Tagged / narrative

CQR ‘In Conversation’ Michele Board & Karen Cooper: “Ephemera”

CQR “In Conversation”  Seminar

This Wednesday 1 p.m. RLH 201

Michele Board and Karen Cooper present the use of ephemera to uncover life stories in qualitative research.

What is ”ephemera”?  It consists of objects of little or no monetary value that represent moments in our past.  They can include  pamphlets, railroad tickets, stamps, old letters or photographs, a food stained recipe card, a small piece of clothing, an accessory like a ribbon or a badge, sheet music, keys, post cards, used concert or theatre tickets, a self‐penned poem or a song, or a drawing. They all have a story to tell if we are willing to listen.

The CQR Seminar series consists of a 20 minute conversation between two presenters, then lots of time for discussion with the audience. Come along and join in the conversation!

Bring along some of your own ephemera if you’d like!

A Group Postcard: “Marvellous time. Wish you were here”.

Reflections on a Creative Writing Workshop for Academics at BU, led by Kip Jones

By Susanne Clarke

(with Trevor Hearing, Caroline Jackson, Mark Readman, Carly Stewart & Peter Wolfensberger)

I am sitting here on a Saturday morning, daunted by the task ahead of me.  I am in charge of writing a blog on behalf of a wonderful group of people who I spent a couple of days with at the beginning of January, (oops, I am already overselling myself, I am actually bringing together a blog using material they have given me).  The group, as promised has sent me their “postcards”, snippets revealing their inner most reflections of the experience we shared.

Perhaps I’d better reveal more of our journey and tell you a bit about the group. We came together having booked our place at the auspiciously titled “Creative Writing Workshop for Academics” led by the legend that is Kip Jones.  I would say it was a journey that we would all do again in a heartbeat.

Kip invited us, compelled us, to discard the shackles of academic or more formal forms of writing; we breathed in deeply and sought to find our inner selves, the child unconstrained by conventions that have both helped and hindered our writing over the years.

So, applying all that I learned from Kip, I am not going to over-analyse my writing and I will go with what feels right.   Studying the ‘postcards’ from the group – Peter’s  postcard will come first, just because it feels right, he sums up the experience for us all really.

From Peter Wolfensberger:

postcard to myself or

everything matters and nothing really does unless the moment you belong and love – exercise one

Struggling with my thesis I considered the creative writing workshop as a source for inspiration. So, I travelled long distance just to be confronted with myself and who I am and writing the story of my life on a postcard! Really?! Yes, – and no, there is more: Watching two boys on a crowded beach in the twenties has as much to do with me as trying to make sense of dreams that I can never remember. Writing a poem, a script treatment, a story, my story? In the end, it’s all just a tagline away from my thesis… But hey, I belonged to this wonderful group of people who kind of tried to do the same or something very different. Love you all! ‘

A bit more to reveal here with Mark’s postcard:

From: Mark Readman

Dear Group

‘Taglines, poems, life stories on postcards, writing, sharing, reading aloud and, ultimately, bringing my academic work to life through the art of storytelling – what a great way to start the new year!’

Now back to me. The writing is now getting more difficult.  I can’t really complete with the beauty of the words conveyed in the postcards.  Kip did promise that our first attempts will be quite bad and will need plenty of re-write. So, I walk away, I head off to make a cup of tea and read The Guardian. Nothing much to learn about me from my reading choice, nor, did I expect to learn much from it.  I read it because I enjoy a few of the Saturday regulars and primarily because it’s still free on line.  I click on one of my favourite columns, “Blind date” and this week’s column looks promisingly uplifting, entitled; “We parted with a kiss”.  It was a good read, and I wondered if the format could be borrowed for the blog.  And so I try below:

Reflections on our ‘Blind Date’ with Kip

From: Susanne Clarke

The scene: The Group meets each other and Kip for our first “Blind Date”.

What were we hoping for:

Improvement, enlightenment, and perhaps a cry from the heart to help with the struggle that is a life centered around writing, at the very least, some basic hints and tips and a creative start to the year.

