I set up Microclimates in April 2020 in response to social and spatial restrictions prompted by Covid 19. Prior to the initial lockdown, I had been working on Circling, a project on walking/movement and persistent pain, with the dancer and moving-image artist, Anna Macdonald, (see: http://www.circlingartproject.co.uk/). Aware that some of the participants on that project would be required to self-isolate, I set up weekly, 30-minute, on-line readings of writing-in-progress. There was (and is, since the readings still run, albeit fortnightly) no requirement to write, read aloud or even speak. ‘Microclimates’ plays on the use of the term by Guy Debord to suggest particular sites of intensity in the urban environment (1956), the micro-geographies engendered by self-isolation and social distancing measures, and the emotions (emotional ‘weather’) provoked by inhabiting these ‘spacetimes’ (Wrigley and Morgan 2021). Microclimaters wrote/write about a variety of subjects and settings, including the very local, such as the street on which they live, or, conversely, far-away places recalled or yearned for during times of apparent stasis. Echoing elements of Circling, Microclimates is concerned, then, with the shrinking of the scale and scope of daily life, along with reduced mobilities. Of course, such concerns are not only characteristics of the pandemic, but are experienced by many during non-Covid times, due to short- or long-term health conditions, caring responsibilities, and other factors. In July 2021, a (socially distanced) Microclimates showcase was held on the terrace of the Keele Postgraduate Association, featuring readings, conversation, and laughter.
Ceri Morgan works on literary geographies, place-writing, geopoetics, walking, and geohumanities. A longstanding member of the research group, la Traversée, Ceri has worked increasingly on geopoetics as a participatory practice since 2014, leading workshops or ‘happenings’ on a variety of themes, including mining, food, persistent pain, and deindustrialisation. Ceri has published some fiction, creative nonfiction, and prose-poetry, notably in Littoral (2017), GeoHumanities (2019), and NAWE Writing in Education (2020, 2021). Her prose-poem, ‘Avenue Bernard’ was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 extra and RTE Radio 1 in Spring and Summer 2020.