Iodine Global Network (IGN)

Independent Variable - the poetry anthology that's raising awareness of iodine deficiency

May, 2018
In 2017, the Iodine Global Network collaborated on a poetry anthology which brought together the realms of poetry and science. After a successful launch last year, we’re catching up with its editor Callan Waldron-Hall.

What have you been up to since the launch?

I graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a first-class degree in creative writing July 2017. I’ve since gone on to study at Manchester Metropolitan University for an MA in the same field with a focus on poetry. I’ll (hopefully!) be graduating this September.

How popular has the Anthology been so far?

I’ve sold about fifty copies of the IV anthology so far, which I’m so grateful for. When I first had the idea as a university project, I never imagined being able to interview writers I admire, to explore how two subjects I find interesting work together and to showcase upcoming writing talent. Between the book launch and website, it’s generated more interest than I expected. There’s still plenty of copies available!

About the website, we’ve heard you’re working on a big project?

I’m really excited for the new website. I've wanted to make IV a more digital space with regular content. I’m hoping to open it up to poetry outside of scientific themes, too. The intent of IV was inclusivity, so it makes sense to welcome poetry outside of science. There will still be an emphasis on the two practices working together, but a website can have more pages than a book. The site will be for people interested in poetry, science and everything in between. I’m hoping to showcase a range of content that everyone can enjoy. It took a while to sort out all the fiddly bits, but the website is now up and running!Achtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster The IV anthology is available to purchase on the new site, too.
Callan's Independent Variable Anthology in print.

Going back to the Anthology launch last July, were you excited to partner with Waterstones?

The book launch was so much fun! What really made it special was seeing everyone come together to celebrate each other’s writing and work IGN does. I couldn’t have done it alone though – I had a lot of help from Sarah Hughes at Waterstones Liverpool ONEAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster, from my tutor Helen Tookey and of course from the contributing writers and IGN. We had poetry performances and even some live music, courtesy of one of the contributors. A large focus of the project was establishing a community, and I wanted to include as many other writers inside as I could. I really enjoyed meeting the writers in person who I had previously only spoken to via email. But overall, I think the enthusiasm with which the anthology was met with was made it feel like a success.

Marrying science and poetry – what gave you the idea?

I’ve always been interested in writing, art and science. From about eight years old, I decided I wanted to be a doctor and went on to study biology and chemistry at A level (alongside psychology and English). I quickly realised that as much as I enjoyed learning about these scientific processes, I just couldn’t get my head around the equations involved with chemistry and ended up dropping it. I got really into English, particularly the modules where we had to produce our own creative work.

I went on to study creative writing at university and found myself enjoying the freedom that poetry gave me, in that in can be just about anything. But my science-y side never really left me, and I had this sort of bank of knowledge from my previous studies in science that I never really accessed in my writing. I was a volunteer at an art gallery called FACT, which combines art with technology in its exhibitions, so I knew there were people out there bringing these STEM subjects together with art. My tutor, Helen Tookey, encouraged me to see what would happen if I brought science and poetry together in my work and I really enjoyed drawing on this place of objectivity and empiricism, so I thought why not take it further?

New IV logo, designed to match the revamped website, which will feature regular content from people interested in poetry, science and everything in between.

And speaking of taking things further, what are your plans for the future?

I’m about to undertake my final two modules, one of them being ‘Avant-Garde Poetics and Virtual Reality’, which I’m excited to get involved with. I think using virtual reality as a starting point to generate ideas will lead to some really interesting poetry, because it’s such a different way of experiencing art over other mediums.

I’d love also to produce a second anthology, perhaps with a specific subject focus. I’ve recently been really interested in virtual landscapes and how they differ from the norm, how they can impose limitations but also create opportunities we don’t usually have access to – and how all of that is built up of code, so maybe something in that direction. Who knows? I think that’s the exciting part. There’s so much opportunity in this space between art and science.
Proceeds from the sale to date have gone to support the Iodine Global Network and our work to raise awareness of iodine deficiency. To buy your own copy, please visit Callan's websiteAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster. To find out more about his next projects, follow Callan on TwitterAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster, InstagramAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster or read his BlogAchtung Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster.

About the author

Callan Waldron-Hall is a twenty-two-year-old writer based in Liverpool. He works as a copywriter at So-Mo, where he has created, edited and proofread content for a number of organisations, including Birmingham City Council and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council. He’s a contributing writer to Corridor8, Sphinx and Bonus Stage, where he writes reviews for art exhibitions, poetry pamphlets and video games. His own poetry has been published in In The Red, Lifejacket and The Poetry Marathon.