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03 June 2021

New Research: What’s Happening For Writers in the Solent Region?

The Solent region* is both ancient and modern. From the history of Winchester and the Jurassic coast, to industrial ports and Spinnaker Tower, the texture of this region is rich with possibility. But in an area so disparate, local writers have commented that writing support can feel disconnected, lacking a sense of belonging to a wider region. 

This summer, ArtfulScribe is conducting research into just what support is on offer for local writers. Who is providing that support? How have writers benefited from it? What are key examples of best practice? What kinds of writers call Solent home? This research, supported by funding from the Southampton Institute for Arts and Humanities, will be undertaken with a view to forming a local network of organisations, producers, and writers, to collaborate and support a region where writers and writing can flourish.

Director of ArtfulScribe, Matt West, said, “As well as the creation of a regional literature network, this study will provide the foundation from which to better understand what writers in the Solent region really need and how ArtfulScribe would be best positioned to facilitate that support. We’re excited about the potential growth this additional insight offers to both local writers and providers of literature development activities.”

Organising the study is researcher and poet, Joanna Nissel. Joanna will be joining ArtfulScribe on a longer-term basis as part of her SWWDTP Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD Studentship, focusing on ‘Mentoring Practices in the Contemporary UK Poetry Ecology’.

“This research offers a fantastic start to a longer discussion about writing provision in the contemporary writing landscape, building from my PhD supervisor Dr Will May’s “Invisible Mentors” projects and the Poetry Ambassadors Scheme co-run with Winchester Poetry Festival. I’m feeling very lucky to lead on research with the potential to genuinely foster greater connection and support for writers in the Solent region.”

If you are interested in taking part in this research, please email Joanna at survey@artfulscribe.co.uk. Please state in your email whether you would prefer to simply contribute to a survey, or whether you would also be open to deeper conversations or interviews. We will only contact you for this purpose.

*For the purposes of this research, the Solent region spans from Basingstoke in the north, Isle of Wight in the south, Portsmouth in east, and Portland in west, and also including Salisbury.


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