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Leicester Cultural Quarter’s post-industrial past to be explored through creative writing

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Leicester Cultural Quarter’s post-industrial past to be explored through creative writing


Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Communities and also in Education, Environment

Talented writers will be able to tell the untold stories of the post-industrial past of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, thanks to a new University of Leicester project.

The University of Leicester’s School of English is commissioning writers to produce work which explores the emotional bonds and personal connections people have with former industrial buildings in two landmark East Midlands sites.

The Centre for New Writing, which is participating in an Arts and Humanities Research Council project called ‘Affective Digital Histories’, is seeking writers who will work with archival material to explore the social changes wrought by manufacturing decline in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter and the Howard Town and Whitfield wards of Glossop, Derbyshire.

During the industrial decline, factories and warehouses were adapted to serve new purposes – including becoming dance halls and rave venues.

This means that people from every walk of life – from factory workers to immigrants to high-income professionals – have passed through these buildings.

The aim of the creative writing commissions is to tap into people’s feelings for these buildings, and will show how communities formed and relationships developed between people from different cultures as the sites’ purposes changed.

The project, ‘Affective Digital Histories: Re-creating De-Industrialised Places, 1970s to the Present’ is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

It is awarding nine commissions – worth £1,100 each – which will cover a range of literary styles.

There will be two commissions for poetry, two for historical narrative non-fiction, two for radio plays, one choreopoem – combining poetry and dance - and two for collections of flash fiction – short pieces of writing, often less than 1,000 words.

Dr Corinne Fowler, Director of the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing, who is leading the project, said: “We are interested in pioneering a technique whereby creative writers work closely with archivists to give a finely-grained and historically nuanced sense of place and of people’s relationships to such places.

“The project is particularly focused on people’s emotional bonds with de-industrial spaces. There is still a lot to learn about how community and intercultural relationships have occurred in the context of urban change.

“Creative writing is uniquely equipped to explore emotional bonds with place and between those who share experiences of being in particular buildings. The commissions will contribute substantially to the task of re-interpreting urban history in the East Midlands.”

For more information about the commissions, please contact Dr Fowler at:

The University’s School of English has a strong history of supporting creative writing – especially through The Centre for New Writing and Grassroutes project, which celebrates Leicestershire’s diverse writing talent.

More information about the Centre for New Writing can be found at:

And more information about Grassroutes can be found at:


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