Informatics: What am I doing here?

Most of this morning was spent reading about various Informatics research projects online and emailing people to set up meetings for next week. I watched a podcast of Nigel Topham talking about his work on micro computer chips and one of Sethu Vijayakumar talking about his research into robots and motion. I finally found the name of the foam-spike padded chamber I saw yesterday (hemi-anechoic chamber), and started tracking down information about an intriguing-looking project called the ‘Bloomsbury Machine’. Continue reading “Informatics: What am I doing here?”

Informatics: the residency begins

Day One started – as all sensible plans do – with a trip round the Forum admin & HR offices to have my passport photocopied so my contract could be set up, temporary office space designated, and relevant keys and swipe-cards procured. With all that swiftly out the way, I went to see Prof. Jon Oberlander and touch-base on the plans for the next year. Jon have and I worked on the Leverhume Trust artist-in-residence application together over the last year, and he has been an invaluable support in making this residency happen, and discussing the various shapes it could take. He’d previously taken me on a tour of the different levels of the Forum and talked about the different research institutes, so this morning we went on an exploratory visit to the labs down in the basement. Continue reading “Informatics: the residency begins”

Dirty Laundry #5

Today I will wait by the roadside – suitcase in hand – until the pale morning sun is welling up over the trees and my legs are patching blue from the stillness and eventually my heads will bounce down and my fingers will loosen. When this happens, the latch on the small suitcase will spring open – imbued with the kinetic joy of bouncing three times in the gutter – and I will stare at the clothes it reveals, sore and blinking from lack of rest, forgetting that I’m not supposed to recognise any of them. Continue reading “Dirty Laundry #5”

The Memory Garden

Wow. Over the last two days myself, Linda France and our wonderful volunteers Rob Haughton, Sherezade Garcia-Rangel and Susan Giles have managed to gather over 350 memories about gardens: written on luggage tags by visitors to our Memory Garden and tied onto our two saplings, birch and larch. The memories will now be anonymised and turned into a piece of public art by myself and Linda. It was lovely to see so many people at our little Gateshead-gazebo by the Swing Bridge and we were proud to be a part of the Bridges Festival, especially when we saw the pyrotechnics extravaganza on Saturday night and the finished version of Lord Armstrong’s Lost Garden on the Swing Bridge on Sunday.

Over the weekend we were proper chuffed that so many people of all ages came and shared memories of gardens they’ve known and loved, gardeners who have inspired them, things that happened to them in gardens, and about pushing each other in frog ponds. Continue reading “The Memory Garden”

The Memory Garden @ Bridges Festival(13/14 August 2011)

This weekend is the inaugural Bridges Festival in Newcastle-Gateshead and NCLA and Beacon NE will be running a Memory Garden at the Gateshead end of the Swing Bridge with myself and the poet Linda France as writers-in-residence.

We want you to bring along your memories of finding a garden and losing yourself in it. Can you remember the first time you planted a bulb? Picked a wildflower? Fell out of a tree?  Who did you last talk to in a garden? Can you remember what you did last summer? We’ll be eagerly waiting with our team of helpful volunteers between 10-8 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.

In the memory garden you will find a variety of prompts to get you thinking and remembering. Leave us an audio recording of a memory, or write one down and hang it in our miniature memory orchard. Continue reading “The Memory Garden @ Bridges Festival(13/14 August 2011)”

Teaching: Newcastle University International Summer School (NUISS) 2011

For the fourth year running I’ve been teaching the prose element of the Newcastle University International Summer School (NUISS) creative writing module (with Stevie Ronnie taking able care of the poetry element). This morning was my final seminar with Nathalie and Elina, and tomorrow I’m nipping across the border to teach on the SUISS creative writing course. I’ve had a lot of fun over the last three weeks and hopefully some of that will have translated into my students sharing my joy in writing, ducklings, secondhand books, coffee breaks and talking to other writers about their work. Continue reading “Teaching: Newcastle University International Summer School (NUISS) 2011”

Thank You

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the delight of getting to thank the people who have helped me make the journey from starting my PhD to successfully graduating. That ranges from my supervisors Dr Andrew Crumey and Dr James Procter – whose understanding and encouragement kept me on track and whose critical vigilance kept me focused – to the emotional and editorial support of friends, family and flatmates: I owe a particular debt of gratitude to everyone who read and commented on the various drafts over the years. To everyone at the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University – especially my fellow PhD students and the creative writing staff – thank you all and it has been a pleasure studying with you (since I’m staying on at the department for the next year as part-time Creative Writing Development Officer for the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, I’m relieved not to be saying goodbye). Continue reading “Thank You”

Interview with me in Mailout Magazine

The August/September issue of Mailout Magazine is now available, including a interview with your truly about my most recent project, Write Around the Toon. As Mailout phrase it in the intro:

‘Write Around The Toon (WATT) is a self-guided creative writing tour based in Newcastle-Gateshead, which recognises the powerful potential creative writing holds for young people. Resulting from a series of short writing residencies in cultural venues across the region Victoria Adams, newly appointed Creative Writing Development Officer of Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts and founder of WATT, speaks to mailout about the only tour where action doesn’t speak louder than (written) words.’ Continue reading “Interview with me in Mailout Magazine”

Dr Viccy

It’s official: I am now Dr Adams (PhD in Creative Writing, Newcastle University)

My thesis was titled Doing It by The Book: The Uses of Paratext in Creating Expectation and Determining Structural Genre in Contemporary British Fiction. As is traditional for a creative-practice thesis, it was split into two parts on a roughly 30:70 formula. The first part was a critical essay exploring the relationships between author, publisher, technology and markets. The second part was a book-length hybrid between a collection of interlinked short stories and a novel, called Steal This Book.

Scarlett Thomas and Prof. Sean O’Brien were my viva examiners back in May and said kind things about my writing in their Joint Report such as ‘The book is crisply and economically written, with a vein of dark humour’ and  ‘Steal This Book is clearly publishable, combining strong formal interest with readability’. Continue reading “Dr Viccy”

Informatics: Leverhulme Trust writer-in-residence blog

I’m delighted to announce that from September 2011 I will be the Leverhulme Trust writer-in-residence at the School of Informatics, Edinburgh University.

I’ve been working on the application with Prof. Jon Oberlander for the last year, and it’s really exciting that I’m being given the opportunity to explore all the exciting ideas we’ve been chatting about. Continue reading “Informatics: Leverhulme Trust writer-in-residence blog”