CFP “Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event”

Posted by Katherine McLeod

SpokenWeb is pleased to announce the CFP for a mini-conference, “Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event” (June 5-6th, 2015, Concordia University).

Download the poster here — CFP – Can Lit Across Media poster — or check out the full details below for paper submissions…


CFP Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event

June 5-6th 2015

SpokenWeb / Department of English, Concordia University

Organized by Dr. Jason Camlot and Dr. Katherine McLeod


As the culmination of the four-year SSHRC IG-funded project SpokenWeb, a mini-conference “Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event” will be held at Concordia University on June 5-6th 2015. It will gather scholars, writers, archivists and media practitioners for an intensive investigation into the past, present, and future of archiving and un-archiving Can Lit across media. The mini-conference expands the methods and research questions that have defined SpokenWeb’s engagement with audio poetry archives and invites scholars working on other media-diverse archives and collections to join the conversation.

For the past four years, SpokenWeb’s interdisciplinary team of researchers has been investigating the poetry reading as event through its audio archives of the Sir George Williams Poetry Series (1965-1974) and development of the PoetryLab mobile app. Building upon SpokenWeb’s mandate to re-activate engagement with audio poetry archives by presenting them in digital environments and public spaces, and motivated by an interest in exploring the range of media formats that have been used to preserve Can Lit since the 1950s, this mini-conference looks ahead to the future of audio-visual archives of literary events and to the un-archiving of materials that document these events and continue to make them available in the present.

With a consideration of events, performances and discussions that occurred before a live audience, or that were broadcast on radio and television, traces of which are now preserved on media ranging from ink-printed publications and documents, drawings, photographs, flat disc records, analogue tape, film, video tape, and digitized files of such media, this mini-conference examines the complex ways in which media records and re-presents literary events — and the methods researchers use to engage with these materials. For example, what are the implications of re-listening to ‘original’ radio broadcasts, re-watching poets on TV? How are poetry readings recorded and how does temporality function in the mediated memory of these live events? How have poetry readings been documented in photographs, drawings, or written newspaper accounts?  How do large-scale digital projects take into account the media-specificity of writers’ archives? What can researchers learn from the archives of publishing houses that include ephemeral objects (advertising materials, bookmarks, etc.) and oral histories that accompany a book’s production? In relation to specific examples of institutional bodies that produce and record literary events, how do the CBC archives represent the CBC’s influence on literary production in Canada? How does literary programming on the CBC continue to broadcast Can Lit across media (print/radio/television/digital)? And what is at stake in unearthing, or rather un-archiving, these materials as literary archives today? Is the act of un-archiving (re-situating an artifact outside the archive) actually an act of de-archiving (rendering the artifact a non-archival object)? What are the practical and theoretical challenges of large-scale projects that archive audio-visual recordings of literary events or occasions, re-insert them into public spaces, and re-present them to new audiences?

We welcome papers that address one or more of these questions from a range of theoretical and methodological frameworks. Sites of inquiry may include the following:

  • readings of literature on radio, television, film, online
  • live readings, literary conversations and interviews and recordings of such events
  • a specific writer whose work has been preserved and/or circulated in multiple media formats
  • reviews across media (newspapers, radio, TV, digital)
  • literary blogs & social media
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Can Lit & CBC Radio/TV/Digital/Radio-Canada
  • public presentation and archival preservation of multi-media poetry formats (tape poetry, video poetry, poetry installations, computer poetry, etc.)
  • artistic collaborations and adaptations of Canadian Literature in multi-media forms (song, dance, music, visual arts)
  • archives of intermedia and Can Lit
  • spaces that have been instrumental for staging literary events
  • digital humanities projects that develop tools and questions of design for the presentation of audio-visual archives
  • archival practices for preserving, searching and navigating audio-visual recordings of literature


Please submit a proposal of 300-500 words, along with a short bio, to Katherine McLeod at <>


Submission deadline: March 1st 2015.

(Responses will be sent within two weeks of the submission deadline.)

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