From Steve Parks at Syracuse University:
Civic Writing: London will invite students to become involved in an international community writing project based in London, but linked to Paris and Milan. The goal of the project is to save over 40 years of self-published working class writing produced from the 1970’s to the 2010’s. Using their own words, edited by themselves, these writers documented how the working class responded to the collapse of traditional industries, the global immigration which enriched their communities, and came to recognize of the importance of issues such as race, gender, and disability. Indeed, their work has been called one of the most important writing projects of the 20th century. And at the height of their production, over 1,000,000 books circulated through underground channels across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.
Yet, the economic crises of 2008 wrecked havoc on this network. And until last year, many of these publications were scattered across the continents, left moldering in basements and attics.
Students in this course will be part of the effort to save and archive these publications. Working with archivists and community writers, they will help to build an archive of this work at London Metropolitan University. They will meet and work with some of the London based writing groups that were part of this international writing/publishing community. And they will help plan a writing festival which will help bring back together many of these writers from across the UK. Finally, in the spirit of those writers, students will work collaboratively to produce their own book of writing to circulate in the USA and UK. Through readings, practices, and partnerships, then, this will give students an international experience as well as a network of international writers and scholars.
Please consider passing this information along to your students—undergrads interested in the Civic Writing: London course can contact Steve Parks or Jess Pauszek with questions. Click here for the course website. Completed applications are due February 20, 2016.