Life-writing conferences

If you are organising a conference on life-writing that you’d like to include in this list, please email us.

Character Education and Life-Writing

Saturday 22 September 2018
Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

Support your students to be even more amazing. Discover a new approach to encouraging self-belief and self-development in our young people. Through inspirational role models and creative story writing, students can feel empowered to achieve their aspirations and take positive action.Great for character development, literacy, communication skills development and cross-curricular learning.

Be introduced to accessible and practical life-writing tools and skills as well as Amazing People Schools, a new interactive website that delivers character education and brings students face to face with some of the world’s most amazing people.

Featured workshops:

  • Building character education through inspiration
  • Life-writing to understand yourself and others
  • The psychology of self-motivation and inspiration

All participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance from OCLW for CPD purposes.

Includes refreshments and a light lunch.

Women in Transition

Crossing Borders, Crossing Boundaries

20 – 22 September 2018
King’s College London and St Peter’s College, University of Oxford

Organizers: Maria-José Blanco (SPLAS, KCL; CCWW), Claire Williams (Portuguese, University of Oxford; CCWW)

Guest Speakers: Marta Sanz (Spanish writer); Mònica Rovira (Catalan filmmaker); Adalgisa Giorgio (Italian Studies – University of Bath); and the launch of Take 6 (Six Portuguese Writers) Introduced by Hilary Owen, with Margaret Jull Costa (editor), and the writers Hélia Correia, Teolinda Gersão and Lídia Jorge

This international, multilingual conference will bring together scholars, students and writers as well as sociologists, psychotherapists and clinicians working around the world. By choosing a thematic focus on ‘transition’ in women’s lives, we will be presenting research on women who have described how they have crossed biological, geopolitical, political borders as well as emotional, sexual, cultural and linguistic boundaries. The international approach, with speakers representing different cultures, and invited authors and artists, will help to emphasise the links and connections that bind women together, rather than those which separate them.
We consider the ways in which the changes and transitions women undergo influence the world we live in. We will especially be looking at the idea of crossing borders and how this influences identity and belonging, and the theme of crossing boundaries in the context of motherhood and grand-motherhood as well as gender and sexual orientation.

The topic is timely given the waves of migration all around the world in recent times, and the uncertainty about what Brexit legislation will mean, especially for transnational women and their families. Issues around gender equality and women’s empowerment are central in our times. Gender and sexuality are also concepts that are changing, with gender and sexual fluidity being part of understanding women identities.

The presence of established writers, filmmakers and artists from different countries, as well as academics and practitioners, will enable discussion of the practice of re-presenting one’s own life, and the transitions one has gone through, as well as the theory. The conference will present research on contemporary European women’s writing as well as women’s lives from around the world and will enable networking between colleagues from different disciplines and institutions and at different stages of their careers.

This event is being planned in association with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR). With the support of the TORCH (University of Oxford); Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (King’s College London); Instituto Cervantes Londres, and the Camões Centre (King’s College London).

Wilfred Owen and Beyond

Friday 26 October – Sunday 28 October 2018
Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

In partnership with the University of Valenciennes conference Owen and / in France, the Oxford Centre for Life Writing is pleased to be hosting this conference to mark the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s death.

This conference is concerned with Owen’s afterlife. How has his work been received, and how has it changed our view of the war? What effect has his verse had on writers, composers and other intellectuals, and how has Owen himself been portrayed, appropriated and discussed posthumously?

Past Conferences

Locating Women in ‘the Folk’: Perspectives on women’s contributions to folk song, folklore, and cultural traditions

Saturday 9 June 2018
University of Sussex.

Women have always been central to the study and practice of folklore, arts and cultural traditions – as tradition bearers, performers, authors, collectors, storytellers and scholars. However, their contribution hasn’t always received the recognition it deserves; this symposium aims to redress the balance. We are inviting 20-minute papers/presentations and A1 poster presentations on relevant topics, which may include:

  • Singers, dancers, musicians, storytellers, and other performance roles
  • Performance styles, repertoire and source
  • Facilitators, revivals and teaching
  • Contributions to scholarship
  • Legacies and archives
  • Gender relations in folk cultures
  • Life narratives, autoethnographies, biographies, and oral histories
  • Depictions of women as subject matter in song and story
  • Portrayals of women, gender roles, and identity
  • Perspectives on the future for women in ‘the folk’

This conference is co-presented by Sussex Traditions, The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research (University of Sussex), and The English Folk Dance & Song Society, and supported by The Centre for Memories, Narratives and Histories (Brighton University), and Sussex University’s Music Department.

Women in ‘the Folk’ – interdisciplinary conference PDF

To book your place, please click here.

Biography and Public History: Constructing Historical Narratives through Life-Writing

Wednesday 20 June 2018
University of Nottingham, Department of Music

Keynote: Professor Frances Spalding, CBE, FRSL (University of Cambridge)

Deadline: 9 February 2018

Call for Papers

From Plutarch’s Parallel Lives to Gordon Brown’s recent My Life, Our Times, life-writing has long dealt not only with individuals, but also with the times in which they lived. The discipline traverses historical, cultural, social, political and literary realms. As such, life-writing is a unique medium enabling authors to construct complex historical narratives through the eyes of a particular person. Memoirs, diaries, and other forms of life-writing can also fill gaps in the documentary record, offering historical information that may not be found elsewhere. This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the myriad ways in which the medium of life-writing has and is being used as a means of constructing and understanding history. As a key characteristic of life-writing is its ability to cross disciplinary boundaries, proposals from a range of disciplines are welcomed.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • the relationship between the individual and society or broader events;
  • constructing historical narratives through non-traditional media, eg. portraiture, exhibitions, multimedia, auto/biographical drama;
  • the lives of institutions, places and objects;
  • life-writing as a form of public history;
  • life-writing and the scholarship of creative individuals (eg. Composers, writers, artists) and their works;
  • life-writing and science;
  • methodological issues and benefits in using life-writing as a historical source.

Further information is available on the conference website.

The conference is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Medieval Life Writing Principles and Practice

Friday 29 June
Harris Manchester, Oxford

A day-long colloquium with speakers and discussion, in celebration of the MÆ Annual Lecture’s 60th Anniversary. Speakers include: Professor Janet Nelson, Professor Andy Beresford, and Professor Michael Clanchy.

Contact: Professor Lesley Smith.
Download the flyer.

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