Tag Archives: Ecobardic

The Tree Charter – calling all ecobards

Here’s an opportunity for action that we think will inspire ecobards…

The Charter for trees, woods and people is a project involving 70 organisations and led by the Woodland Trust. It’s about building a future in which trees and people stand stronger together. When the finished Charter is launched in November it will be used to guide policy and practice in the UK. For government to listen the Charter will need support from as many people across the UK as possible to show that there is a real recognition of the importance of woods and trees. The numbers of support behind it is what will give the Charter strength.

So, here’s what you can do to help.

Have a look at the Tree Charter principles here – https://treecharter.uk/tree-charter-principles/ – and then talk about them. Stories, blogs, poems, songs, whatever you do, if some aspect of this speaks to you, take it somewhere and share it.

Pledge your support for The Tree Charter here – http://bit.ly/TreeCharter

As we alluded to in the recent blog about Eco-linguistics, the stories we tell shape our culture. We need to tell stories about trees, landscapes and ecosystems that help inspire people to take care of these things. If you haven’t already read it, do check out our Ecobardic Manifesto for further ideas and inspiration – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk/manifesto

The Stories We Live By

We’re delighted to share this new, free, online learning opportunity from The University of Gloucestershire and the International Ecolinguistics Association  with you. As an Ecobardic publishing house we’re enthused about this opportunity for people to develop their ecological language and ideas and the encouragement to challenge conventional thinking and cultural narratives.

The Stories We Live by: is an online course in ecolinguistics, Everything in the course is free, including accessing the materials, registering, tuition, and a certificate of completion. And you are free to reuse materials in any way (e.g., in teaching).

Simply go to http://storiesweliveby.org.uk to access all the main materials. You can work through the course at your own pace.

The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that we live by: stories of consumerism, infinite economic growth, progress and human separation from nature. This course provides linguistic tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories to live by.

The course examines a great variety of texts from advertisements, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese haiku. In each case, the question is whether the underlying stories encourage us to care about other people and the ecosystems that life depends on. Each section covers a type story (ideologies, framings, metaphors, evaluations, identities, convictions, erasure and salience) with notes, exercises, videos and (for those who register) discussion groups, tuition and additional materials.

Register to access additional materials, take part in discussion groups, contact a tutor or apply for a completion certificate.

Tuition is offered by International Ecolinguistics Association volunteer tutors. They are experts in ecolinguistics, each with their own research specialism, and can offer help and advice in 12 different languages.

Who produced the course? Arran Stibbe, Reader in Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, working with a team of volunteers. Arran has a PhD in linguistics and MSc in human ecology. He is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association and author of Animals Erased: discourse, ecology and reconnection with nature and Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by (Routledge). He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for teaching excellence and has published widely on ecolinguistics.

 

 

Storytelling events

Ecobardic is a key term for Awen, summing up a lot about who we are, what we stand for and what we do. ‘Bardic’ of course means performance, and for many of the authors, performance is integral to who they are as well as being a significant influence on written work.

Storytelling is itself a highly sustainable form of entertainment, and one that we can assume has been with us since the beginnings of human civilization. Once there are fires and people to sit in circle around them, stories must follow. And so at Awen we’re keen to promote storytelling and live events. Do get in touch via the comments if you’d like us to promote anything for you.

BALLAD TALES BOOK LAUNCH
Friday 9 June
at OpenHouse, Stroud (The British School) Gloucestershire.
7pm.
Celebrating the launch of Ballad Tales: an anthology of British Ballads retold from The History Press, with a showcase of stories and songs from a selection of contributors including Candia McCormack, Kevan Manwaring, Chantelle Smith, Anthony Nanson, Kirsty Hartsiotis and Nimue Brown.

A TIME OF LIGHT: STORYTELLING ON THE SOLSTICE
Wednesday 21 June
at Thistledown Farm, Nympsfield, Gloucestershire.
7.30pm.
This summer solstice – the longest day of the year – Thistledown Farm invites you to a storytelling celebration of midsummer. Join Fiona Eadie for an engaging evening of seasonal stories, myths and folktales. Ticket price includes either a soft drink / hot drink / small glass of wine.

