Leaves are Alive

When: — 
Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

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Taking inspiration from Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, this interactive workshop considers our connection to trees.

Taking inspiration from Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, this workshop considers our connection to trees. Sitting in Woolf's former home surrounded by Gordon Square's impressive plane trees, we will explore what kind of humanarboreal relations can be forged through literary, visual, audio-visual, and acoustic representation. We will handle small sections of the 4,800-year-old "Fenland bog oak" used to create a table for the Diamond Jubilee to inspire and prompt discussion. Come prepared to reflect on your own relationship with trees and help produce a collective creative piece by the end of the session.

Mike Bintley is Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval Literature and Culture at Birkbeck. He wrote Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England (2015), and co-edited Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World (2013) and the forthcoming collection The Surrounding Forest: Tree as Symbol and Metaphor at the Time of the European Middle Ages. He is currently working on an anthology of translations drawing together plant life and trees in the Old English poetic corpus, entitled Treow Forms: An Anthology of Trees and Plant Life in the Earliest English Poetry.

Shani Cadwallender is a poet, teacher, Associate Tutor and part-time CHASE funded PhD student at Birkbeck. Her creative-critical doctoral project, 'Trees Revisited', considers ecological approaches to undisciplining Victorian Studies and the relationship between trees and poetry. She has been published by Dreich Press, Wildfire Words, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Nutmeg magazine and others.

Caroline Edwards is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, where she is Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature. She is author of Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2019), co-editor of China Mieville: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015) and Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to British Utopian Literature and Culture, 1945-2020 (forthcoming). Caroline is currently writing her second monograph, Hopeful Inhumanism: The Elemental Aesthetics of Ecocatastrophe, which examines hopeful moments of inhuman collaboration within the elemental contexts of the lithic, the mycological, the arboreal, and the hydrological.

Matt Mead is a furniture maker and writer, working at the intersections of craft, cultural history, and phenomenology. His writing has appeared in Cabinet, Hinterland, Photography and Culture and elsewhere. In 2010, he completed a PhD in Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. He currently works at Jan Hendzel Studio, which focuses on producing expressive furniture from sustainable and reclaimed British timbers. He lives in London and can be found @other_objects.

Featured image by Lex Melony on Unsplash.


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