Since late 2019, the Covid-19 Pandemic has forced a reconsideration of home: what it means to have a home or homes, to spend time there, but also what it means to be away from homes with few opportunities to travel, and to be separated from loved ones. For people in East Asia, and for those with families and friends in the region, this process began long before the pandemic officially reached Europe, borders closed, and quarantines came into place. Complex patterns of identification, belonging, space, place, and material culture – of home, with its everyday rituals, materials, and objects – suddenly shifted. How can we contend with such experiences? How can creative writing help develop a better understanding of the idea and feeling of home, connecting words, texts, images, memories, and the senses?
During her period as TORCH humanities exchange fellow, Dr. Jennifer Wong will offer an opportunity for university members and the wider Oxford community to use creative writing to consider the meaning of home and of diasporic space, time, and materiality. In creative writing workshops and public events (see tab on ‘Event’), Dr. Wong will encourage and guide participants to reflect on how objects and material culture (objects brought, kept, lost, missed, or remembered), create or challenge our sense of home, and how to express this in different forms of writing. Writing workshops will be an opportunity for participants to create their own poems and stories, to experiment with ways of expressing their sense of home—as a lived or re-imagined experience, as translation, or perception. Workshops participants will be invited also to submit their work for inclusion in an anthology that will go live at the end of the fellowship.
Public events, meanwhile, will be an opportunity for anyone interested to join us in thinking about creating writing as an avenue to promote a more global, inclusive, transnational experience of home.
Everyone is warmly invited to join us on this journey to explore personal experiences of material culture, history, and belonging across diasporic space and time.
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