Openly Gaia.

Openly Gaia.

I am honoured to be part of the panoply of poets and writers on Saturday. This is my first ever academic conference so I will be on my best behavior and will try not to break any of the furniture.



Montreal, Quebec, Canada: March 3, 2009

Scholars, artists, and activists from across North America will be converging on Montreal on Friday March 13 and Saturday March 14 to present their papers and poems which address and attempt to make sense of the various meanings of ‘sustainability’. A University of Montreal conference, ‘Sense and Sustainability’ plays on Jane Austen’s title to examine all aspects of sustainability in literature past and present, from sustaining the ‘self’ to sustaining environments.

Thirty scholars from across North America will meet on Friday to present and discuss their papers with titles like ‘Green Morality: Ecological and Ecocritical Redemption in The Lord of the Rings’, and ‘Katherine Mansfield and the Ecology of Feminine Space’. The keynote speaker is a University of Montreal alumnus, Clive Doucet, poet and author of Urban Meltdown.

Thirty creative writers and performers from across North America will meet on Saturday. Led by local celebrities Gail Scott, Sina Queryas, Mary Soderstrom, Ann Diamond, and Ian Ferrier, they will present and discuss their work. The closing speaker is Algonquin Elder, Jacob Wawatie, Director of Kokomville Academy who will present clips from Le Peuple Invisible.

Free lunch and coffee are provided between presentations and artists, activists, scholars, the public, and the press are invited to continue their conversations as they dine.

Conference organiser, Chris Dilworth, a doctoral candidate who studies cybernetics in literature, says that “as the present ecological and economic crises demonstrate, the consumer-economic model is fatally flawed. We have to start looking for other models of sustainability. We must re-examine our relationship to technology.” He adds that “only art provides an ‘essential reflection upon technology and [a] decisive confrontation with it’; art makes sense of sustainability”.

‘Sense and Sustainability’ is the sixth annual conference hosted by the English Graduate Students Society of the English Studies Department at the University of Montreal. Department Chair, Robert Schwartzwald, received the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies on May 31, 2008. Research at the Department focuses on British, Canadian, and American literature; it offers both MA and Ph.D. degrees.

Contact information:

The Conference website is at:

Press contact S&S Co-Chair (e-mail only):
Chris Dilworth

Event contact S&S Co-Chair (Academic)
Brigitte Boudreau:

Event contact S&S Co-Chair (Creative)
Kevin D’Abramo:

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