Here is how we described the IHUK 2020 and 2021 online Summerschools:
IHUK 2020 – Times Shifting
Times Shifting was our response to pandemic times. Unable to take groups of young writers to historical sites of interest in the company of writers and arts educators, we did the only thing we could. With the help of our collaborators at the Young Norfolk Arts Festival, and from the ranks of previous shortlisted writers and winners of the Young Walter Scott Prize, we recruited a group of young artists to explore the historical moment of the pandemic and to use it as a source for their writing.
The writers were guided by the IHUK team in ways to create and share collections of ephemera, snippets, highly personal impressions and momentary inspirations from their lived experience of the time. They were given up to 2,000 words each with which to create their response to that collection. To see the proposal we made to prospective writers, click here.
In February 2021 an anthology Times Shifting – New Voices from a Changed World was published. Click through to here digital versions of the writers’ works. Follow their names to their writing and their personal observations of writing for Times Shifting.
Real life copies of the anthology are available by contacting ImaginingHistoryUK@outlook.com.
Times Shifting presents a chance both to step into and back from the immediacy of experience, to sift and comprehend events of great magnitude, and transform these into poetry and prose that snatch snapshots from a maelstrom of opinion, emotion and experience. Elizabeth Ferretti – writer, researcher and tutor on Times Shifting.
…it meant such a lot to me to be invited to this project. I really believe that having our Zoom meetings and writing prompts to look forward to each week has been greatly beneficial to my mental health, especially during such uncertain times. Along with the irresistible prospect of writing again, the chance to meet new people and explore creative processes as a healthy outlet and escape from everyday life was a big draw to the project, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. So, many thanks for providing this opportunity to us as a group, and to the new groups which will soon follow suit. It has also been a valuable chance to reflect on myself as a writer and how my own personal experiences can be translated into fiction, which was certainly something I had never done before.RBJ YWSP winner 2015
IHUK 2021 – summer adventures in time travel re-imagined for a changed world
During July 2021, the Imagining History team led five workshops with young writers from all over the UK, each looking at a different aspect of the research and development of Historical Fiction. The IHUK team were interested in examining the broad idea of historical change and how people view themselves and their lives as things change around them.
This project is based in and around the Duke of Buccleuch’s family home of Boughton. It was built in the 17th Century, and apart from housing extraordinary collections of art and craft, it has observed the development of our modern world.
We examine how country houses contain traces of the real lives of the people who have lived here, arrived here, left from here. In the things that they touched, in what they observed happening around them and in the journeys they undertook, they played their part in making the world of today.
As a Historical Fiction writer, you seek to develop ideas based on your research that shed light on our lives now. We will send your writer’s 7 senses on a journey of discovery into how ideas and events in the world of today reach back into the past.
Boughton Journey has been excellent. It’s a gold mine to be among other peiople actually write and value it: ideas are sparked out of me, and we bat around things I would never have thought of…Liz’s exercises were among the best bits: they trigger too much to fit in my head!EJ YWSP shortlister 2019
We are deeply grateful to the house management team at Boughton for their support both factual and practical in the making of this project.
The Library at Innerpeffray is Scotland’s first free lending library. Since 1680 its doors have been open to anyone who wanted to borrow books and expand their horizons. And since 1680 it has kept records of everybody who has borrowed a book and which books they borrowed – an early kind of data collection which allows us to get an idea of how important books, reading and shared imagination was to all kinds of people, not only those who could afford books.
This is about books, the stories of books and the stories of those whose eyes followed the words on the page. The books borrowed from this library carry the biographies and back-stories of the people who held them – such as the ancient volume which has the worn indentation of countless index-fingers in its leather cover. Why this book? Why did so many borrowers want to hold it tight as they walked, sometimes many miles, home from the library?
If you love books, the making of books, the magic life of books and the collecting of books this project is for you. We will link you up online with the Library’s own bookworms – volunteers and staff who have spent years knowing more and more about the collections. You will travel in time to Scotland and discover the stories that surround books of stories.
We are excited to have the participation of Lara Haggerty, the 42nd Keeper of Books at the Library at Innerpeffray. She will introduce the history of the library by examining four extraordinary artefacts contained within it’s walls.
Times Shifting has two parts. It is an exploration of the ‘historic’ changes that we have all experienced – are experiencing. It is also a mind-expanding way of exploring the contemporary world as if it were a Historical period – collecting data and making connections. As each day passes, it recedes into the past. Life changes and details are lost and remembered as if they occurred in a very different world.
During a series of zoom sessions, we guide you in observing the world around you and your recent experiences with the idea that you are building the thing that a Historical Fiction writer absolutely needs – a primary source for their ideas.
At the end of your explorations of now we send you into an imagined future and ask you to write looking back to the world of today as if it were the past.
I thought I should send my thanks for the whole IHUK2021 experience. I feel I’ve gained a lot from Time Shifting. I’ve learnt many things and have, as well, been given helpful advice from those in the zoom. From how to battle against blank points and how to portray time changing in the views of different people/beings to grant the reader more information, giving the plot more ‘meat on the bone’, to name just a few.TW, YWSP highly commended 2020