Lancaster University

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Grand Finale of “Moving Manchester” Project

02/05/2009 10:08:15

The conference poster
The conference poster

Academics from across the world have signed up to attend an international conference marking the culmination of “Moving Manchester”, a four year project about how migration has informed creative writing in the city since 1960.

The AHRC funded project is based at Lancaster University, where the team includes Prof Lynne Pearce (English), Dr Robert Crawshaw (DELC), Dr Graham Mort (Creative Writing), Dr Corinne Fowler (researcher) and Jo McVicker (project administrator). The project was awarded £356k over three and a half years (2006-2009) and partners in Manchester including the Arts Council have been enthusiastic in their praise of a project that has – through its electronic catalogue, Writers Gallery and commissioning of new work – sought to create a lasting legacy for the community as well as conducting academic research into the literary landscape of Manchester and its postcolonial past.

The conference entitled “Global Imaginaries: Writing/Migration/Place” is to be held at both Lancaster University and the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester from 9-12th September 2009 with input from fifteen internationally acclaimed scholars. The poet Jackie Kay is to headline an evening event in Manchester which also includes the premiere of the Moving Manchester conference commission and music from the Congolese band Les Elus. At the Whitworth itself there will also be contributions from well-known writers and academics as well as an exhibition of the work of artists, photographers, writing groups and community arts’ organisations involved with issues of migration.

The conference at Lancaster University will also have an evening event with both readings and live art in performance. In addition, Manchester Central Library is to host a six-week exhibition on the theme of literature and migration in Manchester to coincide with the conference. This exhibition will centre on the archives of the various writing groups and community publishers located in the city (for example, Commonword, Gatehouse, The Manchester Irish Writers Group) which have been crucial in the support and development of diasporic writing in Manchester since the 1970s.

It will also showcase the work of many of the writers associated with the project via its own Writers Gallery. This exhibition will also be used to promote the forthcoming Commonword publication, Migration Stories, which is co-sponsored by the project and which includes the writings of many of the authors involved in the project.

In terms of the legacy of Moving Manchester, the location of this exhibition at the Manchester Central Library will also showcase an electronic catalogue of over 300 Manchester-based authors and publications, which will constitute an important academic and community resource for many years to come.

In the meantime, the project team are continuing to work on their academic publications, including a special issue of the journal Moving Worlds and a co-authored academic study. The closing date for conference abstracts is 6 March 2009 and on-line registration will be available from the end of April. For further details see: