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FREE | Monstrous Words: Writing and Incoherence

July 27, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am EDT

Monstrous Words- Writing and Incoherence

Join us for an online, collaborative, and critical making session at Winchester School of Art

About this event

‘Language is the first and last structure of madness, its constituent form; on language are based all cycles in which madness articulates its nature.’

– Michel Foucault, Madness & Civilization

In this workshop we will be writing together, using this creative work as an opportunity to talk, reflect, and think critically together about our practice and the world. The workshop is open to people of all backgrounds and with all levels of experience (in writing or in critical theory). Come as you are!

Join artist Rebecca Jagoe in a play with language and writing incoherence. Incoherence can be expressed in writing on many levels, for instance in terms of narrative, in the sense of neologisms (for instance in the different spellings of Middle English), or in the transcription of nonverbal sound into roman or other characters. We will think together about how a language deficit or specific forms of speech have been used to deny access to the category of human. This means we will also be writing in defiance of the idea of rationality and knowability—not only of subjects, but of the ability of language to catalogue and define them. We will work towards what Erin Manning (2020) calls pragmatics of the useless; ‘the way the work’s work eludes us, escapes us, the way it delays the affirmation of its tenuous apparition, the way it touches us, in the lag’ (p. 15).

The workshop will include:

  • An introduction to language, madness, and writing incoherence (20 minutes)
  • Two writing exercises (15 minutes each) with time after for sharing and discussion
  • Time at the end of the workshop for further honing and discussion (30 minutes)

No advance preparation is needed.

This workshop is part of the ‘Creative Posthumanism’ project. Details of the online meeting link will be sent to participants in advance of the session. Audio transcription will be provided during the workshop.

Workshop Facilitators

Rebecca Jagoe (@r_jagoe_) is an autistic artist based in Wales, whose practice encompasses performance, sculpture, textiles, writing, and drawing. Their work is a material memoir which examines how their own experiences of illness, madness and gender have been informed by specific Western cultural narratives shaped in the late medieval period. In particular, they aim to deconstruct the Western notion of what constitutes the human, and its relationship to language and monstrosity. They are on the Freelands Fellowship at g39 in Cardiff and currently producing an online broadcast performance with Site Gallery based on the medieval text The Peterborough Lapidary. In 2021 their work was shown in The Drawing Room in London, Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, and EKKM in Tallinn. In 2020, their work was shown online by Wysing (Cambridge, UK) and La Casa Encedida (Madrid, Spain), and they performed at CCA Goldsmiths (London, UK) before lockdown. They have recently shown work at Jupiter Woods (London, 2019)), South London Gallery (2019), and the Whitechapel Gallery (London, 2018). Their writing has been published by A Shade Colder, Hotel magazine, the Happy Hypocrite, and Frieze magazine, among others.

The Creative Posthumanism Team

Megen de Bruin-Molé (@MegenJM) is a Lecturer in Digital Media Practice with the University of Southampton. Her book Gothic Remixed (Bloomsbury 2020) examines remix culture through the lens of monster studies, and her co-edited collection Embodying Contagion (UWP/Open Access 2021) explores how fantastical metaphors of contagion have infiltrated the way news media, policymakers and the general public view the real world and the people within it. Megen is also an editor of the Genealogy of the Posthuman, an Open Access initiative curated by the Critical Posthumanism Network. Read more about her work on her blog:

H Frances Hallam (@cephalopodlit) is an AHRC Techne-funded PhD candidate at the University of Surrey. Their project explores ocean ecologies in contemporary Science Fiction. They explore how these texts figure decolonial, queer and ecocritical storytelling for environmental justice in the Atlantic, addressing coral bleaching, deep-sea oil mining and the seabed ecologies of the Middle Passage. Too, they explore the way sea creature embodiments are used as an expression of queer, multispecies futurity.


Virtual Event


Creative Posthumanism

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The Valley of Writers team scours the web looking for the most inspiring, elevating, and accessible events that we can share as a service to our readers.
The big idea is that in a virtual arena, more people can participate. Geographical boundaries matter less.
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What qualifies an event as ‘lit’? Any event that we think would teach writers of fiction, memoir, and poetry useful skills, inspire them to produce great work, remind them of the power of this work we do and build stronger, mutually beneficial ties between writers and other creatives.

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