This was the12th Symposium of the WaddenAcademie and they linked with the University of Groningen and the Between the Tides NWO funded project to host a wonderful conference on the island of Terschelling just before the start of the Oreol Festival, in Holland.
The Sense of Place Conference was on 11 and 12th of June and then on Friday 13th was the Between the tides project meeting.
The presentations were filmed and mine can be viewed here (https://wurtv.wur.nl/p2gplayer/player.aspx?id=ernnoi). I was nervous speaking to a audience that was predominantly Dutch, would they understand the poetics of my phrasing, my particular performative presentational style? I took care to speak slowly not that easy when one is nervous! I needn’t have been so anxious I stilled and silenced the room, I felt they travelled with me through the narrative of Tying the threads and my explorations of grief and loss. It was a bit strange for there to be no opportunity for questions; I was unsure had I been silenced because I had transgressed in talking about the personal and emotional in an academic forum or had it been “a perfect jewel”? People approached me afterwards and gave really positive feedback- I was told I had “brought the space of contemplation and reflection with me” and that it was “a standout moment” of the conference which was really validating.
I realise for me the personal is political, the presentation is an advocate for the power of metaphor, lyricism and poetry to enable us to sit with that which is potentially uncomfortable and difficult.