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RCC Environmental Writing Studio

The Environmental Writing Studio provides inspiration, community, and practical approaches to the art and craft of writing. Courses include seminars for doctoral candidates, workshops for Landhaus fellows, and a creative writing course for MA students. To support the transition from research to publication, the seminars provide insights from authors, editors, and lecturers about the writing process

Braided Poetry: Reading and Workshop

with Rebecca Sharp and Monika Szuba

10 March 2024
10:00–11:30 (GMT)

online on Zoom

At this online event, as part of the StAnza Festival, Landhaus Fellow Monika Szuba and Rebecca Sharp, artist-in-residence at the Center for Energy Ethics at the University of St Andrews, will read a poem they have co-written. 

Digital festival passes can be purchased through Byre Theatre.

Past Events:

Second Nature(s): Drawing Together Research and Art

with Nick Earhart and Melusine Martin

Workshop: 22 February 2024, 10:30–12:30, Rachel Carson Center

Art Opening and Exhibition: 22 March 2024, Landhaus

This environmental writing workshop explores the connection between artistic and research practices. The focus is twofold: How can researchers incorporate creative media into their scholarly efforts? And how might artistic explorations, done for their own sake, inform the more structured, regimented work of academia? The workshop’s facilitators, Landhaus Fellows Nick Earhart and Melusine Martin, both maintain creative practices in addition to their scholarship. Nick has published his stream-of-consciousness comics widely and plays in bands; Melusine exhibits her abstract paintings in galleries and works in several media. Both see their art as integral to the overall learning and thinking process, rather than something that is separate or supplemental. For the workshop, Nick and Melusine will share brief accounts of their journeys through art and academia, lead a dialogue about creative research strategies, and offer prompts for participants to create their own drawings and paintings linked—however loosely—to research questions. Following the workshop, Nick and Melusine plan to host an art show at the Landhaus, and workshop participants and others are invited to contribute. Art supplies will be provided.

This workshop is limited to 15 participants. To sign up, please email Nick Earhart at nearhart@usc.edu.

Reworkshop: A Two-Day Writing Lab

with Rowan Deer

29–30 January 2024
9:00–15:00

conference room, second floor, RCC

This two-day writing workshop will provide a space for participants to rework, edit, or develop a work in progress with the opportunity to receive feedback from Rowan Deer and the group. This workshop is closed and not open to the public.

Please write tokatherine.arnold@rcc.lmu.de to register.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to write an effective and engaging title and opening paragraph;
  • Clarifying and honing one’s argument;
  • The power of good structure and storytelling;
  • How to conclude a piece of writing;
  • Editing for clarity.

The Art and Craft of the Sentence, Part Two

with Mark Olival-Bartley

5 December 2023
12:00–14:00

This workshop will focus squarely on the neglected workhorse of scholarship, the sentence. Together, we will anatomize the syntactic parts of a sentence (at the level of the word, phrase, and clause), noting their purposes and interanimations, and investigate how different sentence styles (i.e., simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex) can be best harnessed to help us ecopoetically in our respective fields in the environmental humanities. Drawing on primers by Fish, Foerster and Steadman, and Longknife and Sullivan, Mark Olival-Bartley will lead this introduction to the art and craft of the sentence.

Further reading:

  • Fish, Stanley. How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.
  • Foerster, Norman and J. M Steadman. Sentences and Thinking: A Practice Book in Sentence Making. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919.
  • Longknife, Ann and K. D. Sullivan. The Art of Styling Sentences. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Services, 2012.

The Impossible: A Generative-Prose Workshop

with Cynthia Cruz

31 October 2023
9:00–11:30

conference room, fourth floor, RCC, Leopoldstr. 11a, 80802 Munich, Germany

But you’re in love with what’s impossible.
—Ismene to Antigone, Antigone

The German word for impossible is ausgeschlossen, meaning that which is “excluded” or “barred.” That which is impossible is not nonexistent but, rather, beyond definition. In this generative workshop we will examine different ways in which writing can allow for what cannot be articulated—either because there are no words for articulating what must be spoken or because the speaker quite simply cannot utter what must be said. Our meeting will begin with the discussion of an outside text, after which we will move on to a series of readings and generative-writing exercises, which will result in a collection of first drafts from which students will be able to construct entirely new works.

The workshop has been organized for the LearningNatures project, but is also open to other RCC members. To register, please contact James Matharu under james.matharu@hotmail.co.uk.