What we weren’t expecting, but I think we were all secretly hoping for as Caroline put so well in her postcard, “…one thing that I did take away from the creative writing workshop was passion and confidence in creative writing.”

Our First Impressions:

Positive, the group were warmly welcomed, Kip was laid back, relaxed and we got a sense it was all going to be ok.  Kip set us some homework – to recall our night time dreams. I think we were all slightly scared.

What did we talk about:

Everything and anything, somehow Kip got us to reflect deeply, perhaps share things we wouldn’t normally be so bold with.   Kip shared intimate reflections with us and made it ok to share back. 

Any awkward moments:

There really should have been, we were stretched, we cried, we laughed, however, I don’t recall anything being awkward and I can’t find a hint of this in the postcards.

Although, if I am honest there was a moment for me.   When Kip set us the task to create poems from our recollection of recent dreams, as a lifelong fan of Pam Ayres, my poem had to rhyme, consequently, my attempt lacked the depth of feeling conveyed by the poems written and read out loud by others in the group.  But it did rhyme.  I did feel slightly awkward, mine was rather light, however, in the end it was alright.

Good table manners?

We did lunch as a group, it was a great ending to our adventure, and our table manners were impeccable, as far as I could tell.

Would we introduce Kip to our friends?

A resounding yes, why wouldn’t anyone be less than delighted to meet Kip, and I would happily introduce Kip and the whole group to all my friends.

Describe Kip in three words:

Charismatic, warm and unconventional

What do we think Kip made of us?

He told us we were the best group he had ever taught, he was probably lying. He made us feel special though.

Did you go on somewhere?

This is where I will leave the ‘Blind Date’ format and head to something slightly more hypothetical, we are all now continuing somewhere, we are improved from our experience, but taking different paths.   Let’s now share some more postcards from the group.  I guess where we go next in our journey remains to be seen.

From: Trevor Hearing

Dear Group

….‘Kip’s Tree of Performative Social Science is a rare species that grows over ground and underground with each workshop I attend, sending hidden signals around the world through its mycelium that it is OK to write about yourself as a source of knowledge because in doing so we are feeding others with the compost of our imaginations. I learned the value of metaphor at this workshop’….

Love Trevor xxx

From: Caroline Jackson

Dear friends,

“…. The interventions offered by Kip and my workshop colleagues were productive in many ways. I came away with the following: ​

  1. I like writing.
  2. I can let go and write something not directly related to an academic output and it be worthwhile.
  3. Some questions and techniques to use in future writing activities, academic or not.
  4. Some ideas for my own students on their creative thinking and work.

Wish you were here, love Caroline xxx

From: Carly Stewart

Dear group

…” It opened up my thinking and reconnected me to the heart-felt reason I enjoy academia in the first place. I had time and space to think deeply about ideas and new ways to express them, not for outcome or in the surface skimming tone so often required of us. And the epiphany for me was that dedicating time for creative space did not send me spinning off on a tangent from academia but instead loosened my thoughts and reconfigured them in a way that inspired me to pick up the reins of academic writing once again.”

Love Carly xxx

And finally, from me (Susanne).  I spent time with a colleague this week writing with a deadline to submit an abstract. I approached this with more confidence and my biggest lesson from Kip – I could hear his voice, “work on a catchy title” he said this a few times.   Our title begins with “Shrek and the Onion…. “ It wouldn’t have done before Kip entered my life and thoughts.   Will our abstract take us to the conference in the sun, who knows?

PS We would also like to thank others in the group who are not represented here but who contributed towards the experience.

Handbook of Arts-based Research

Pleased to announce that a copy of the Handbook of Arts-based Research, Patricia Leavy, Editor, is now available at Bournemouth University’s Lansdowne Library, but also available electronically online.  The compendium includes a Chapter, “Research as Film, Film as Research” by FMC’s Trevor Hearing and FHSS’ Kip Jones.

Bringing together interdisciplinary leaders in methodology and arts-based research (ABR), this comprehensive handbook explores the synergies between artistic and research practices and addresses issues in designing, implementing, evaluating, and publishing ABR studies.
This is a welcome addition for faculty and students with an interest in the use of the arts in research and/or dissemination.

