The third biennial PGCWWN conference set out to explore the ways in which contemporary women writers engage with and conceptualise notions of time and space in their work. Attended by over fifty delegates from all over the world including Canada, Italy, Austria and the United States the conference provided a diverse range of voices and perspectives on contemporary women writers’ engagement with the temporal and spatial. The panels of papers were varied and dynamic with sessions on gendering ecological space, violent and traumatic spaces and domestic landscapes to name but a few that focused on the spatial thematics of writer’s work. The discussions of time were just as lively with considerations of queer time, historical narratives and children’s time travel fiction all proving enlightening topics for reflection. It became clear that the focus of the conference had acknowledged a key concern in contemporary women’s writing and one that is alive with a rich variety of postgraduate research today.
The two keynote addresses both succeeded in supplying stimulating material with Professor Ann Heilmann (University of Hull) opening the conference whilst the poet Gwyneth Lewis followed with an equally engaging talk on day two. By bringing together female voices from the world of academia and poetry, these two keynotes added to the breadth and vitality of the conference. Proceedings concluded with a Career Development Workshop led by Professor Mark Llewellyn (University of Strathclyde). The workshop was a fascinating and incredibly useful session for first year PhD students like myself through to early-career researchers. The workshop covered a range of topics that included building your professional profile, the dissemination and impact of your work and the importance of public engagement. The comprehensive scope of the workshop combined with the realistic and honest opinions of Professor Llewellyn was reassuring, informative and it meant everybody left the conference with even more to reflect upon aside from the provocative questions raised by the individual papers delivered.
Overall, Time and Space was a highly successful conference. The structure of the two days provided numerous opportunities for delegates to network and build new relationships. Likewise, the well-thought out organisation ensured smooth running and easy accessibility to the accommodation and University for all participants. The quality of all the papers ensured that discussions and ideas were continually flowing and the atmosphere of the event was one of positivity, warmth and of a blossoming community.
Emma Young, University of Leicester