Glasgow Literature and Film was the topic of the very first fielded discussion to happen at an IATEFL/British Council Online Conference and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to John McRae for fielding it. The compilation of the discussion will soon be available as a pdf file at the Literature, Media and Cultural Studies (LMCS) Discussion List.
This was also the theme of the LMCS Pre-Conference Event and here is a summary of the presentations there.
We started the day with David A. Hill‘s presentation where he explored the multicultural aspects of Glasgow’s life. However, instead of focussing on the the old and well-documented dichotomy between Scottish Protestants and Irish Catholics, he made us look at the Asian communities in Glasgow and how they are represented and get their voice in the writings of a new generation of Glasgow writers such as Suhayl Saadi. The workshop ended with three extremely well-chosen scenes of Ken Loch’s film Ae Found Kiss where all the tensions and identity issues faced by second or third generations of Asian immigrants’ descendents are brought to the screen.
David was followed by Alan Pulverness who took a close look at James Kelman’s novel Kieron Smith, boy. According to Alan, Kelman is perhaps one of the most brilliant and one of the most underrated British contemporary writers and the book, even if difficult and challenging at the beginning, grows on the reader and becomes a rewarding reading experience. I will leave you to judge it for yourselves Kieron Smith, boy
Lunch break and in the afternoon we came back to a session with Prof. Alan Riach, from the University of Glasgow who took us on a time journey, from the early settlement on the banks of the Clyde to the contemporary Glasgow, through the voices of its poets – from John Mayne (1759–1836), to Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978) to Tom Leonard (1944-).
Then came the greatest attraction of the day: Liz Lockhead, the Scottish National Poet. She read us the poem she wrote for the Commonwealth conference and which she read herself to Queen and all the countries’ dignitaries at th Westminster Abbey. You can read the poem here too. Connecting Cultures
Saying that Liz is a great poet is just stating the obvious. What I personally liked about her is that she was ‘genuine’ – she did not put on airs just because she is famous, which she could rightly do; on the contrary, she was relaxed, friendly and extremely funny.
Last, but not least, came Daniel Xerri who talked about who he is exploring the concept of poetry at liminal, transient places, such as means of transport, to promote creative writing with students. His idea was based on an initiative by Glasgow Subway and the work on John Rice with school children in Glasgow.
Honestly, I think this was the best LMCS PCE I have attended so far – it was diverse, dynamic and brought in voices of people from outside the ELT world, which I think is invigorating and refreshing.