About the Project
This project, generously funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, will implement several initiatives, including writing workshops, book clubs, and a speaker series to help promote understanding Permian Basin’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective. These initiatives, collectively titled “Boom or Bust: A Collection and Study of Energy Narratives,” will pay particular attention to economic growth cycles and downturns and the toll such volatility has on local inhabitants. The project will also explore the cultural importance of petroleum to this local region and to the nation as a whole. In addition, the project will highlight the many forms of energy production– including wind, solar and nuclear-powered sources—that already make Permian Basin’s economic infrastructure diverse.
What should you expect from us? Monthly book clubs and creative nonfiction writing workshops, as well as a dynamic speaker series.
Prof. Rebecca Day Babcock gives a presentation about "Boom or Bust: A Collection and Study of Energy Narratives" to the Big Spring Rotary Club on May 19, 2017. Big Spring is one of the many communities in the Permian Basin which is influenced greatly by the oil and energy industry.
"Boom or Bust" in the News
Our collection and study of energy narratives, both local and national, has been a subject of interest in the news.Click on the links below to read more!
Odessa American: "UTPB Professors Win Grant," February 14, 2017
Midland Reporter-Telegram: "UTPB gets grant to document West Texans' tales," February 15, 2017
The Mesa Journal: "Boom or bust narratives sought," March 1, 2017
The Mesa Journal: "Grant to focus on, record boom and bust narratives," March 8, 2017
Big Spring Herald, "Book club to discuss Solar by Ian McEwan Saturday," April 7, 2017
The Writing Workshops
Creative nonfiction writing workshops will take place every month under the guidance of Dr. Jason Lagapa. These workshops are an essential key to gathering and understanding how the booms and busts of the energy sector affect everyone in the Permian Basin, regardless of their personal relation to the industry!
We invite participants to write about their experiences, whether first- or second-hand with the ups and downs of booms and busts. Participants are also invited to submit their narratives for publication on our website through this form (only digital submissions through this form will be considered at this time).
Note: We are on a brief hiatus during the summer as we update our archives. We encourage you to submit your narratives for publication during this short break, as well as throughout the year!
Narratives on NPR
West Texas Public Radio, 91.3, interviewed Dr. Jason Lagapa about the Boom or Bust project, but four of our narratives were also featured. Listen to the boom and bust narratives of Kristen Figgins, Daniella Garcia, Emily Weinberg, and Jessica Terrell here.
Above: Prof. Jason Lagapa conducts a writing workshop with members of the West Texas community on March 22, 2017.
The Book Club
Our fifth book club will take place in Big Spring on June 10 at 10:00 a.m. at The Train Car in Big Spring and will feature the book, The Iron Orchard, by Tom Pendleton, which is currently being adapted into a movie in Big Spring! Join us for a fabulous discussion led by Prof. Rebecca Day Babcock.
Above: West Texans gather at the Ellen Noël Art Museum to discuss Upton Sinclair's Oil! at the very first book club of the "Boom or Bust" project.
Above: West Texans gather to discuss Ian McEwan's Solar at Barnes and Noble in Midland, Texas.
Upcoming Book Clubs
Are you eager to get started on our upcoming book clubs now? Below is a list of some of our upcoming titles. Dates will be posted close to the time of the event.
September: Dune by Frank Herbert
October: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
November: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
February: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
March: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt
April: Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck