A new group for Scottish writers with a background or special interest in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) was set up by Eveline Pye, one of the directors of the Scottish Writers’ Centre and Colin Will, a poet, prose writer and editor from Dunbar. The long-term aims of STEM poets are:
- to establish a network to encourage and support like-minded writers who already incorporate STEM subjects in their writing, or who wish to do so;
- to help ensure that readers are presented with factually correct, truthful and properly presented STEM knowledge in works of imagination, specifically poems and short fiction; to promote informed writing on issues such as climate change, scientific ethics, cultural effects of new technologies, analysis of big data, AI and robotics;
- to encourage more people to write about STEM subjects, and to provide poets with support/review of STEM content in their work;
- to disseminate information through workshops, seminars and readings, putting together publications on current scientific and technological issues for Scotland;
- to identify specific projects for collaboration, such as climate change poetry;
- to support STEM in schools, breaking down barriers between the Arts and Sciences.
The group decided to tackle climate change as their first project because of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) originally scheduled to take place in November 2020 at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow. On 29th January, Glasgow Review of Books published an essay by Eveline Pye on Climate Change Poetry.
This was followed by two successful events hosted by The Scottish Writers’ Centre in the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Glasgow. The first event on 11th February consisted of a talk followed by readings of climate change poetry by members of STEM poets.
The second event, on 25th February, was a workshop masterclass by Colin Will. Both events were well attended and launched STEM poets as a new force in the Scottish writing scene.
Due to Covid-19, further scheduled events have been postponed, but they intend to start promoting STEM poetry again as soon as the lockdown is over.
The Scottish Writers’ Centre will continue to support STEM Poets. Check in with Eveline and Colin to know more.