Mapping Wonder: A RENEW Creative Writing Practice-as-Research studentship

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: English


The studentship will allow you to explore how your practice as a published poet, with a demonstrable interest in public engagement and creative-writing pedagogies, may gather precise biodiversity information and emotional and cultural information about biodiversity loss and renewal. We believe that poetry is uniquely capable of listening to, and articulating, why local and global biodiversity may or may not matter to individuals and communities.

We are looking for a poet with a growing profile of publications capable of composing high-quality work in response to RENEW's transdisciplinary research. The appointed student will have the opportunity to collaborate with world-class researchers and a wide range of national and international partners, including The Poetry Society, where you will undertake a residency. This is an extraordinary opportunity to discover new ways of thinking about how to make poems in response to the science of biodiversity renewal, and about the role of the poet-educator during the current biodiversity crisis. The student will be self-motivated and have a strong interest in working at the intersection between arts, humanities, STEM, business, social sciences and other disciplines. One of the supervisory team will be an ecologist.

The appointed student's findings, both through their practice as a poet and their public engagement work, will be integrated with RENEW's big-data mapping to develop emotional and cultural charts that will allow us to navigate between existing biodiversity levels and the impact of RENEW's activities. It is crucial that while we acknowledge our losses in this area, we renew our sense of wonder, and find patterns of meaning commensurate to the ecological complexity that grows from reversing biodiversity decline. The student will use their public engagement and poetry pedagogical skills to explore how metaphors for biodiversity may alter according to individual and collective experiences of biodiversity. The holistic evidence drawn from their research will shape the evolution of our research focus and the narratives RENEW presents to the public. The student will be expected to think carefully about the best ways to communicate their findings to a range of interested communities and individuals - this is a project in which we hope poetry will play an important role in making things happen.

The full scope of the research will be negotiated with the supervisory team. The PhD practice-as-research output will include a full collection of poems directly related to the themes of RENEW. Supplementary outputs may include performances, exhibitions, education materials etc. agreed with the supervisory team. The student will also produce a critical thesis on an aspect of their research.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/W004941/1 31/01/2022 30/01/2027
2777562 Studentship NE/W004941/1 09/01/2023 08/01/2027 Caleb Parkin