CFP: The Memory of Trees

Literature and Science Hub, University of Liverpool, 20th April 2017

An interdisciplinary, one-day conference on the cultural representation, study and conservation of trees and woodlands.

Our keynote speaker will be Professor Fiona Stafford (Somerville College, Oxford), author of The Long, Long Life of Trees (2016)

Trees are sites of natural, cultural and personalised memory. Their life-spans can encompass decades of human encounters, experiences and narratives, and this has long made them objects for scientific study and imaginative engagement.

Whilst their rings record generations of arboreal and human co-existence, even today we are still learning about the importance of these entities on a national and global scale.  Research continues on the ‘Wood-Wide-Web’, and we are still shaping our awareness of how trees communicate and support one another via root-systems, and what this could mean for our perception and treatment of them in the future.

In 2017, The Charter for Trees, Woods and People will launch across the UK, on the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest. This charter was signed in 1217 and it aimed to protect the rights of the people to access the Royal Forests. In the coming months, multiple institutions, environmental and cultural partners are coming together to celebrate the beauty and utility of these entities, to consider the memorial value of trees and woods in the public consciousness, and to create a charter that puts these valuable spaces at the heart of decision-making. This new tree charter aims to share the public and personal memories of trees and woodlands, and reinforce their continuing importance in everyday life.

From root-tip to the upper-most branches, trees are at once single entities and part of a much wider community and environment. This one day conference aims to bring together current and different strands of research that focus on trees and woodlands. This event will explore how we shape the ongoing memory of trees, and how trees continue shape our own identity too.

Proposals from any discipline or context are invited. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Representations of trees, forests, or woodland ecologies in Literature or the Visual Arts (of any period or context).

The Wood-Wide-Web: trees and communication.

Woodland and forest ecologies.

Trees, conservation and climate change.

Dendrochronology and woodlands of the past.

Ancient trees, historical and cultural memory.

If you are interested in presenting at this event, please submit a 200-word paper proposal and a short biographical note by 1st March 2017 to Anna Burton at hsaburto@liv.ac.uk General expressions of interest or questions about the event are also welcome. The registration fee is expected to be £20, and will include lunch and refreshments.

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