of language technically proficient, but not always focused. Some awareness of the creative process and of decisions made in writing.
A- to A* (70%+) Typically, the work of a first class candidate will show many of the following qualities: Excellent levels of originality, vision and depth; striking and thorough engagement with ideas. Excellent understanding and control of form. Impressive linguistic control and/or innovation. Sophisticated understanding of the creative process and assured control of decisions made in writing.
D- to D+ (40-49%) A 3rd class candidate’s work will show many of the following features: Limited engagement with ideas. Link between themes and form not always clear. Limited sense of formal conventions. Inconsistent with regard to linguistic technicalities. Limited awareness of redrafting and editing process.
Demonstrate the ability to generate, develop and critically reflect upon original creative work in response to environmental and ecological themes.
Critique ways in which literature responds to ecological thought, including its intersections with gender, race and issues of global justice.
Synthesise creative, critical and theoretical approaches to ecological challenges.
Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of how writing in a range of forms can explore complex relationships between humans and environments.
Analyse a range of contemporary nature writing in the context of a writerly practice.
Creative writing on an ecological theme, with commentary
Essay on literature and ecology
Teaching and Learning Strategy
A two-hour session focused on group discussion
Students will be set regular structured tasks to carry out alone or in groups.
'Students will be set group tasks based on group discussion of reading or local site-specific activities.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
i produce clear, accurate, artistically coherent and technically sophisticated written work, which articulates a combination of research and creative ideas
ii communicate orally and through the written word concrete ideas and abstract concepts
iii read as a writer - with an ability to analyse texts, performances and broadcasts, and respond to the affective power of language, using appropriate approaches, terminology and creative strategies
iv use language in a sophisticated and nuanced fashion, with a heightened awareness of concision, voice, idiom, idiolect, simile, metaphor, analogy, rhythm and media-specific restraints
v use reflective strategies to help capture and synthesize personal experiences and other research in an imaginative form
vi apply a well developed aesthetic sensibility and sense of intellectual inquiry
vii employ an imaginative and divergent mode of thinking which is integral to identifying and solving problems, to the making of critical and reflective judgements, to the generation of alternatives and new ideas, and to engaging with broader issues of value
viii edit their own work, and that of peers, with a high level of rigour and scrutiny, at the various levels of clause, line, sentence, stanza, paragraph but also at the structural level of overall scene, chapter, collection, book
ix apply scholarly bibliographic skills when and where necessary
x use the views of others in the development and enhancement of practice; formulate considered practical responses to the critical judgements of others, while developing a generous yet rigorous critical scrutiny in peer review and workshop activities
xi view themselves as practitioners and reflect critically on their own creative writing practice
xii conduct independent research including that which is practice based
Resource implications for students
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/qxp-3012.html
Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman (Cambridge: Polity, 2013)
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Hello, The Roses (New York: New Directions, 2013).
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Swims (London: Penned in the Margins, 2017).
Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016).
Ken Hiltner, Ecocriticism: the essential reader (London: Routledge, 2015).
Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (New York: Graywolf Press, 2017).
Amy Liptrot, The Outrun (Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2016).
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk (London: Random House, 2014).
Robert Macfarlane, Underland: A Deep Time Journey (London: Penguin, 2019).
Richard Powers, The Overstory (New York: W.W. Norton, 2018).
R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (Rochester VT: Destiny Books, 1994).
Jos Smith, The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018).
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- 2P78: BA English Lit with Creative Writing with International Exp year 4 (BA/ECI)
- 2P17: BA English Literature and Creative Writing year 3 (BA/ENCW)
- 2D13: BA English Literature with Creative Writing year 3 (BA/ENGLC)
- R1W8: BA French with Creative Writing year 4 (BA/FRCW)
- R2W8: BA German with Creative Writing year 4 (BA/GERCW)
- 8M74: BA Spanish with Creative Writing (with International Exp) year 3 (BA/SCIE)
- R4W8: BA Spanish with Creative Writing year 4 (BA/SPCW)
- Q2W9: MArts English Literature with Creative Writing year 3 (MARTS/ELCW)
Optional in courses:
- W890: BA Creative&Professional Writing year 3 (BA/CPW)
- WP83: BA Media Studies & Creative Wrtng year 3 (BA/CWMS)
- 8G55: BA English Language with Creative Writing (with Int Exp) year 4 (BA/ELCIE)
- Q3WL: BA Eng Lang with Creat Writ year 3 (BA/ELCW)
- P3W8: BA Film Studies and Creative Writing year 3 (BA/FSCW)
- WW38: BA Music and Creative Writing year 3 (BA/MUSCW)