Forum Three

Memory, Mapping, Experience

4 May 2021 3:30pm EST; 5 May 2021 7:30am AEDT
The Forum Participants Will Discuss the Following Prompt:

How do we trace memory and experience? What are the tensions/ gaps/ potentialities between personal accounts vs. public texts?

Beth Yahp
Abstract

Storytelling is vital for marginalised communities, yet the curation and construction of these stories may disguise and reinforce inequalities. In 2019 I co-designed a ‘Living Archives Workshop’ with Malaysia Design Archive, an activist archive that documents Malaysia’s visual culture and history. Using creative writing pedagogy, I worked with marginalised Malaysian participants to produce life writing narratives via ‘visual artefacts’ belonging to them. I discuss the notion of a ‘living archive’, the methodology, workshop, material produced and feedback from participants. The project’s value was evident: triggering deeply-felt life narratives, often leading to a re-evaluation of the artefact and participants’ own stories.

Bio

Beth Yahp’s fiction and creative non-fiction include: The Red Pearl and Other Stories; a memoir Eat First, Talk Later, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Award for Literature (Non-Fiction); and a prize-winning novel, The Crocodile Fury. She is the Creative Writing Degree Coordinator at the University of Sydney.

Katherine Roseau & Kristen Bailey
Abstract

In my course on Nazi-occupied France in spring 2020, I introduced students to theories in place attachment, and they created digital maps (StoryMaps ArcGIS) to explore place identity as expressed in letters and diaries written by Jews. To evaluate the usefulness of this visual, spatial tool, I conducted an IRB-approved survey study. In this presentation, I will address the following questions: How does teaching an overlooked yet visually salient aspect of the Holocaust (place identity oppression) help students to understand the experiences of Jews? How do the digital maps aid our understanding of place identity and place identity oppression.

Bio

I am an Assistant Professor of French at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. I use an interdisciplinary framework of theories in memory, genre, place, and cognitive studies to investigate the functions of life writing in war in order to understand how humans cope with acute threats to identity and stability.

Lamees Al Ethari
Abstract

The X Page: A Storytelling Workshop for Immigrant Women began as a SHRCC funded project to connect writers and artists with immigrant and refugee women in the local community. The project provides women with the tools to write their personal narratives and present them to the public. As part of knowledge mobilization, the women were invited to my Displacement Narratives course to present tangible examples of displacement. Students were able to build on their knowledge of migrant experiences, compare between published texts and unpolished personal accounts of migration, and understand the importance of these narratives in establishing intercultural communication.

Bio

Lamees Al Ethari holds a PhD in English from the University of Waterloo, where she has been teaching since 2015. She has published From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris and Waiting for the Rain: An Iraqi Memoir. She is a co-coordinator for The X Page Workshop and an editor with TNQ.

Tanis MacDonald
Abstract

This paper will address, in six short sections, the crucial productive overlap of the three central terms in the title, using the centrality of each to unpack the complexities of the other two. This critical-creative paper will address the question: “when students bring their trauma to writing class, how do we teach?” Cathy Caruth’s work with trauma narrative as it walks a thin line between the untenable and the untellable will be a starting point, as will considering trauma as a fragmented experience that both demands and refuses the energies of integration.

Bio

Tanis MacDonald is the author of four books of poetry and one of creative nonfiction. She won Canada’s Bliss Carman Poetry Prize in 2003, was a finalist for the 2013 Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism for her book The Daughter’s Way and was the recipient of the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award from the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP). She is also co-editor (with Rosanna Deerchild and Ariel Gordon) of GUSH: menstrual manifestos for our times with Frontenac House Press (2018). Widely known as a scholar and a reviewer, her fourth poetry book, Mobile, was longlisted for a 2020 Toronto Book Award.

Vanessa Berry
Abstract

In memoir, places and material objects often anchor the life experiences of the author, and provide points of connection for readers. As a pedagogical tool, maps are a useful form with which to develop these elements of memoir, as they enable spatial representations of relationships between the physical and the ephemeral. Drawing on visual methodologies, DIY autobiographical practices, and ideas from vital materialism, this paper puts forward a consideration of maps and mapping – particularly the hand-drawn map, but also digital mapping practices – as a form and method for evoking and enhancing place and object-based memories.

Bio

Vanessa Berry is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney and a writer who works with memory and archives. She is the author of “Mirror Sydney”, a collection of psychogeographic essays and hand-drawn maps, memoirs “Ninety9” and “Strawberry Hills Forever”, and the zine-series “I am a Camera”.