A Week With Kim Stanley Robinson

A Week With Kim Stanley Robinson

A Week With Kim Stanley Robinson

University of Limerick, 6 to 10 April 2015

The Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies, along with its partners at the University of Limerick and Cloughjordan Ecovillage, are proud to welcome one of the most renowned writers of science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, to Ireland this April. A Week With Kim Stanley Robinson is a unique, interdisciplinary series of events including readings, workshops, lectures, conversations, and site visits, many of which are free to the public.

Kim Stanley Robinson is a towering, multi-award-winning figure in science fiction, and he has authored over 20 books, including the Mars trilogy (1993-1997) and Aurora (2015). His work deals with some of the most critical social, economic, and environmental issues facing our world, particularly in relation to ecological sustainability, world building, and utopian possibilities.

Robinson’s writing resonates with the ethos of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies, which was established in 2003 with a research agenda based on the premise that social values, policies, and practices are shaped by hopeful, utopian visions which is critical to the betterment of life for all members of society.

As Founding Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies (which is named after the nineteenth century Ralahine Cooperative in Newmarket-on-Fergus), Professor Emeritus Tom Moylan notes that Robinson’s visit to Limerick and Tipperary marks “a significant moment in the Centre’s twelve-year history of conducting research, teaching, and public programmes on all topics of utopian studies.” Moylan continues, “Kim Stanley Robinson’s work entertains and challenges readers of all generations. Unafraid of writing critical accounts of the world as it is, he is no less afraid of generating realistic future alternatives. Whether in near-future science fiction dealing with rapid climate change or more far-reaching accounts of the settlement of Mars or stories about prehistory or time travel to the future, Robinson is simply one of the best. We are privileged here at UL to have him with us as our guest for a week.”

Central to Robinson’s visit are several student-based workshops that take advantage of his creative expertise across disciplines such as writing, architecture, and design. These include sessions with students from the MA in Creative Writing, the MA in Ethnomusicology, the School of Architecture (SAUL), and the Centre for Interactive Design. All of these workshops will deal with the creative process of ‘world building’ (the imaginative method of constructing alternative societies so as to generate a thoughtful perspective on the present).

Tuesday (7 April) begins with two closed workshops: a morning creative writing workshop (with Professor Joseph O'Connor and postgraduate students) and an afternoon architectural review (with Professor Merritt Bucholz and fifth year students).

Tuesday evening (at 5:30 PM) will feature a public lecture by Robinson, sponsored by the School of Architecture in UL (SAUL), entitled “Time in the Novel” in SAUL Main Studio Space, CG-042. The lecture will be introduced by Merritt Bucholz, Chair of Architecture; Don Barry, President of UL; and Tom Moylan, Founding Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance through eventbrite.ie.

Wednesday (8 April) begins with a coffee morning and discussion on the design of utopias with members of the Ralahine Centre. In the afternoon there will be a Ralahine Workshop (open to the public) on science fiction criticism. At this public workshop, Robinson will respond to work in progress by faculty and postgraduate students from UL working in sociology, literature, cultural studies, and music.

Wednesday evening features a free public launch, reading, and wine reception in Millstream Common Room at 5.30pm, which will be introduced by Dr. Eoin Devereux, the Assistant Dean of Research (AHSS). The launch of Dr. Jack Fennell’s newly published monograph, Irish Science Fiction, will be followed by a reading by Kim Stanley Robinson from his forthcoming novel, Aurora (July 2015). There will also be book displays by O’Mahony’s Bookshop and the Ralahine Centre.

On Thursday (9 April), Robinson will conduct a workshop with the Interactive Design Studio Group, led by Professor Mikael Fernstrom, on the topic of science fiction and scenario building. Afterwards, Robinson will make his way to Cloughjordan Ecovillage, where he will discuss the village’s design and organisation with residents and members. Later that evening, Robinson will present a public lecture entitled "Minimizing Climate Change: an Economic Problem" at WeCreate Workspace in Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

Before departing on Friday (10 Apr), Robinson will meet once more with ecovillagers to discuss the topic of ‘Intentional Communities and Utopia’, rounding off an incredibly busy and highly stimulating week of events.

All public events during ‘A Week with Kim Stanley Robinson’ can be booked through www.eventbrite.ie
For further information, please contact ralahine@ul.ie and follow us on our twitter feed www.twitter.com/KSRobinsonUL and on facebook: www.facebook.com/aweekwithkimstanleyrobinson