This Is Our Place – a callout for writers to lead a nature writing project in London

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This Is Our Place: A callout for lead writers

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Update 18 March 2020: We are sorry to announce that Spread the Word and London Wildlife Trust have decided to postpone our This Is Our Place nature writing project for a year. We are truly sorry to do this, but this decision has been made to ensure the health and wellbeing of all potential project participants and writers. We considered alternative approaches – postponing to alternative as yet unknown dates in the Autumn or moving the project online, and we didn’t feel either approach is right.

The project is about connecting with nature, each other and words. We are hopeful that by postponing for a year, we will be offering something out for people who will enjoy and need it more than ever. The project funders have been informed and are supportive of this decision. We are sorry to everyone who was looking forward to the project, and grateful for your understanding. Project updates will take place on Spread the Word and London Wildlife Trust website and social media channels. Any writers who have applied for the role of writer in residence will be eligible for the role next year.

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“Not everything in the forest is lovely and not all nature writing is to the taste of every reader. But more voices need to be heard from ethnic-minority writers and from a wider range of identities and backgrounds.” – Robert Macfarlane, the New Statesman

Spread the Word, in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust, are running This Is Our Place; a nature writing project celebrating London’s wildlife, nature and the diverse communities of the city through words. This Is Our Place exists to reimagine how we live in London and reflect on our individual and collective relationship to nature and place.   We want to see nature writing being created and read by a multiplicity of people, reflective of the backgrounds of the citizens of our great city.

Nature writing (poetry, nonfiction or fiction about the natural environment) is a powerful way of connecting people to the natural environment via creative self-reflection, mindfulness, and imagination. It opens up the conversation and supports the exploration key themes such as climate emergency, healing and spirituality.

There is currently a bias towards publishing white, middle-class nature writers. London, as one of the world’s most vibrant and green capital cities (47% green), is the perfect setting to address this imbalance of voices, engage local communities with nature writing and connect people to their local green spaces.

This Is Our Place is funded by the Emergence Foundation.

What is This Is Our Place? 

This Is Our Place is a project that will open up space for Londoners to write about nature. People can get involved by:

  • Attending one of 8 free nature writing workshops in June 2020;

  • Attending one of 2 free nature writing walks in June 2020;

  • Those who have attended a workshop are encouraged to enter the This Is Our Place nature writing competition – where a selection of winning entries will be published in the This Is Our Place anthology and the winners will receive a year’s membership of the London Wildlife Trust;

  • Come along to the launch of the anthology in October 2020;

  • Read and enjoy the anthology in October 2020 (available to buy and in many nature / community / library locations across London).

Writers-in-residence – the brief 

The brief is available to download as a PDF here or you can read on in this web page. We are currently looking for four writers-in-residence for the project. Writers can be poets / fiction or creative non-fiction writers. Each writer will be given a residency in a London Wildlife Trust location.
Each writer is asked to deliver:

  1. Two nature writing workshops of 2 hours in length for up to 20 adult participants in June in one of these locations on the specified dates and times. (Please note that there will be two different writers in residence for the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Peckham workshops.):

    a. Centre for Wildlife Gardening – Peckham

Sunday 7 June 2.00 – 4pm and Sunday 14 June 2.00 – 4pm

         b. Woodberry Wetlands – Stoke Newington

Saturday 6 June 1pm – 3pm and Saturday 13 June 1pm – 3pm

        c. Centre for Wildlife Gardening – Peckham

Thursday 18 June 11am – 1pm and Wednesday 24 June 11am – 1pm

        d. Walthamstow Wetlands

Friday 19 June 2pm – 4pm and Saturday 27 June 10am – 12pm

  1. Co-running one of two nature writing walks at one of these locations at the specified date and time:

    a. Walthamstow Wetlands

    Sunday 21 June 10am – 12pm

    b. Woodberry Wetlands – Stoke Newington
    Sunday 28 June 10am – 12pm

  1. Judging the This Is Our Place nature writing competition;

  2. Writing a new piece of no more than 1500 words for inclusion in the project anthology inspired by spending time in your London Wildlife Trust residency location;

  3. Co-hosting and reading at the project celebration event anthology launch in October at Camley Street Natural Park – Kings Cross on Sunday 11 October 2- 4pm.

All venues and locations are accessible.

There is a fee of £2,400 for this work. This fee is inclusive of VAT, preparation and travel costs. We believe this is around seven days work in total.

Do you have to live in London to apply for this role?

Due to the stipulations of the funding we received for This Is Our Place, we are not able to offer additional fees for travel and accommodation / per diem expenses, so the fee is all inclusive of any additional costs that you may incur to complete this role and we have factored this in to the total amount to ensure that there are reasonable contributions towards these elements. You do not have to be based in London to apply for this role but please consider the fact that this money is all inclusive, so your travel fee would need to be factored in to the fees. It may not be financially viable for you to come from a long way away, but it may be worthwhile if you do not live far out of London.

Skills and experience

We are looking for the lead writers to have the following skills and experience:

  • Extensive experience of leading writing workshops with different communities;

  • A publishing track record (you may or may not have published a full-length work, but we would like you to have been published in a variety of journals / magazines / anthologies);

  • Able to produce creative work to deadlines;

  • A good working knowledge of contemporary nature writing, including nature writing by writers from underrepresented backgrounds;

  • A demonstrable personal and artistic interest in nature;

  • Is passionate about opening up space and access to new and diverse voices in nature writing and shares the values and philosophy of This is Our Place.

We welcome applications from writers who are from backgrounds underrepresented in nature writing, for example: people from BAME backgrounds, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, refugees and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

To apply / for more information

If you have any queries or questions about the role that aren’t answered on this webpage, please contact Laura Kenwright – laura@spreadtheword.org.uk / 020 8692 0231 ext 249 (email is preferable, if possible)

Please send your CV including the name, phone number, address, and email address for two relevant referees (we will only contact your referees if you are successful in being offered the role)  and a supporting statement of no more than 2 sides of A4 telling us why you are the right person for this role. If you would find it easier to apply via audio or video file, we welcome that too. Please make a note in your statement of which of the workshops and walks you might be able to facilitate  according to your current availability– ie ‘I am currently available to run 1a / 1b  workshop sets and 2a and 2b).’ Please send your applications to Laura Kenwright, Projects and Communications Manager at Spread the Word: laura@spreadtheword.org.uk

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 18 March, 10am

Please note that late applications will not be considered. 

Informal interviews (in person or on Skype) will be held on:  Thursday 26 March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Walthamstow Wetlands by Sam Hobson

Published 28 February 2020

Updated 18 March 2020