In 2019, Newcastle University and New Writing North declared a climate emergency with both organisations coordinating to tackle the ongoing crisis. Part of their joint effort concerns the year-long Climate Writer residency which was recently unveiled.
The poet Linda France has been selected to assume this crucial role. France aims to channel the power of the arts into the positive change required to raise awareness and respond to this global crisis. In addition to writing her own material, France will interact with a whole plethora of artists, readers and writers, seeing how they engage in discourses about climate change.
In anticipation of the new role, the poet has voiced her thoughts on writing and its place in the climate movement.
France said: ‘I’ve been thinking and writing about our dependence on the natural world for over a decade now and the climate emergency is just getting more and more urgent. If we only have ten years left in our carbon budget, as the scientists are telling us, we need to act now."
Responses to the announcement have been positive. Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University has welcomed the decision and stated: "Engaging our imaginations, regardless of our expertise, discipline, background or context, to shape the future in the context of the climate emergency is both a practical tactic and a deeply needed act of hope right now. We look forward to all the conversations and encounters that her role will enable."
Similarly, Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North offered encouragement as she said: "We couldn’t be happier that Linda France has answered our call to action and we look forward to working with her over what we feel will be a very important year."
The organisations are now looking for people to attend a Climate Reading Group which will be lead by France herself and hosted in central Newcastle every six weeks. For more information see: newwritingnorth.com/