[UPDATE] EXTENDED DEADLINE: 5th June 2014 - Call For Papers: Soils and Narrative: 5 July 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Jude Allen/Mat Osmond, Soil Culture Forum, University College Falmouth, UK

A one day literary event held as part of the
Soil Culture Forum (http://ccanw.co.uk/soil-culture-forum.htm)

2 - 5 July 2014, Falmouth University.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Richard Kerridge (Author of: Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians, Chatto & Windus (8 May 2014), Nature writer and literary critic, Course Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Chair, ASLE-UK, 1999-2004)
Nick Hayes: Political cartoonist and graphic novelist. His first acclaimed novel was the Rhyme of the Modern Mariner which addressed ocean plastic pollution. His second forthcoming graphic novel (Jonathan Cape) will use a biography of Woody Guthrie to examine attitudes to land ownership and management land the creation of the American dustbowl in the 1930's.

The Soil Culture Forum is a four day event, the final day of which is devoted to connections between soil and the written word.

The year 2015 has been designated the 'UN International Year of Soils 2015. Driven by the increasing loss of soil, the intention of the 'UN International Year of Soils 2015.' is to promote an awareness through all sectors of society enabling an understanding of just how important the soil is to the maintenance of our existence on this planet.
Every day, the soil on our Earth is depleted. Like all of Earth's natural resources soil is finite. It is 'non-renewable on a human time scale'. According to the Global Soil Partnership, the soil is a 'foundation for food, animal feed, fuel and natural fibre production, the supply of clean water, nutrient cycling and a range of ecosystem functions'.

Without soil, we cannot exist.

We have lost an understanding of not only the physical presence of soil, but also of the stories that provide a cultural appreciation of what soil means to us. Soils and Narrative will focus not simply on the soil itself, but on the cultural narratives that are a conceptual part of soil and, indeed, of ourselves.

In an exciting and inspirational interdisciplinary approach which takes into account the fundamental importance of creating soil awareness across both the academic and the public spectrum, we are seeking both academic and creative papers that address some form of engagement between soil and narrative.

The submissions should fit into one of four broad criteria:

• Digging/ploughing (or not)
• Sowing, writing, planting, growing
• Reaping, harvesting, rewards, benefits
• Composting, replenishment, returning, recycling

These criteria provide an outline or meeting place for not only a focused set of 'conversations' between soil and various narratives, but also for a dynamic meeting between disciplines within the humanities as well as laypersons with an interest in the soil. One thought is to begin each session with a creative piece and then follow with several more conventional academic papers. As well as items that would fill traditional twenty minute timeslots, we would also be very interested in presentation proposals following the Pechakucha format: http://www.pechakucha.org/faq. Creative workshop proposals will also be considered.

Suggestions for possible topics could come under, but are not limited to:

Soil and poetry
Seamus Heaney
Capitalism, Marx and soil
Soil as skin of Earth
Blood and soil
Etymology of soil
Bog bodies
War casualties
Cultural geography
Narratives of composting/recycling within poetry
Mythical notions of soil
Biblical notions of soil
Soil and civilisation
Planting seeds of wisdom
Soil eating/pica
Chalk, clay, mud, silt, peat
Farming narratives

Please submit a 250-word abstract, details of type and length of submission and brief CV to both:

Jude Allen, judeallen1@gmail.com and Mat Osmond, Mat.Osmond@falmouth.ac.uk, by June 5 2014.

Soil Culture Forum
Revitalising our relationship with the soil
2 - 5 July 2014, Falmouth University

Over four days at Falmouth University's Woodlane campus in July this year, the RANE research group in collaboration with The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) invite you to join us at the Soil Culture Forum.
Soil is a material on which – even in the age of the internet – the whole of civilization depends. Along with clean air and fresh water, it is one of the fundamental components that support life on this planet. Without a healthy layer of soil, life and human society as we know it would not be able to function. Despite our knowledge of this fact, mankind continues to misuse and abuse this fundamental matrix of life. Climate change and pollution, erosion and desertification are all having a devastating impact. Although the word 'culture' has its metaphorical roots in the improvement of soil, we have lost that fundamental connection.
Inspiring people through the arts on environmental issues can do what conventional advocacy often struggles to do: kindle the imagination, open minds to creative possibilities and engage communities. The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW), in collaboration with Falmouth University's RANE (Research in Art, Nature and Environment) research group and MA Art & Environment; and other national and international partnerships, is developing a programme in 2013–17 of exhibitions and socially engaged activities, of which the Soil Culture Forum is one, re-examining the cultural and environmental importance of soil and the underlying issues.