The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing (TIA House) at the University of Calgary is a Canada Research Chair-sponsored initiative structured through the interactions of social justice, futurity, and innovative aesthetics in creative writing. Recognizing the instabilities of language articulated through the poststructural turn on the one hand, and the importance of embodied liberatory movements on the other, TIA House looks to a re-imagined concept of utopia to begin to imagine new forms and new creative practices embedded in a respect for the earth, Indigeneity, and for those inhabiting marginalized subject positions. Specifically, we take up David Harvey’s notion of the “insurgent architect” as a figure who desires and works for a better world, while constantly taking into account mutations, surprises and unexpected contingencies that can erupt on any level and at any moment. We live in and through speculative action, with a readiness to take risks that could undo us at any moment.
In practice, this means the embrace of many different kinds of writing practice including but not limited to: speculative fiction, ficto-criticism, innovative poetics, embodied writing, bio-text and non-standard forms of criticism.
Directed by Dr. Larissa Lai in the Department of English, TIA House serves to enable creative and critical discussion and production through a series of yearly events, readings, symposia, and roundtables. We plan to move into our new home on the 10th floor of the Social Sciences Building at the University of Calgary in 2015-2016.
Dr. Larissa Lai holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and is the author of two novels, When Fox Is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl, and two books of poetry, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies. Her recent critical monograph, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s was a 2014 finalist for the ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism. A recipient of the Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers’ Award, she has been shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the Dorothy Livesay Prize. She holds a PhD from the University of Calgary, an MA from the University of East Anglia, and a BA (Hon.) from the University of British Columbia.
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair positions serve to support new research and work by a Canadian scholars. These positions, supported by the Government of Canada, are held by “exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.”1 To date, Dr. Lai’s work has generated some 50 critical articles and books and has placed her at the forefront of Canadian writing and scholarship on futurity, speculation, subject formation, cultural production and community building in and through creative work.
1 Government of Canada. “Chairs.” Program Details. Web n.d. http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/program-programme/index-eng.aspx.