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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Literary Dynamics of Place

Ustinov College

The interrelations of literature and place have a long tradition in both literary studies and human geography. Drawing on both disciplinary approaches, this symposium seeks to explore the transformative interactions between literature and place, with a focus on the invention and re-invention of places through all kinds of literary media, from novels to performance poetry.

With this interdisciplinary outlook, the aim will be to consider the multiplicity of dynamics involved in the "text event" (Hones, 2008), in which literature and place may mutually encounter and enact one another. Thus, we intend to consider, on the one hand, the doing and undoing of place through the ability of literature to transfix, translate and transverse, and, on the other hand, the simultaneous ability of places to form and circulate literature as both settings and shapings for texts as well as platforms for performance and transmission. We are seeking to deliberately move away from static, one-directional approaches to the relationship between literary writing and place to focus on the more dynamic aspects of this relationship.  Rather than drawing upon a stable notion of place to consider its impact upon the act of authorship or as literary setting, we are interested in the ways literature and place might unsettle each other, 'authoring' and altering narratives and locations.

The symposium will be followed by a PUBLIC POETRY PERFORMANCE featuring four performance poets from the North East (Poetry Jack, Annie Moir, Adam Fish and Steve Unwin). All welcome.

Kindly supported by Ustinov College, the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham Graduate School, the Department of Geography and the Department of English Studies, Durham University.


Registration for the symposium is now open. If you wish to attend the event, please download the registration form below, fill it in and return an electronic copy to

The deadline for registration is 30 March 2011. As places are limited, we would advise you to register as soon as possible.


For further information, please contact us at

The organising team are:
Emily Ridge, Dept. of English Studies
Elizabeth Richardson, Dept. of Geography
Ann-Marie Einhaus, Dept. of English Studies

Contact for more information about this event.

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