‘The collective imagination: considering the site of creation via collaborative writings of climate change’.

  • Matthews, A. (Speaker)
  • Alexander Cothren (Speaker)
  • Rachel Hennessy (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


While artistic production in narrative forms such as film and television are often recognised as a collaborative process, prose writing remains focused on the idea of a transcendent, individual author, locked away in their garret, producing a text ripe for dissemination via traditional publishing methods. The postmodern imagination, having lost sight of narrative as a source of ethical representation, traps itself inside pastiche and irony. Where, then, does the posthuman imagination lie? This paper presents ongoing research, by the three authors, into climate fiction and collaborative writing processes for prose fiction writers. New technologies, such as the collaborative whiteboard on Zoom, Google docs, or Etherpad, allow multiple writers to work on a document in real time, at the same time. These technologies have been utilised primarily in the corporate world, with the ability to collectively work on a document seen as time-saving and pro-actively embodying “teamwork”. These liberal capitalist aims are not self-evidently desirable, but a posthuman focus on connectivity might offer a way for these tools to be repurposed. Homing in on climate fiction – a sub-genre of literature that depictions climate change – and discovering it to frequently mired in dystopian landscapes that offer little hope, we posit that writing climate fiction collaboratively might be one way to use these technologies to both challenge fixed notions of where the imagination resides – inside the modernist individual genius – and to imagine different futures. To explore this hypothesis, we run Posthuman Artists’ Laboratories that re-position imagination as not centred in the internal, solitary self but engage with the notion of play and public imaginings of alternative ways of being. We propose that there is a strong (posthuman) argument for fiction writers to abandon the desire to be identified as one singular being with a unique voice and reimagine their creative subjectivities as a sticky web of connections.
Period30 Nov 2023
Event titleThe Human and the Posthuman: Inventing the Human
Event typeConference
LocationMelbourne, Australia, VictoriaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • climate change
  • climate fiction
  • artists laboratory
  • collaboration
  • Australian fiction
  • creative writing
  • creative writing methodologies
  • creative writing praxis
  • posthumanism