Ecobardic Desire: Storytelling and Storywriting as Catalysts of Transformation in People’s Relationship with the More-than-Human World

Nanson, John (2023) Ecobardic Desire: Storytelling and Storywriting as Catalysts of Transformation in People’s Relationship with the More-than-Human World. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/7RK3P8X4

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This thesis reviews a Collection of six critical and seven creative works submitted for a PhD by publication addressing how storywriting and (oral) storytelling can help facilitate transformative responses to ecological crisis. The thesis unravels the main strands of reflective practice that run through the Collection and describes the original and significant contributions the publications accomplish. The creative work comprises 84 stories and one novel (Deep Time), occupying a spectrum between oral storytelling and literary fiction, that extend the range and nuance of narrative engagement with ecology. Pioneering critical writings, including an award-winning academic monograph (Storytelling and Ecology), explain the capacity of embodied oral storytelling to facilitate caring connection among people, place, and other living beings. Further critical writings advocate for creative work that sustains utopian hope against the impetus of neoliberal capitalism and dystopian expectation towards ecocatastrophe. A model is presented whereby both oral and prose stories can facilitate transformative responsivity by providing ‘structures of space’ charged with ‘patterns of desire’. The interplay of innovation and intertextuality in the creative works is unpacked in relation to experimenting with unusual oral genres, reconstructing Gloucestershire’s fragmentary legendarium of folktales, and political concerns tending to constrain creative possibility. Field exploration of storied landscapes is shown to have channelled embodied experience of the living world into the creative works. The most developed pathway of innovative creative work in the Collection is in narratives of ecological and evolutionary history; the palaeoecology of deep time is explored encyclopedically in Deep Time as a frame for comprehending the scale of human ecological impact. Finally, an argument is made for the relevance of stories of ‘supernatural ecology’ to advancing more potent responsiveness to ecological crisis. The thesis concludes by discussing synergies of oral and written narrative that serve the education of desire necessary to the transformation the crisis requires.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Storytelling; Storywriting; Transformation; Ecological crisis; Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Kamila Niekoraniec
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 11:28
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 11:28

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