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Wednesday 5th September

Venue: Kirkwall Town Hall


Registration Opens

09.45 – 10.00

Welcome and housekeeping

10.00 – 11.00

Keynote: David Borthwick, ‘‘some vast / estuary of the tide’s tug’ (Stewart Conn): the Useful Estrangements of Places on the Edge’

11.00 – 11.30


11.30 – 13.00

Panels 1, 2 & 3

13.00 – 14.00


14.00 – 15.30

Panels 4, 5 & 6

15.30 – 16.00


16.00 – 17.30

Careers Roundtable: discussion on careers and interdisciplinary opportunities.  Pippa Marland (Lead), Brycchan Carey, David Borthwick and Caroline Wickham-Jones




Welcome drink followed by Conference Dinner – The Old Library

Thursday 6th September

Venue: Day begins in Kirkwall Town Hall

09.30 – 10.30

Plenary: Laura Watts, Alec Finlay, Gareth Davies, ‘Ebban an’ Flowan’




10.30 – 11.00

Refreshments & collect packed lunches for field trips


Buses leave Kirkwall for Field trips.

Option A: Guided walk from Yesnaby to Skaill.  Led by Amy King from Scottish Natural Heritage, including a talk by Alyson Stoneman.

Option B: Orkney – Islands of Energy Tour with Gareth Davies, Laura Watts and Alec Finlay

Both fieldtrips end in Stromness.

16:00 – 17.15

Refreshments served by the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild in the Stromness Town Hall  & free time to explore Stromness

17.15 – 18.15

‘Orkney: The Energy Islands’ – talk from Orkney Renewable Energy Forum members (Mark Hull and Ian Johnstone)


18.30 – 19.30

Informal Reception and food

19.30 – 20.30

ASLE-UKI/Science Festival Lecture prize winners readings by David Higgins, Rosanne van der Voet, Dion Dobrzynski




Bus leave Stromness Travel Centre for the Museum of the Moon at Stromness Academy



Bus leaves Stromness Academy for Kirkwall

Friday 7th September

Venue: Kirkwall Town Hall

09.30 – 11:00

Panels 7, 8, & 9

11:00 – 11.30


11.30 – 13:00

Panels 10, 11, & 12

13:00 – 13.30 *


13.30 – 14.15

ASLE-UKI Annual General Meeting

14.15 – 15.30

Executive Committee Meeting



15.00 – 15.30

Refreshments at Kingstreet Halls

15.30 – 16.30

Keynote: Rachel Dowse, ASLE-UKI INSPIRE Public Lecture Prize Winner 2017




16:30 – 16:45

Closing remarks and raffle winners announced.


Delegates are encouraged to attend the Orkney Science Festival

* For those not wishing to attend the ASLE-UKI AGM and are not involved in the Executive Committee meeting, you can use this free time to explore Kirkwall or attend some of the other Orkney Science Festival events.

Remember you can book Science Festival tickets at a 50% discount, using the code you were sent in your registration email.

Raffle and Pop-up Shop

Throughout the conference you will be able to buy raffle tickets from the registration desk.  Tickets cost £1 per strip and all proceeds will go towards travel bursaries for students attending future ASLE-UKI conferences. 

In addition, we are offering a selection of local products for sale on behalf of some of our conference sponsors.



Wednesday 5th September

Venue: Kirkwall Town Hall

09.00: Registration Open

09.45: Welcome and Housekeeping, Main Hall

10.00 – 11.00: Keynote 1 [Chair: Professor Donna Heddle] – Main Hall

Dr David Borthwick, ‘‘some vast / estuary of the tide’s tug’ (Stewart Conn): the Useful Estrangements of Places on the Edge’                                                   

11.00 – 11.30:
Refreshments –  Main Hall

11.30 – 13.00: Panels 1 & 2 & 3

1. New Nature Writing [Chair: Richard Kerridge] Main Hall

  • Amanda Bell, ‘Imaginative Linkage:  The Case for Haibun as the New Nature Writing’
  • Pippa Marland, ‘Deep time visible:  New Nature Writing from the Atlantic edge’
  • Amy Player, ‘From the Margins to the Centre: Border Crossings in New British Nature Writing’

2.  Mapping [Chair: Brycchan Carey] Supper Room

  • Erin Kavanagh, ‘Layers in Landscapes: On the Edge of Time’
  • Inge Panneels, ‘Mapping the Anthropocene: towards an Atlas of creative mapping practices on the peripheries of Scotland’
  • Vera Fibisan, ‘Marginal Ecopoetics: Mark Dickinson’s Littoral and Tender Geometries

3. Peering into Anthropocene: Environmental Crime and Justice  and ‘Thinkability’

[Chair: David Higgins] Room 2 (downstairs)

  • Anna Kirsch, ‘Crime Fiction and the Popular Environmental Unconscious: Creating a Local and a Global Sense of Place’
  • Karen Siu, ‘Environmental Storytelling: Narrativizing the Anthropocene in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.’

