Launch of Centre to Promote International Writing
Lancaster University's new Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research is being launched this month to create a centre of excellence for writers and literature from across the world.
The Centre (CTWR) will link an international community of postgraduate students in creative writing and create a worldwide academic community, linking research to writing practice.
The Centre will also raise the profile of existing cross-cultural projects such as Crossing Borders – which linked African writers with UK mentors, Radiophonics – which produced podcasts of short stories from Uganda, Trans-Scriptions – which focuses on postcolonial writing, and Moving Manchester – which researches and promotes writing from the city influenced by migration.
The Centre will exist in a tailor-made virtual environment to facilitate distance e-learning and showcase creative work, with links to writers’ galleries, podcasts, web publishing and user forums.
Dr Graham Mort, senior lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing, is to be the first director of the Centre.
He said: “The Centre will be a cultural crossroads of the information superhighway, a meeting place for writers from across the world. It’s a new location for Lancaster which isn’t rooted in geography but in cyberspace, so it can be accessed by anyone in the world.
“This is a way of overcoming Lancaster’s geographical remoteness by creating a greater sense of cultural diversity and engaging with different cultural values.
“People are beginning to see us as a university interested in bringing together writers and researchers from diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds and we’ve had a significant number of postgraduate enquiries from Africa, Asia, the US and Europe - all from prospective students who’ve found our website. The Centre will give a higher profile to our teaching and research and build upon this enthusiasm.”
Other activities include plans to create a new international writing residency and new Creative Writing e-learning postgraduate scholarships for African students. There are also plans to pursue international collaborations with the British Council, the University of Pretoria, University of Makerere in Uganda and a consortium of six Swedish universities.
The Centre will be inaugurated at a Transcultural Writing Open Day at the Institute for Advanced Studies on May 31st where there will be a reading from critic, poet and novelist David Dabydeen.
There will also be photography, artwork, Ugandan radio broadcasts, interactive African internet fora and screenings of the films Tsotsi and A Taste of Honey.
A full programme is available online at www.transculturalwriting.com