TALES OF WITCHCRAFT AND WONDER
Friday 23-Sunday 25 June: SOLD OUT

Inkubus Sukkubus’ have sought out a fascinating, historic – and haunted – location for 2017. It will be a weekend of wonders, with, on the Saturday night, a cornucopia of delights: Kevan and Chantelle, as Brighid’s Flame, will be telling bardic tales and song, then after a feast, will be Kirsty and Anthony performing dark tales of the Forest and Welsh borders – then the band will be launching their new album Belas Knap in a wonderful acoustic set.

BATH STORYTELLING CIRCLE
Monday 19 June

at The Raven, Queen Street, Bath
8pm. Ballad Tales launch special! Come and hear songs and stories the ballad tradition. Supporting the oral tradition through performances of stories, songs and poems (from memory, not read). Organised by David Metcalfe. Free, arrive 8.00pm for 8.15pm start. For further information call 01225-789439.

 

A Website with a Purpose

by Anthony Nanson

 

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve recreated the Awen website using more up-to-date software. It’s responsive now on mobile devices, you can order books directly from us via Paypal, and we’re making sure it has plenty of interesting information to advance the cause of ecobardic writing.

The homepage and About page outline in brief Awen’s mission to promote quality writing that ‘engages with the world’ – a phrase intended to convey the idea of a reciprocal relationship between literature and life: writing can draw inspiration and urgency from what’s going on in the world, and reading it can flip you back into the world with a new facets of insight and commitment. This includes our relations with the natural world, for sure, but also aspects of society and the bigger picture of spirituality. It’s a broad-church vision of engagement and  connection, not a narrow sectarian prescription.

There’s more detail about that in An Ecobardic Manifesto – the entire text of which can be found on the website. The original pamphlet of this document has nearly sold out; we may reprint it sometime, but it seems more important to have it available to as many people as possible online.

The website has lots of information about Awen’s authors and our books currently in print and on sale. We’re uploading contents pages and samples of text from each book so people can get a better idea what’s in the books. The author page of the late Mary Palmer includes a bibliography and links to a video of her performing, two poems written in her honour when she died, and the entire text of my short literary biography of her (printed in the second edition of her book Iona). This suite of pages is intended to be a lasting memorial online to Mary and her poetry.

There’s still plenty of work to do on this new website. Search engine optimisation, for example, is a fiddly business that is still underway. The facility to buy books by Paypal is up and running; please do use it! We hope soon to install an alternative credit-card payment option as well. A slate of new editions of Awen titles are coming back into print this year, plus a brand new title from Jeremy Hooker. Look out for information about them on this blog and on the website when they’re published.

Visit the site here – https://www.awenpublications.co.uk

Fire Springs and Awen

Fire Springs is a company of storytellers who have worked together since 2000. There’s a significant overlap between Fire Springs and Awen – all of the founder members – Kevan Manwaring, David Metcalfe, Anthony Nanson, and Kirsty Hartsiotis – as well as Richard Selby, who joined in 2003, have work published at Awen. The group’s newest member is folk singer Chantelle Smith.

On the Fire Springs website, the group defines itself in the following terms:

“Fire Springs members aim to –

Fire the imagination of adults and children

Inspire transformation in individuals and groups

Reach different audiences with new and traditional tales

Empower others to tell their own stories

Our artistic roots, as a group, are in the bardic arts – performance storytelling, poetry and song. Individually, our backgrounds are in writing, musicianship and painting, and in education, publishing, the natural sciences, archaeology and art history.

Our performances bring certain artistic qualities found in ancient and modern bardic practice together with the recognition of the centrality, in our time, of the relationship between humankind and the global ecosystem.

We published An Ecobardic Manifesto in 2008 – a vision for the arts in a time of environmental crisis. A well as being a mission statement for ourselves, this draws attention to the considerable ‘ecobardic’ work that diverse artists have already accomplished and raises a cry for more work of this kind.”

That Ecobardic Manifesto can be read on the Awen website – http://www.awenpublications.co.uk/manifesto.html

Find out more about Firesprings here – http://www.firesprings.org.uk/index.html