13.00 – 14.00:

Lunch – Main Hall


14:00– 15.30: Panels  4, 5, & 6

4. Landscape and Mythology [Chair: Brycchan Carey] Main Hall

  • Elizabeth Cook, 'Beyond the stormy Hebrides’: Coastal Mythology in John Milton’s Elegiac Writing
  • Bochra Benaissa, ‘In Search of al-Waqwaq Island’
  • Annette Skade, "siren sky/ the pull of the tide." : Poetry from the coasts of Ireland and Sicily, by Annette Skade (http://annetteskade.com/)

5. Orkney: People and Place [Chair: Caroline Wickham-Jones] Supper Room

  • Becky Ford, ‘Orkney Ecologies’
  • Gabrielle Barnby, ‘People, poems and place: Stromness an acrostic town’
  • Jay van der Reijden, ‘Individualised Construction in Neolithic Orcadian Tombs as Implications for Social Process’

6. Blue Ecologies [Chair: David Borthwick] Room 2 (downstairs)

  • Lucy Oulton, ‘‘The churning pit’: an ecocritical reading of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea
  • Sophia Nicolov, ‘Space, Time and the Body: Liminality and Sperm Whale Strandings on Britain’s North Sea Coast since 1980’
  • Hetty Saunders, ‘“But where are the Swallows?” Birds on the “dull edge” in Kathleen Jamie’s Findings


15.30 – 16.00

Refreshments – Main Hall


  1. – 17.30: Careers Roundtable – Dr. Pippa Marland (lead), Prof. Brycchan Carey, Dr. David Borthwick and Caroline Wickham-Jones

19.00: Welcome Drink followed by Conference Dinner at The Old Library


Thursday 6th September

Venue: Day begins in Kirkwall Town Hall

9.30-10.30: Plenary

Laura Watts, Alec Finlay, Gareth Davies, 'Ebban an' Flowan'

[Chair: Rebecca Ford]

Wave and tidal power have a poetic energy as well as a production one, say writers Alec Finlay and Laura Watts, with links to the old lore and language of the sea as well as to an imagined future – in discussion with Orkney energy and environmental adviser Dr Gareth Davies.


10.30 – 11.00:
Refreshments – Main Hall

Collect packed lunches for field trips.


11.00: Field Trips

Assemble in Main Hall to meet Trip Leaders.

11:15 Buses leave Palace Road, Kirkwall, for field trips.


Option A: Guided walk from Yesnaby to Skaill

Delegates to gather in Kirkwall Town Hall at 11:00  to meet the walk leaders.

Bus will leave Palace Road opposite St Magnus Cathedral at 11:15.

Walk led by Amy King and Heather Woodbridge from Scottish Natural Heritage, with historian, tour guide and storyteller, Fran Flett Hollinrake.

Including a presentation by Alyson Stoneman, ‘Give and Take: Coastal Change and Archaeology in Contemporary British Poetry’

*Please note this is an approximately 3 mile coastal walk over varied and uneven terrain, in a location that is exposed to the prevailing Westerly wind.

You will need sturdy/waterproof footwear and, as the weather in Orkney is changeable, be prepared with waterproofs, layers of clothing, and a day-pack to carry supplies.  A packed lunch will be provided but you may like to bring extra water and snacks.*

There will be an alternative plan for really bad weather.


Option B: Orkney – Islands of Energy Tour  (kindly sponsored by EMEC)

Delegates to gather in Kirkwall Town Hall at 11:00 to meet the tour leaders.

Bus will leave Palace Road opposite St Magnus Cathedral at 11:15.

Learn about Orkney’s role at the forefront of renewable energy developments and how islanders have developed an ongoing relationship with energy, from cutting peat to producing their own electricity and hydrogen.

Join Laura Watts, Alec Finlay and Gareth Davies for a journey through Orkney’s energy landscape, including a tour of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) wave test site at Billia Croo.

Arrive at Stromness Town Hall


16:00 – 17.15:

Refreshments served by the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild in the Stromness Town Hall + free time in Stromness


17.15 – 18.15: Orkney: The Energy Islands – talk from Orkney Renewable Energy Forum members ( Mark Hull and Ian Johnstone),  Stromness Town Hall

What’s happening now with energy from wind, wave and tide, and what might the future hold? Tidal turbines in island causeways, electrically-powered ships, hydrogen shipments from the Flow? Ian Johnstone, Mark Hull and other speakers from Orkney Renewable Energy Forum look at present and future prospects.

