In recent years, Susan has presented a number of papers, blending an overview and analysis of the research that informs her writing with a performance of a selection of her poems, at a range of academic conferences and symposia.
Susan has an ongoing association with the British Animal Studies Network. At its Cold Blood(ed) event at Cardiff University, she presented ‘Writing in Cold Blood: Thirty Ways of Looking at the Sea’, a paper examining her role as poet-in-residence with the Marine Conservation Society and the particular challenges that have arisen in the process of writing about, and inspiring others to write about, cold-blooded animals. She was thereafter invited to give a keynote performance and workshop at the Network’s spring conference, themed around Smelling, at the University of Strathclyde. In May 2017, she will be returning to Strathclyde as resident poet for the Network’s next event, dedicated to Hearing (details to be confirmed).
At the inaugural conference of the Centre for Human Animal Studies at Edge Hill University, Susan’s paper, ‘Let My Words be Bright With Animals’, examined how, and to what extent, poetry may be used as a tool for consciousness-raising and engendering behaviour change around issues of animal welfare and species-level extinction.
‘Writing on All Fours’, the performance-presentation that Susan offered at the Being Beyond Boundaries symposium at Kingston University, explored the borderline between humanity and animality and the animal possibilities of the self, as informed by the research into human-animal metamorphosis that she undertook during the writing of her latest poetry collection, skindancing. She has contributed, too, to panels focusing on human-animal shapeshifting at both the international Reading Animals conference at the University of Sheffield and an ONCA/University of Brighton interdiscplinary debate exploring the role of becoming-animal in promoting ecological activity.
Susan also has an ongoing association with ARCIO (Action Research and Critical Enquiry in Organisations) at the University of Bristol. In addition to contributing to a day of Creative Engagements for Sustainability, she has collaborated with Dr. Mary Phillips on a number of occasions. At Bristol University’s Thinking Futures Festival, Susan and Mary offered a joint performance-presentation, ‘Engaging Nature: The Power of Activist Poetry’, and will be continuing to share this work at other conferences and festivals in the future.