Sheep at Sycamore Gap, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland

ASLE-UKI Biennial Conference: Northumbria 2022

Conference Information

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland, Biennial Conference 2022

‘Epochs, Ages, and Cycles: Time and the Environment’

6–8 September 2022, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Keynote Speakers:

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett (Northumbria University)
Samantha Walton (Bath Spa University)

Plenary Roundtable Speakers:
Todd Borlik (Huddersfield); Andrew Crumey (Northumbria); Greg Lynall (Liverpool); Tess Somervell (Oxford)

Northumbria University was delighted to host the 2022 Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland. The conference went ahead successfully, and this page remains as an archive of the event.

The purpose of ASLE-UKI is to encourage scholarship, criticism, and appreciation of environmental literature and of the relationship between literature and environment, through activities and publications based in the UK and Ireland. For the 2022 conference, we are guided by Edmund Burke’s observation that society is ‘a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born’. Nowhere is this truer than in our relationship with the environment, which is shaped by decisions made by countless generations of hunters, gatherers, farmers, gardeners, builders, miners, and engineers, and where every choice we make today may have profound environmental implications for countless future generations. Conference delegate will be exploring a wide range of topics, including:

  • Deep time: how have writers responded to the deep past as revealed by geology, palaeontology, and archaeology? How are notions such as the Anthropocene, the Capitalocene, the Sixth Extinction, or the Great Acceleration reflected in environment writing?
  • Historical time: how was environment discussed in the Middle Ages, the age of Enlightenment, or the age of empire? How far are ecocritical models applicable to pre-industrial literary cultures? How is the environment reflected in historical fiction?
  • Circular time: how are years, months, seasons, life cycles, and daily rhythms represented in literature? How do writers balance teleology with circularity? How are ideas, tropes, and literary forms cycled and recycled?
  • Future time: how do writers imagine our environmental futures, from the day after tomorrow to the last syllable of recorded time? How do the choices we make now impact on the future? Can literature change the world?


The programme is available on the following page:

Follow the links below for the detailed programme for each day, which will open in a new page. Information about the online day will be posted shortly.

Abstracts for all papers and panels are available by following the links below.


Over the years, the ASLE-UKI conference has developed a reputation for outings, walks, and field trips that explore local environments and environmental issues.

Excursions: There will be five optional excursions to local places of interest, plus information on self-guided visits to local museums, art galleries, and historical sites. All excursions take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 7 September, when no academic sessions will be scheduled. Costs will simply cover the cost of transport and any entrance fees and will be payable on the day or at the conference registration desk. Excursions will be capped at 20 for each trip. You will need to reserve a place on the excursions when you register.

UPDATE on 27 JULY: The excursions are now booking up fast and some are no longer available. If you are unable to reserve a place on the excursion of your choice, you can email the conference organiser Brycchan Carey ( and ask to be put on the waiting list. If places become available we will let you know at the conference on the day.

  • Toon and Tyne Walk: Leona Skelton, author of Tyne after Tyne: An Environmental History of a River’s Battle for Protection 1529-2015, will lead a walk through Newcastle’s historic city centre and riverside areas. Price: free.
  • Cherryburn: Birthplace of Thomas Bewick: Claudine van Hensbergen will lead a visit to Cherryburn, the Northumberland birthplace of eighteenth-century engraver Thomas Bewick, author of A General History of Quadrupeds and A History of British Birds. Includes a curator’s tour of the house and grounds and demonstration of Bewick’s printing technique. Price £15.00 to cover coach transport and entrance to the house and grounds,
  • Tynemouth Priory and Castle: Rosie Paice will lead a visit to Tynemouth for the 7th-century priory and castle, fantastic sea views, and the seaside town. Price: return travel on the Metro is £4.85. Standard entry to the priory is £7.80 but entry is free to English Heritage members, If you are an EH member, don’t forget to bring your membership card!
  • Gosforth Wildlife Walk: Brycchan Carey will lead a walk around Gosforth Nature Reserve, the north east’s oldest nature reserve and home to more than 1600 species, including otter, water vole, kingfisher, and bittern. Bring binoculars if you have them. Price £9.50 for entrance to the reserve and return by bus.
  • Hadrian’s Wall Walk: Matt Kelly, author of The Women Who Saved the English Countryside, will lead a walk along a spectacular section of Hadrian’s Wall, starting from the Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed and walking around Steel Rigg and Crag Lough. The walk is around 4.5 miles (7.25 km) and involves some steep climbs and some boggy terrain. Good walking boots and waterproofs are essential as the ground is uneven and the weather can be unpredictable. Price £25 to cover coach transport.