18.30 – 19.30: Stromness Town Hall

Informal Reception with food, kindly sponsored by Orkney International Science Festival and Aquatera


19.30 – 20.30: ASLE-UKI/Science Festival Public Lecture Competition

Lecture prize winners readings – David Higgins, Rosanne van der Voet,  and Dion Dobrzybski, ‘Frankenstein on a Changing Planet’

The winners in a competition bringing together writing and the environment. Dr David Higgins of the University of Leeds looks afresh at the failure of the scientist Victor Frankenstein to take responsibility for his creation, in relation to modern debates about how humanity is shaping the Earth. Rosanne van der Voet from Amsterdam looks at the potential of storytelling to confront today’s threats to the oceans. Dion Andre Dobrzynski from Orkney follows the invisible odyssey of a plastic microfibre, adrift among the plankton.

21:00 Bus Leaves Stromness Travel Centre for Stromness Academy to visit the Moon!

Museum of the Moon is a new touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram.

Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.

The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones.

22:00 Bus to take delegates from Stromness Academy to Kirkwall


This is a very full day of events, and is designed so you can opt out at any point. For those who do not wish to go on a field trip please see the X1 bus timetable for services between Kirkwall and Stromness, to allow you to attend the evening events. Similarly for those who need an early night it will be possible to catch the X1 back to Kirkwall from Stromness after the field trips.


Friday 7th September

Venue: Kirkwall Town Hall

9.30– 10.30: Panels 7, 8, and 9

7. Orkney: Returning from the Edge [Chair:Donna Heddle] Main Hall

  • Fleur Ward, ‘ICT on the edge: Orkney’s Relationship with Technology’
  • Stewart Donald, ‘Hurdles, Hoops and Other Obstacles – Sporting Activity on the Edge’
  • Andrea Freund, ‘Inscriptions from the edge – Carving runes as dialogue with a place’s past’

8. Female Writers, Ecofeminism, Hydrofeminism [Chair: David Borthwick] Supper Room

  • Helena Marie Roots, ‘Women on the Edge: Domestic Trauma and the Great Outdoors in Contemporary Scottish Women’s Writing’
  • Eleanore Widger, ‘Linking skin onto skin: hydrologic and gestationality in Ian Davidson’s As If Only.’
  • Maria Sledmere, ‘‘The mood of the sea is catching’: Channelling the Hydrospace of Contemporary Eco-Poetic Lyric’

9. Urban Edgelands [Chair: Insert Name] Room 2 (downstairs)

  • Sheryl Medlicott, ‘Utopia and Ecology: Re-reading William Morris’s News from Nowhere in the Anthropocene’
  • Alexandra Bichara, ‘Invaded: A Dismantling of Philippine Ecopoetry’
  • Catherine Olver, ‘Places Grown-Ups Don’t Know: Rewilding the Child in Katherine Rundell’s Adventure Stories


11:00 – 11.300:

Refreshments – Main Hall


11:30– 13:00: Panels 10, 11, & 12

10. Islands [Chair: Brycchan Carey] Supper Room

  • Elaine Ewart, ‘Islands on the edge: writing the literary ecologies of Heligoland’
  • Kate Lewis Hood, ‘“Where America’s Day Begins”: ecopoetics on the edge in Craig Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory
  • Martin Cathcart Froden, ‘Isola’. A novel in bits and photocopy-art. Thinking on the is/land as a home and as an away

11. Liminal Landscapes  – [Chair: Vera Fibisan] Main Hall

  • Abbey Ballard, ‘An Enemy at Our Backs’: Ecophobia and Entanglement Within Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation
  • Sheena Graham-George, ‘Limbo’ (Audio Work)
  • Alison Philp  - Art Proceeds Without A Map – Drawing Landscape In Situ

12. New Materialism and Dark Ecology [Chair: Pippa Marland] Room 2 (downstairs)

  • Fred Carter, ‘‘a track, an engravure, / a furrow across the strata’: Energy, extraction, and the open field in Peter Riley’s Tracks and Mineshafts
  • Ida Olsen, ‘Reading W. H. Hudson in the Anthropocene: Negotiating Themes of Environmentalism and Ecological Awareness’

13.00 – 13.30:

Lunch – Main Hall


13.30 – 14.15: ASLE-UKI Annual General Meeting, Main Hall


14.15 – 15.30: Executive Committee Meeting, Main Hall

15:00 - 15:30 Refreshments at Kingstreet Halls provided by Orkney Fair Trade Group



15.30 – 16.30: Plenary

Kingstreet Halls (please see map)

Rachel Dowse, ASLE-UKI INSPIRE Public Lecture Prize Winner 2017, ‘The Starling’s Song’


Messy, friendly, bully… threatened? How much do you really know about the common starling? Conservationist and writer Rachel Dowse explores these birds with an award-winning talk from the Hay-on-Wye Festival.


16:30 -16:45 Closing remarks and raffle prize- winners announced.



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