Memory Maps: Image, Place, and Story

1 July 2008 - 3 July 2008

Faculty of English

Deadline for Registration: 23 June 2008 

Programme and Registration
A provisional programme can be found by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.  Please use the "Booking Link" to book a place and pay online. The standard fee is £30 and the reduced student fee is £15.



Marina Warner  (Writer, University of Essex)
Amanda Hopkinson ( Literary Translator and Director, British Centre for Literary Translation, University of East Anglia)

Memory Maps: Image, Place & Story sets out to develop themes that were explored in Passionate Natures, a CRASSH conference convened last summer by Robert Macfarlane. If the emphasis then fell principally on wildness and the outdoors, the 2008 conference will focus more closely on cultural and social identities as they interact with narratives of place in memory. The question of memory work in the current increasingly popular literature of place will be a central concern. The project Memory Maps began in 2006 as a website created by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the University of Essex Creative Writing MA, and the British Centre for Literary Translation. It was established to explore our relationships to place. The conference in Cambridge is taking place in collaboration with Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, on 1-3 July.  It will explore :


1.The relationship between history and story in the work of such writers as W G Sebald, Iain Sinclair, and others who create fictive memoirs and use film, photography and other indexical evidence to blur the boundaries between event and invention.

2.The role of museums in creating interactive archives, and the effects of screen experience and computer delivery of knowledge on memory and consciousness.

3.The role of visual artists in defining the stories of the past, and the present activities of contemporary artists who map experience through multiple media - acoustic as well as visual, through walking, digging, foraging, archiving and collecting.

4.The questions raised by the ethical and political implications of such work: its connections to national folklore and the historic dangers of ethnic exclusivity on the one hand, and on the other, the engagement with ecological stewardship which a more developed sense of place and belonging can inspire.

5.Issues of translation between languages, cultures and societies in relation to internal displacement and diaspora on the one hand, and overseas exile and migration on the other.

Confirmed participants include:

Bernardine Evaristo (Writer)
Dan Fern (Artist, Royal College of Art)
Charles Fernyhough (Writer and psychologist, Durham)
Vesna Goldsworthy (Writer)
Joy Gregory (Artist and photographer)
Kevin Jackson (Writer) Grace Lau (Photographer)
Richard Mabey (Naturalist and Writer)
Robert Macfarlane (Writer, English Literature, University of Cambridge)
Hazel Marsh (School of Language, Linguistics and Translation Studies, University of  East Anglia)
Adrian May (University of Essex, balladeer)
Ruth Padel (Writer)
Claire Preston (Literature, University of Cambridge)
Jules Pretty (Biological Sciences, University of Essex)
Susannah Radstone (Cultural Studies, University of East London)
Sahayl Saadi (Writer)
Jan-Melissa Schramm (Literature and Law, University of Cambridge)
Ilona Secacz (Composer)
Iain Sinclair (Writer)
Rebecca Solnit (Writer and Activist)
George Szirtes (Poet and Translator,  University of East Anglia)
Philip Terry (Poet and Translator, University of Essex)
Ken Worpole (Writer)
Patrick Wright (Writer, Nottingham Trent University)
Tamar Yoseloff  (Writer)





Please address any administrative enquiries to


Information about accommodation and travel can be found at Information for Visitors and Visit Cambridge.


Memory Maps: Image, Place and Story

Provisional Programme

Location : Faculty of English and Kettle's Yard Date : 1-3 July 2008

Tuesday 1 July

Faculty of English





Welcome and Introduction
Marina Warner (Writer, University of Essex) 










A: Stories and Histories

The Enigma of Footfalls: Original Memory, Authentic Traces

Chair:  Richard Humphreys (Curator, Programme Research, Tate Britain)

Rebecca Solnit (Writer and Activist)
Infinite City: Some Ideas about Subjective Maps of San Francisco

Robert Macfarlane (Writer, English Literature, University of Cambridge)A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook

Jules Pretty (Biological Sciences, University of Essex)
This Luminous Coast: Walking and Memory

Speaking Cities

Chair: Jan-Melissa Schramm (Literature and Law, University of Cambridge)

Iain Sinclair (Writer)

Suhayl Saadi (Writer)
Quejío!: Scream!





Chair: Amanda Hopkinson

Ilona Sekacz (Composer, Music Maps)
Place - Word - Sound - Music 

Georges Szirtes (Poet and Translator, University of East Anglia)
Tiffley Song: The Course of an Exceedingly Small River as Habitation in Verse and Music

Newnham College

Reception at Newnham College


Rebecca Solnit talk in Sidgwick Hall, Newnham

Chair: Marina Warner

Leaping into the Unknown: Mapping the Unknown


Buffet dinner for speakers and paying delegates in Lucia Windsor Room, Newnham


Wednesday 2 July
Faculty of English



B: Embodied Knowledge

The Contours of Stewardship

Chair: Jules Pretty (Biological Sciences, University of Essex)

Claire Preston (Literature, University of Cambridge)
Big Dig: the rhetoric of fen drainage

Richard Mabey (Naturalist and Writer)
Against Stewardship: Nature as Colony

Ken Worpole (Writer)

Weak Power: Landscape and Democracy




Forming Imagination and Memory

Chair: Robert Macfarlane

Marina Warner will read from work by Susannah Radstone, Cultural Studies, University of East London

Grace Lau (Photographer)

Charles Fernyhough (Writer and Psychologist, University of Durham)

Travelling with the Young Doctor Who





C: Belonging and Translation

Diasporas and Exchanges

Chair: Vesna Goldsworthy (Writer) 

Amanda Hopkinson (Literary Translator and Director, British Centre for Literary Translation, University of East Anglia)Location, Locomotion (and a Locomotive): W G Sebald's "Rings of Saturn"

Hazel Marsh (School of Language, Linguistics and Translation Studies, University of East Anglia)
At the Atchin Tan: Gypsies, Music and Memory in East Anglia and South-East England

Joy Gregory (Artist and Photographer)
Land and Language

Kevin Jackson (Writer)
Grey Matters: The Tao and the Buddha on Maid's Causeway




Belonging and Unbelonging

Chair: Mary Jacobus (University of Cambridge)

Patrick Wright (Writer, Nottingham Trent University)
Are the Ming Tombs really in Wangford, Suffolk?  On Stanley Spencer's visit to China

Bernardine Evaristo (Writer)
When Africa Meets Europe: How people, place and History are remembered and re-invented in the novels "Blonde Roots", "Soul Tourists" and "The Emperor's Babe".


Dinner for Speakers

Kettle's Yard 

Evening Performance 

Readings by the writers Fiona Sampson and Ruth Padel, contributors to the Kettle's Yard anthology, A Room to Live in.  They will be introduced by the editor and poet Tamar Yoseloff.

Bar open in the gallery with the opportunity to view the Michelle Charles exhibition.

Dan Fern (Professor of Communication Art and Design, Royal College of Art)
On High Bright Hills 

Adrian May (Balladeer, University of Essex) 

Thursday 3 July

Kettle's Yard and Cambridge Folk Museum

Optional event and payable 



Guided Walking tour of Cambridge with Jon Harris (Artist and Writer)


Tea/Coffee at Kettle's Yard 


Writing Workshop at Kettle's Yard and Cambridge Folk Museum

Philip Terry
Adrian May
Marina Warner
George Szirtes