How my Kellogg Research Support Grant helped me
Lur Alghurabi is studying for an MSt in Creative Writing. In November of 2019 she used her Research Support Grant to travel to attend the George Town Literary Festival in Penang. Here she explains how she has benefited from the experience.
I am a second-year student in the MSt in Creative Writing. The Research Support Grant allowed me to attend the George Town Literary Festival in Penang, Malaysia, in late November. I joined a fantastic lineup of award-winning writers and creatives from around the world.
At the festival, I was a panelist at two events: the first panel was on storytelling through the screen and social media, and how new modes of communication have provided a more democratic process of storytelling, particularly for millennials and Gen Z storytellers, and especially for the ones who may have little to no access to means of traditional publishing, such as asylum seekers or refugees in detention. The second panel investigated the essence of storytelling that makes it a powerful tool for personal and social transformation, for giving meaning and purpose to community and industry.
Throughout the four-day festival, I spoke with and learned from authors and poets from around the world, including Man Booker Prize Winner Jokha al-Harthi (Oman). I learned about subtlety in poetry from the first-hand experience of award-winning poet and refugee Mwaffa al-Hajjar (Syria and Malaysia), and I discussed my memoir in detail with author, academic and activist Bernice Chauly (Malaysia). I also learnt about freedom of speech and creative means of storytelling in highly censored environments from the viral YouTuber and singer preetipls (Singapore).
I gained a new wealth of knowledge that will support me in completing my MSt major project, critically and creatively, and I was exposed to new ideas of storytelling in nonfiction and poetry that are now invaluable to my research.