‘Digging Deeper’: Clay Cargo with Clayground Collective at the BCB: Poetry & Making

Lisa Mansell and Barry Taylor took part in a poetry and making project with Clayground Collective at the British Ceramic Biennial last Saturday. The project was about poetic responses to ceramics and its relationship with waterways:


“Clay Cargo takes inspiration from Josiah Wedgwood’s pioneering role in establishing the canals.  It sets out to renew the historic links between ceramics and the canal system by staging clay workshops on boats and canalside locations in three cities: London, Birmingham and Stoke on Trent.  This year we have also commissioned poets and ceramic artists to respond to each site”.  – See more at: http://www.claygroundcollective.org/clay-cargo-2014-digging-deeper-into-clay-canals-and-waterways/#sthash.Inmc7db8.dpuf

Three poets were commissioned to write responses: Barry Taylor, Elisabeth Charis and Rachel Long.

Last Saturday, Clayground Collective hosted a workshop in the BCB at the Spode Factory in which the poems were performed by the poets (Lisa Mansell read Elisabeth Charis’ poem) alongside ‘making’ sessions which invited the audience to make their own creative responses (either in clay or in words) to the poems and making.

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Graduate Publications

Please join us in congratulating two former students of ours on their recent publications.

Emma Cleary, who gained her PhD in 2015 from Staffordshire University, has  short fiction publications in Lighthouse Literary JournalSynaesthesia Magazine, and is anthologised in Best British Short Stories 2015. Read her most recent story, “Moonsuit” in The Queen’s Head.

Holly Ice has just published a horror novella, The Russian Sleep Experiment with Almond Press:

“Four political prisoners living in a 1940s Siberian POW camp volunteer to be Subjects in a Soviet Military experiment. They are promised freedom in exchange for completing the exercise. In return they must endure 30 days without sleep, fuelled by Gas 76-IA. One researcher, Luka, stands alone in believing the experiment needs to be stopped before irreversible damage is done but is he too late? The Subjects no longer want the Gas switched off”.

Holly graduated from Staffordshire University in 2014 with a BA in Creative Writing.

Teaching Excellence

Dr. Lisa Mansell, Creative Writing lecturer and award leader, has been made a Teaching Excellence Fellow at Staffordshire University. Her research project is about  the nature of adaptation: the rewriting of a text from one medium or genre to another. In particular, developing ambitious adaptations ranging from translation to the transposition of text from wiring to image. Her current research and reflective practice in the area of adaptation is influenced by the work of Fiona English, in particular, her book, Genre in Student Writing (London; Contiunuum [Bloomsbury], 2011). Fiona English asks students to re-craft or adapt a student essay into another genre, a process she calls’ regenreing’.  In Lisa’s study, she hopes to develop this practice into other disciplines and other discourses and areas of writing. In doing so she hopes to work towards a methodology for research, writing to discover new knowledge, that might be valid and useful not only for writers but for researchers and students in other disciplines.

Live Age Festival


Paul Houghton and Dr. Catherine Burgass have been taking part in the Live Age Festival at the Potteries Museum, which is exhibiting work by Lowry and local counterpart, Arthur Berry until January 10th 2016.

Paul hosted a Creative Writing Workshop: “Writing is Seeing” on October 3rd, and it was followed by a talk by Dr. Bugrass & Prof. Ray Johnson:  ‘Arthur Berry and the Poetics of Place’.

Anglo-Saxon Outing to the Potteries Museum

11227651_932604240145792_304864621495947166_oWe welcomed new level four students to our English and Creative Writing courses with a trip to the Potteries Museum, Hanley, where Dr. Melanie Ebdon gave us a thrilling reading of Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon in an atmospherically reconstructed mead-hall, (contemporaneous to the writing of this poem)  and artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard.

The trip celebrated the end of a busy welcome week, which also included a student learning conference. Staff and students from English and Creative Writing joined colleagues and peers from History and Sociology.


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