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What are environmental stories? Environmental stories are stories that marry scholarship with storytelling. Stories grounded in literary prose and narrative techniques like character and plot, rather than just presenting an avalanche of data and facts. Stories linking social, experimental, political, historical, cultural and environmental landscapes. Stories that ask more questions than argue a single point or contain a specific call to action. Science writing, science journalism, or academic writing are part of the magic, but environmental stories we love contain more plot, more people, more love. Need some concrete examples? We have a list of reads that inspire.

Why stories? Maybe you hear “story” and imagine a tall tale, an act of make-believe with no relationship to material environmental issues. But stories are powerful tools——they’re part of how we understand the past, know the present, and imagine the future. Listen to or read what Margaret Atwood says in her interview with Ezra Klein about stories.

Who are those neuroscientists? As we noted on the Why Storytelling page, some researchers specialize in how our brains work with narratives. Melanie C. Green looks at how stories change real-world attitudes. Uri Hasson’s research indicates that brain waves synchronize between storyteller and lister, among other things. There are many, many more. A good starting place? Paul B. Armstrong’s book Stories and the Brain.

Why do you call it a “studio”? A studio is a creative, often collaborative space——and so is the writing and writers we hope to support.

Can writers apply? Not exactly. Or not yet! TESS is currently designed for academics in environmental fields who want to learn literary techniques and apply them to works-in-progress. This does not mean that academics who have been published cannot apply. They can! We just don’t work with professional writers. But check back. We have plans.

Do I need references to apply? No!

Do you accept poetry submissions? Not at this time. Maybe in the future!

Can I bring my spouse/partner/pet/child? To Providence? Sure! There’s lots to do here. To class? Best not, unless you have a support animal.