NAME: Susanne Roesner
DEPT/SUBJECT AREA: Creative Writing Research Programme
SUPERVISOR(S): Dr Anne Lauppe-Dunbar and Dr Chris Pak
RESEARCH DEGREE (PhD/MPhil/MA by Research): PhD
THESIS TITLE: Using Creative Writing to Imagine and Explore a Sustainable, Optimistic Path into the Future
The climate change crisis is one of the biggest global challenges of our time, revealing a direct link between humanity’s treatment of our planet and our collective well-being. There is an urgent need for extensive changes, yet for instance, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing. News like these can invoke overwhelming feelings of anxiety and foster pessimistic and dystopian views about our future. My thesis investigates ways to help us imagine an ultimately hopeful but also viable path into the future.
Ecological thinking and the study of human-nature relationships have a long tradition in storytelling, where complex issues can be re-framed and transformed into powerful personal and more accessible narratives. For my PhD, I am writing and exploring a novel which aims to illuminate and distil current advancements in technologies and focuses on traditional concepts of ecological lifestyles. My goal is to examine the overwhelming scenario of a changing world and reframe the catastrophic through positive reimagining.
In my novel, a young woman is confronted with the consequences of the climate crisis as raging wildfires threaten her grandparents’ lives and home. She embarks on a journey to research proposed solutions, presented as visionary inventions and alternative ways of living. Fighting her own anxiety, she searches for her purpose and a way to contribute to a hopeful future. As she learns and broadens her horizon, so do we.