The following text gives a specification of the kind of outline the conference team is looking for in applications.
Vox 2014 will give delegates experience presenting and discussing writing amongst peers. As part of themed panels, they should expected to present in a 15-20 minute slot a presentation of critical or creative work relating to the subject of voice and/or agency. This for example, can be an academic paper, a performance of poems written by the delegate or a reading from a longer work that they are engaged in writing. Ideally the content will be written specifically for the conference, though existing work on the subject of voice and/or agency will certainly be considered. This is an opportunity to cultivate your skills in writing, performing and working as part of a network in the field of creative writing in preparation for a professional career.
The required outline of 100-200 words neeeded to apply to the conference should, if the work is critical writing, follow the style of an academic conference abstract or, if the work is creative writing, be a synopsis/project proposal. In both cases, the applicant should provide an overview of their proposed conference presentation in order to give the conference team the clearest possible idea of the content they’d like to present. Admission to this conference depends on a concise, well-written and enthusiastic sketch of the scope and extent of the applicant’s idea(s) for the conference as well as how they are to be applied in their writing.
The conference will host speakers on the subject of voice and of agency. Agency is a term borrowed from social and political theory to describe action or intervention that produces a particular effect as well as a thing or person that produces such a result. Concerned here with literary agency through articulation, the conference encourages applicants to send in outlines that will examine with an uncompromising view the potential effects that texts can have when we ‘do’ them, that is to say, read, perform, publish or act them out. Also welcomed for discussion is the notion of the unvoiced- subaltern, silenced and unwilling voices in text and how they are evidenced.
Example Outline: Critical Writing
(Please note this example outline is from previous conference on a different subject)
Project Title: ‘Back Roads To Well-Being: Remedial Landscapes In American Cinema And Poetry’
During the last sixty years, American society has undergone a transformation in how it conceptualises health, both in terms of the well-being of its human population but also, in the wake of environmentalism, the health of its natural landscape. This paper considers the coexistence of these shifts in attitudes, exploring how contemporary conceptions of individual and environmental health are not only interrelated, but often interdependent. In comparing the presentation of the natural landscape as a remedy for the effects of ill-health in Mark Doty’s poetry collections My Alexandria (1993) and Atlantis (1995) and David Lynch’s film The Straight Story (1999), as well as other poetry and films, it is possible to delineate some of the principles which inform contemporary American conceptions of self, environment and health. Drawing on eco-critical approaches and post-structuralist theory, in particular the notion of Différance and signification, the paper will quantify how Doty and Lynch’s texts both substantiate and subvert dominant perceptions of the relationship between individual health and ecological health. Furthermore, in exploring the texts’ presentation of society and environment, the paper will look outline how contemporary American culture remains engaged in a dialogue with eco-historical narratives and Manifest Destiny.
Example Outline: Creative Writing
Project Title: ‘Scenario’
Presenting the completed work at the Vox Conference 2014, my work-in-progress, a long poem entitled ‘Scenario’ looks at the cultural conditions that inform our conception of happiness and pleasure. The poem aims to articulate an exploration of such notions as understood by the generation that would be teenagers and young adults in the 21st century, or Generation Y. ‘Scenario’ will work towards an agency that is motivated by approaches found in psychology, philosophy and verse poetry in an attempt to clarify what constitutes pleasure for the mentioned generation, in addition to a problematisation of verse itself. The work should push limits of meaning and structure in an attempt to better understand the function of poetry as a giver of pleasure to the reader. Thus the poem should help to explore agency in literature by provoking questions about what, beyond pleasure itself (if indeed literature can provide this), the text of a poem can ‘do’ for readers & audiences and whether literature should ever go beyond the functions of entertainment in the search for a voice of a generation.