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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Monday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Sociologies of Writing :: 2B11

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Jen Webb: 

Poetry, Christophe Charle and the problem of literary sociology

Christophe Charle describes the “divorce between the symbolic occupation of writers and the real basis of their social location” as “the main problem of the sociology of literature”. Unlike other professional groups, he argues, writers need have nothing in common except a passion for writing. Charle’s perspective is that of the French social context of a century ago, but there are some parallels to the contemporary Anglophone context. In a recent investigation of contemporary poets in nine Anglophone nations, my co-investigators and I necessarily considered whether it is possible to produce sociological accounts of this community that is not a community, this field that is at best only a sub-field. Who or what constitutes a poet? Is there anything that can be understood in terms of field, in both the constitution of subject as poet, and their operations in the social space? In this paper I discuss the issues we needed to address, particularly the relationship between economic and symbolic identity, and between self-identification and the “judgment of posterity”, as well as the principles of legitimation that operate to attribute value to oral and written/ performance and publication modes of production.

Scott Brook: Narratives of social inertia in the City of Literature

Bourdieu’s references to social inertia has provided a compelling paradigm for exploring the motivations of early career literary writers. Through situating the field of literary production in relation to a broader understanding of the changing relationship between Higher Education and the labour market, it allows research not only to advance beyond both social normative (‘labour of love’) and economistic (‘bad gamblers’) interpretations of artists’ motivations, but also to develop a properly sociological account of non-pecuniary rewards (‘psychic income’) through attention to the conditions that dispose individuals to value them.
     In support of this approach, and in the spirit of the reflexive turn Bourdieu encouraged, this paper considers how narratives of social inertia are produced by the research relation. Drawing on interviews with graduate literary writers in Melbourne, a UNESCO recognised City of Literature, it describes the production of evidence of the social inertia effect in the context of the well-understood advocacy role of most arts sector research, the position-taking of emerging literary writers, as well as the implicit ‘consciousness raising’ agenda of social research.

Antonia Pont: 

Artistic Accompanying and Community Practice

This paper reports on a Melbourne poetry initiative, run across three separate events over six months, involving 18 makers, most of whom were poetry practitioners, two of whom were visual artists of different kinds. The project involved mobilising a practice of "accompanying" another maker in producing new works, (as a variation on the notion of collaboration). Whereas collaboration can bump into questions of 'theft', authorised or otherwise, this project placed emphasis on being in conversation adjacent to the making process, without necessarily making-together. Attempting to engage the listeners at the event differently, various techniques of facilitation were tested in order to smear the line between audience and reader.

Roanna Gonsalves:  

The politics of friendliness in the literary field

The mediatized and globalised literary field opens up numerous possibilities for the democratisation of writing while consequently and simultaneously restricting the resources available to writers to find publishers and to be legitimised in various ways. In attempting to understand how emerging writers create pathways to publication, this paper focusses on the stories of two writers with contrasting publication journeys, based on fieldwork conducted in India from 2011 to 2014. I suggest that in seeking out opportunities to get published, these writers engage in what I call ‘practices of friendliness’ that emerge out of the Bourdieusian sense of interest in disinterestedness that subtends all economies of symbolic goods. This paper is a preliminary attempt to begin to develop a cartography of friendliness, to map this ‘grammar of social capital’, to survey its hierarchical constructions, its entanglements, its politics. In doing so, it hopes to contribute to the discussion about the training of creative writing students in the academy.

avatar for Michael Grenfell

Michael Grenfell

Michael Grenfell has worked at universities in England, Scotland and Ireland and held Chair positions within each. He has an extensive research background on the work of the French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, and has applied this approach to such areas as economics, art, music, education, translation and literature. He has been a visiting scholar at the École des Hautes Études and the Collège de France, Paris. He is on... Read More →


Scott Brook

Associate Professor, Writing, University of Canberra
Scott Brook is Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra where he convenes and teaches 'Research and Practice' and 'Literature and Government'. He is also a member of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research where he is working on two ARC Discovery Projects looking at creative vocations and creative arts graduates in Australia, China and the UK.

Roanna Gonsalves

University of New South Wales
Roanna Gonsalves is an Indian Australian writer and academic. Her series of radio documentaries entitled On the tip of a billion tongues, (Earshot, ABC RN Nov-Dec 2015) is an acerbic socio-political portrayal of contemporary India through its multilingual writers. She received the Prime Minister’s Endeavour Award 2013, and is co-founder co-editor of Southern Crossings. She teaches in the Creative Writing and Media Studies streams at the... Read More →

Antonia Pont

Senior Lecturer, Deakin University
Antonia Pont writes poetry, short fiction and nonfiction, and novel-length prose works. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin, Cordite, Antic Magazine, Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology, Rabbit, TEXT, Gargouille, Axon, as well as international anthologies. She researches ontologies of creativity, practising theory and change, is Senior Lecturer in Writing & Literature at Deakin University... Read More →
avatar for Jen Webb

Jen Webb

Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, University of Canberra
Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. Her work includes scholarly volumes Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus, 2015) and Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (with Caroline Turner; Manchester UP, 2016), and poetry volumes Watching the World (with Paul Hetherington; Blemish Books, 2015) and Stolen Stories, Borrowed... Read More →

Monday November 28, 2016 1:30pm - 2:30pm
2B11 Building 2

Attendees (8)