05 Jul Reimaginings: Developing Creative Critical Writing Practices Research Focus Group
Increasing attention to the interconnection between creative writing and critical thinking has produced programs and courses that focus on the craft of writing itself as a mode of analysis and a form of research. Mergers between the creative and the critical stem from multiple impulses, including: 1) a broader and more profound understanding of what creativity is and does in the world; 2) critiques of the archive and of the people, traditions, and experiences that it tends to legitimize; and 3) the recognition that, for example, poetry, song, and testimonio by writers of color are not only objects of critical analysis but also modes of thought that revise and contest dominant epistemologies. Important concepts that have emerged from these transformations include “Black” performance studies, critical fabulation, felt theory, and epistemologies of the south. Such interventions challenge Eurocentrism as well as disciplinary divisions and competition. Underlying the Reiminagings RFG is an intentional effort to refuse the siloing of persons, disciplines, and thought at the university, thereby countering a long history of separating “artists” from “scholars” that especially sidelines thinkers who come from communities of color.
The Reimaginings RFG has two main aims: to study and further develop creative critical writing and pedagogical practices that foreground the artistry of writers of color; and to develop a community of critical creatives at UC Santa Barbara with the aim of establishing an MFA in Creative Critical Praxis. Each quarter we will host a distinguished creative-critical writer to discuss their writing and methodologies and our visions for the development of a dynamic MFA program that centers BIPOC voices and artistic traditions.
Co-conveners for Reimaginings are Dr. Felice Blake, associate professor of English (UCSB) and Vickie Vértiz, instructor in the Writing Program (UCSB), author, and award-winning poet (2018 PEN America). Our interdisciplinary program is designed to include participants from across the campus as well as graduate students, undergraduates, and staff.
Felice Blake, English Department
Vickie Vertiz, Writing Program
Image: Betye Saar, Black Girl’s Window, 1969, mixed media