Writing the Environment

Image by Hitoshi Suzuki, via Unsplash
Wednesday 15 September 2021
12.00 - 3.00pm (AEST)

This event has passed


Online (Zoom)

This workshop for researchers explores potent ways for writing the environment as well as the ways in which this kind of writing can initiate change.

Can writing help bring to the fore what is at stake in the climate crisis? If so, what kind of writing is best suited for the task? Many academics have important things to say in this space but are unsure how best to go about it.  In the face of the intensifying climate chaos and the grief and confusion they engender, many feel that traditional forms of academic writing are not sufficient to articulate the urgency of the situation. Moreover, much research is difficult to package and communicate to a larger audience. But convincing the larger segments of society that immediate action is necessary is key to making any progress towards a more sustainable future.

The goals of this workshop are to support, encourage and provide resources and skills for people to write in genres and modalities beyond the standard academic article or monograph. These might include blogs, op-eds, longer-form non-fiction pieces for generalist audiences, short stories, creative non-fiction, and fiction.

Dr. James Bradley, Professor Danielle Celermajer and Professor Julia Kindt will reflect on their own and others’ writing practices across these genres to provide resources for participants. The focus of the workshop will be on the practice of writing in different genres. Participants will be taken through a number of short exercises and have the opportunity to reflect together on writing in progress, challenges they are facing, and their planning. If participants are interested, the writing produced during the workshop may form the basis of a publication.

Please note this is a closed workshop for USYD academic staff only. For inquiries, please email sei.events@sydney.edu.au.


James Bradley is an author and critic. His books include the novels Wrack (1997), The Deep Field (1999), The Resurrectionist (2006), Clade (2015) and Ghost Species (2020), a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus (1994) and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. His books have won or been shortlisted for many major Australian and international literary awards, and in 2012 he won the Pascall Prize for Australia’s Critic of the Year. His essays and articles have appeared in The MonthlyThe GuardianSydney Review of BooksMeanjinGriffith ReviewCosmosLos Angeles Review of Books and more. James is an Honorary Associate of the Sydney Environment Institute.

Danielle Celermajer is a Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her research stands at the interface of theories exploring the multi-dimensional nature of injustice and the practice of human rights, focusing on the relational intra-space between human and non-human animals. Along with her multispecies community, she has recently lived through the NSW fires, writing in the face of their experience of the “killing of everything”, which she calls “omnicide”. She recently published her first trade book, Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future (Penguin, 2021) to critical acclaim. She regularly writes in media outlets such as the Conversation, the Guardian and the ABC and is committed to taking scholarship to a larger audience.

Julia Kindt is a Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, and a current ARC Future Fellow (2018-22). She is currently working on a book entitled ‘The Trojan Boar and Other Stories: 10 Ancient Creatures that Make us Human’ which investigates how the understanding of what makes us human emerges out of our entanglements with animals from antiquity to the present. She is interested in how the ancient evidence speaks to current debates in the environmental humanities and human/animal studies, and in how the methods and concepts developed in these fields of study can inform scholarship on the ancient world.