Doctor of Nearlyology and fellow of the RSA Chris Ifso will be popping up in Rawthmell’s this March encouraging fellows to talk and write about the things they’ve nearly done, but didn’t quite.
What are the projects you’ve been involved in that didn’t come off and which ideas might be worth resurrecting? Do you often think about the what if? Shouldn’t we imagine alternative pasts and futures, to celebrate some and disperse others into the Nearlyverse?
Chris has a practice based creative writing PhD in Nearlywriting Nearlyology from Bath Spa University. He wrote a transmedia novel ‘What Didn’t Quite’ and runs workshops and performances to gather new Nearlies, some of which are funny, some sad, some mysterious. All lead to reflections on how our nearly lives influence who we really are.
For his PhD Chris wandered freely down any creative pathways which inspired or intrigued and sat in public places asking people to give him their nearlies in exchange for an ‘I nearly’ badge. For instance, a man in a café in Bath wrote this:
“I spent a year of my life believing I was near to a great discovery in physics… I felt like somewhere in the abstract world enclosed by my mind a chain was slipping through a hole, like a chain being dragged off a deck by an anchor; that sense of movement. The idea itself though never came clear. My thoughts my calculations followed round and round in tighter and tighter circles but in the end enclosed nothing. For a long time afterwards my work felt like an afterword, a footnote to a text never printed.”
The Nearly Manifesto says: “In the analogue age we led linear lives with beginnings, middles and ends; in digital times we can be nearly many in various virtual spaces…Far more things nearly happen than happen...”
Chris believes the act of writing fiction has been fundamentally changed by the arrival of digital platforms which allow writers to breach boundaries previously defined by the technology and economics of the publishing industry. These new possibilities for literature can explore our relationships to regrets and desires in the light of digital technologies which make it possible to create an abundance of online personas, to travel virtually through time and space, to take one route in life but use the web to follow alternative paths.
Chris is hosting our next Enlightenment Evening supper club in Rawthmells coffeehouse, on 7th March. Find out more and save your seat here.
You can find out more about Chris' work at www.nearlyology.net
RSA Fellows are invited to a free film screening of 'The Migration Blanket - Climate Solidarity', at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 28 July at 16:30-18:30 BST