About the Field Studies Program
GRAND MANAN FIELD STUDIES The Field Studies in Writing Program on Grand Manan brings students from the University of Arizona Creative Writing Program to Grand Manan Island in the Canadian Maritimes over the course of five summers (2015-2019).The pilot program is made possible by the appointment of Professor Alison Hawthorne Deming as Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in Environment and Social Justice. On the island students work on research and writing to create place-based literature that explores how the arts and literature can contribute to our understanding of environment and climate change. With a population of 2500 year-round residents, Grand Manan has a 200-year history of traditional fisheries, now undergoing profound changes due to decline of fish–and recently a dramatic increase in lobsters—in the North Atlantic. The project engages with island youth to mentor them in telling their stories of coming of age in this place where sustainability of the local culture is deeply tied to the sustainability of marine life. FIELD STUDIES SOUTHWEST In 2017 the University of Arizona Creative Writing Program launched a companion program, Field Studies Southwest, supported by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program Environment and Social Justice. MFA students will spend two weeks in southern Arizona exploring how literary and documentary arts can create humane responses to environmental, social justice and border issues in the region. The new southwest project is coordinated by recent MFA alumnus (and Grand Manan Field Studies alum) Paco Cantú. Associate Professor Susan Briante serves as faculty facilitator. Ethnobotanist and Patagonia resident Gary Paul Nabhan also serves as consultant. Participants work in collaboration with the Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute, a program sponsored by the Borderlands Habitat Network, engaging marginalized youth in hands-on restoration work of the local ecosystem while providing leadership and educational opportunities. In March two MFA participants joined with graduate students from the Wake Forest University School of Theology, under the leadership of Fred Bahnson, author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, to visit the Native Seeds/ Search farm in Patagonia and the Kino Border Initiative in preparation for the summer program. Posts from students in both projects are found in this site’s Blog.
The Team 2017
Field Studies Grand Manan
The Team 2017
Field Studies Southwest
ABBY DOCKTER is an MFA candidate in Creative Nonfiction from Farmington, New Mexico. She spent a few years following field and lab science jobs up and down the Rockies, and currently writes as a science communicator for the Institute of the Environment. Her most irresistible interests are (pre)history and ethnobotany, how we change our surroundings and how they in turn change us. She enjoys long, dry archaeological reports, and usually hikes with poetry.