Reception: There is a free wine reception on the Tuesday evening to which all are invited.

Conference Dinner: the conference dinner will be held in Northumbria University’s Great Hall on the Wednesday evening. The cost is £45 per person, which includes a three-course vegetarian or vegan dinner and wine. You are welcome to bring a companion even if they are not attending the conference.

Meet at 7.30 pm: for pre-dinner drinks in the lobby of the Sutherland Building, with dinner in the Great Hall of the Sutherland Building from 8.00 pm. The Sutherland building is on Northumberland Road at the centre of the main city campus.

Creative Writing Event: On the evening of Tuesday 6 September, immediately following the wine reception, Richard Kerridge (Bath Spa University) will be hosting a creative writing event (before heading for a later dinner!) This will feature readings of poetry and prose from conference delegates, If you would be interested in contributing a short reading, please drop Brycchan or Richard a line. There will be no charge for this event and no registration is necessary. All welcome.


Registration is now open. The following registration fees apply.

  • Full Delegate Rate: £150.00
  • Concessionary Rate (students, unwaged/low waged): £95.00


The conference is located at Northumbria University’s City Campus East. This is within easy walking distance of the city centre and very close to the Manors Metro station. All sessions (other than the conference dinner) will be held in CCE Building One (CCE1 – numbered 5 on the Campus map). Plenary sessions, lunches, coffees, the creative writing event, and the reception will be held on the ground floor. Breakout sessions will generally be on the second floor.

Newcastle upon Tyne can be reached by a variety of means. The main railway station has regular, fast services to London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, and other major cities in the UK. The station code is NCL

Newcastle International Airport is close to the city centre with regular Metro and bus services. There are frequent flights to hubs such as London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Paris CDG. The airport code is NCL.

There is a wide range of accommodation in Newcastle, from budget hostels to luxury hotels, with plenty of affordable options and all the main hotel chains as well as many independent hotels. We are not offering any recommendations, but please contact us if you are finding it difficult to locate suitable accommodation.


All delegates must be a member of ASLE-UKI or the international ASLE affiliate association in their country (or EASLCE for members in Europe). Links to international ASLE Affiliates can be found at If there is no ASLE Affiliate in your country you are encouraged to join ASLE-UKI, but it is not compulsory.

The organisers aim to publish a selection of articles based on the best papers on the conference theme either as an edited collection or as a special themed journal issue, depending on the number and quality of submissions.


This year, we are experimenting with holding an associated ‘virtual mini conference’ event online on Saturday 3 September, organised by postgraduate students at Northumbria University and on the ASLE-UKI Committee. All delegates are very welcome to attend the virtual conference to listen to the papers.

The call for papers deadline for the virtual conference passed on Friday 1 July 2022 and we are no longer accepting proposals. If you submitted a proposal, you will be informed of the outcome of your submission within two weeks of the deadline.

As with the main conference, all speakers must be a member of ASLE-UKI or an international ASLE affiliate association. You will be asked to confirm this when you register for the virtual conference day. There will be no charge for registration for the virtual day.


For further information about either the main conference or the virtual event, please contact the conference organiser, Professor Brycchan Carey;