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The SciPo New Network builds on the annual one-day conference, SciPo, established at St Hilda’s college by Emeritus Fellow in Biology Sarah Watkinson, and poet Jenny Lewis of The Poet’s House Oxford. Now in its fourth year, SciPo explores the creative common ground between science and poetry. Established poets read and discuss their work with 50 participants from across the university and wider public (see a podcast of SciPo2018 here).

The SciPo New Network, with core organisers Elsa Hammond, Jenny Lewis and Sarah Watkinson, aims to offer young humanities researchers ways to work with new audiences, forging links between scientists and creative writers, as well as literary studies academics with important contributions to make to the representation of science in poetry across the ages. We also plan to engage the broader community of researchers and writers on ecopoetics and climate change poetics (e.g. ASLE – the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment).

The 2019 theme is ‘Plants, Brain and Imagination’, with poets Adam Horovitz, Frances Leviston and Michael Simmons Roberts reading and discussing their work at St Hilda’s on 8th June. Associated seminars will be at TORCH, and workshops will take place throughout the year at Wytham Wood, The Botanic Garden, and the University Museum.

Publications will include poetry anthologies, and podcasts of creative outputs. Future themes include ‘Mental Health and Creativity’ in 2020 and ‘Breathing’ in 2021. Each of these themes has grown out of the interdisciplinary connections between our members’ research, and projected collaborations.


Sarah Watkinson (SCW) – Emeritus, Plant Sciences; genomics and imaging to elucidate nutrient cycling in forest fungi; Poet with prize-winning debut pamphlet last year.

Elsa Hammond (EH) – Elsa Hammond – Stipendiary Lecturer in English, St Hilda's College; Poet. Elsa's research focuses on breathing in eighteenth and nineteenth century poetry, situated within contemporary scientific and medical contexts.

Jenny Lewis (JL) – Poet; Permanent staff, Continuing Education MSt; The Poet’s House Oxford (independent foundation). Latest collection: Gilgamesh Retold, Carcanet, November 2018.

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