The Art and Craft of the Sentence

with Mark Olival-Bartley

7 November 2023
12:00–14:00

This workshop will focus squarely on the neglected workhorse of scholarship, the sentence. Together, we will anatomize the syntactic parts of a sentence (at the level of the word, phrase, and clause), noting their purposes and interanimations, and investigate how different sentence styles (i.e., simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex) can be best harnessed to help us ecopoetically in our respective fields in the environmental humanities. Drawing on primers by Fish, Foerster and Steadman, and Longknife and Sullivan, Mark Olival-Bartley will lead this introduction to the art and craft of the sentence.

Further reading:

  • Fish, Stanley. How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.
  • Foerster, Norman and J. M Steadman. Sentences and Thinking: A Practice Book in Sentence Making. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919.
  • Longknife, Ann and K. D. Sullivan. The Art of Styling Sentences. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Services, 2012.

Creative Writing Workshop for the Environmental Humanities

with Rowan Deer

14–15 September 2023
11:00–17:00

This two-day workshop will explore various modes of creative-critical writing related to the environmental humanities. Participants will look at examples of environmental creative non-fiction and creative scholarly writing, and observe what they do well and how. It will make use of a variety of writing exercises to explore different techniques, perspectives, structures, and styles in our own writing.

The workshop is open to all. It is both for those that consider themselves seasoned writers who want to deepen their practice, and for those to whom the idea of writing more “creatively” maybe feels like something alien or scary. Participants are asked to join for the full two days.

Some example topics to be covered are:

  • Observational writing and vignettes;
  • Storytelling and structure;
  • Writing to discover;
  • Writing the nonhuman world;
  • Close reading as a skill for writers;
  • Creative academic and scholarly writing;
  • Effective planning, writing, and editing processes.

“ILL-LIGHT: The Georgia Landscape in Lyric and Lens”

A Talk with Andrew Zawacki

22 June 2023
16:15–17:45
Location: Rachel Carson Center, fourth floor, conference room

American Visiting Professor Andrew Zawacki will read poems and screen photographs from a trio of recent projects. He will begin by showing documentary images from “The Land Beneath Our Feet: Mapping Cherokee Homesteads in the Early Nineteenth Century,” a work-in-progress undertaken in collaboration with University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt. The majority of the session will feature a reading from Zawacki's forthcoming poetry book, These Late Eclipses, in tandem with photographs from an ongoing work focused on Georgia landscapes.

This event is organized by Noemi Quagliati (LMU München/Amerika-Institut) as part of the UGA-LMU Faculty Research Exchange.top

Creative Writing Course (MA program)

21 April–21 July 2023
12:00–14:00
Location: 201 Schellingstr. 3/VG

An interdisciplinary creative writing course will be open to Environmental Studies MA students, taught by Dr. Amy Mohr, former RCC editor and literary scholar at LMU. The sessions will include tips and models and the time and space to write and receive feedback. This collaborative approach will create a sense of community while improving creative writing skills.

Beginning 21 April and running through the end of the semester, sessions will take place weekly on Fridays from 12:00–14:00 in room 201, Schellingstr. 3/VG. The course will culminate in a reading event (TBD). This non-credit course is open to students in Faculty 13.

To register, please contact Amy.Mohr@lmu.de.

Creative Writing/Academic Analysis (PhD seminar)

8 May 2023
14:30–17:00
Location: Rachel Carson Center, fourth floor, seminar room

In what ways does academic writing follow a creative process? In this workshop, participants will practice weaving literary style—the use of figurative language, setting, characterization, and conflict—into analysis so that the topic resonates with an audience. Please send a paragraph of a work in progress to Amy.Mohr@lmu.de by 4 May.

Thinking with Image and Text: A Comics Workshop

5 May 2023
15:00–17:00
Location: Rachel Carson Center, fourth floor, conference room

While comics are often associated with a genre, they are—like prose or film—a medium. As a distinctly multimodal medium, comics offer unique opportunities to communicate ideas and experiences that can be difficult to capture through traditional, linear writing. Across genres—from journalism, science communication, ethnography, fiction, nonfiction, and memoir—comics artists employ a variety of devices to play with concepts like space and time, scale, memory, trauma, and subjectivity.

This workshop will introduce participants to a few of these devices and how to apply them to their own stories and ideas. Participants are encouraged to bring a topic to explore through comics—anything from a personal experience to an academic question. No drawing or comics experience required!

The workshop will be run by Amey Yun Zhang, a PhD student in anthropology at the Rachel Carson Center and former graduate facilitator of the Oxford Comics Network. Some of her artwork can be found on her website.