A new writing workshop from the University of Guelph is helping the next generation rethink environmental and human disasters, from an arts and sciences perspective.
The Young Environmental Science Writers Workshop is a week-long immersive event teaching participants how to interact with the natural world through both environmental science and creative writing.
From July 18 to July 22, youth ages 15 to 25 will engage with environmental science researchers, creative writers, and Indigenous knowledge keepers on different topics and perspectives. They will also get to create and produce their own creative writing.
Deadline to register is June 24.
The event is being hosted at the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER) and at the rare Charitable Research Reserve. During that week, transportation for participants will be provided between sites.
Madhur Anand is a professor in the school of environmental sciences and director of the GIER at the University of Guelph who is involved with the workshop. She said anyone passionate about learning should consider applying.
“It's going to be very personal and allow people to bring their personal perspectives, but people are also going to learn about the environment," said Anand. "This is one of the rare places, where in a short period of time, you will get exposure to many different environmental systems, and get some tips on how to be a better writer."
She adds there is no prerequisite to join the workshop and the application process is easy.
“The hope of this type of workshop is to break down silos, and so, we wanted to break down any expectations of what a high school student can achieve versus what a university student can achieve," said Anand. "My experience is that anyone can come to creative work and achieve, and that's the same way with science."
While the workshop is free for participants, there are a limited number of spaces available. Youth from the Wellington Region, Waterloo Region, Halton Region and Hamilton can apply for the event at uoguelph.ca until Friday.
“We may offer it again, we may offer it more frequently, knowing people are interested in this is important for us,” said Anand.
"We'll see what happens with that, but I would love to produce a zine through GIER and create a community and to create a space to share this type of work."
As a scientist and creative writer, Anand said this program also provides an opportunity for both disciplines to interact.
“It sort of strikes me still that there are so few opportunities for that to happen, to have scientists and artists in the same room talking to each other about what they do, and I think, the shared interest of science.” she said.
With many ongoing environmental crises happening, Anand said she sees an opportunity for arts and sciences to come together in order to work on these challenges.
“It was two combined pillars of A, seeing what amazing things can happen when artists and scientists come together, and B, realizing that we do actually have to come together to solve these environmental crises is what inspired me to take this on.”