Methodspace highlights BU Academics’ Innovative Approach to Reporting Focus Group Data

‘I’m Her Partner, Let Me In!’ Bringing the Narrative to Academic Papers

Lee-Ann Fenge and Kip Jones

A blog recently requested by the editor of Sage Publications’ Methodspace highlights an article representing focus group data in a new way. In a recent report, two BU Academics, Lee-Ann Fenge and Kip Jones (FHSS), took an inventive approach in writing up their findings in the online journal, Creative Approaches to Research. The Sage editor said, “I thought your paper brought up some good methodology issues”.

The authors believe that as narrative researchers and storytellers we should be promoting narrative in the content and styles of our publications. We can no longer afford to ignore the great advances that have been made in representation of qualitative data in recent history. As narrative researchers, we are natural storytellers and need to keep this in focus when reporting studies, particularly in publications. In this way, as researchers, we move to the background, and the research participants are foregrounded.

The article “I’m her partner, let me in!” in Methodspace can be read here.

Recent Writing from Kip Jones Available on the Internet

 

“Kyle’s photo-montage of black and white clippings, mostly from fashion magazines, Bailey and Avedon, etc., glued to the walls surrounding his bed”.

Kip Jones is pleased to announce that the tripartite story, “True confessions: why I left a traditional liberal arts college for the sins of the big city”, first published in Qualitative Research Journal, is available on Academia.edu.  Jones is particularly pleased that what is now called ‘auto-fiction’ has been accepted for publication by such a major qualitative journal. The three stories in the article conclude with a scene from Jones’ ongoing development of the feature film script for “Copacetica”. All three stories portray aspects of the sexual fumbling and romantic insecurities typical in youth.

“Dirty Frank’s” bar, Philadelphia, where the main characters of “Copacetica” frequently meet.

The second piece of writing consists of the bar scene from “Copacetica”. This is the scene in which all the major characters are introduced and the story sets up the conundrum that the main character will face in the film.

“Copacetica” tells the tale of a gullible youth on a roller coaster ride of loss of innocence and coming out in the flux and instability of 1960s hippy America. Often seen as a period of revolution in social norms, Copacetica’s themes include being different, the celebration of being an outsider, seeing oneself from outside of the “norm”, and the interior conflicts of “coming out” within a continuum as a (gay) male in a straight world. These observations are set within the flux and instability of a period of great social change, but which are often viewed in retrospect as consistent and definable. Being straight or being gay can also be viewed in a similar way within the wider culture’s need to set up a sexual binary and force sexual “choice” decision-making for the benefit of the majority culture, or ‘heteronormativity’.  Through the device of the fleeting moment, the story interrogates the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity.

In the later gallery scene (not yet published), a minor character explains the meaning of the word, “copacetic”:

VISITOR TWO
What d’he say?

VISTOR ONE
“Everything’s copacetic”! (Beat) 
What does that mean, anyway?

VISITOR THREE
Everything’s cool. Everything’s okay. 
Or “Groovy” as they like to say.

Asked what he enjoyed about writing the script for this film, Jones said, “Definitely revisiting the slang used by youth of the 1960s! It’s virtually its own language. And writing the sex scenes. Exciting and very tiring. Almost like the real thing”.

You can read the opening scene planned for the film on KIPWORLD: “Copacetica” Scene 1. EXT SUBURBAN HOUSE POOL NIGHT

BU Academic’s Blog Reaches 250,000 Views

KIPWORLD, the personal weblog of Bournemouth University academic, Kip Jones, reached a milestone this week, measuring 250,000 page views in the all-time history of the blog. 

Begun in 2009, the blog averages about one article a month of around 1,000 words in length. These are definitely not the perhaps more typical ‘off-the-cuff’ or ‘stream of consciousness’ blogs, however. Jones pores over and reworks these pieces, sometimes for days, even weeks.  He says that he tends to painstakingly write and rewrite anyway, so putting something out frequently was never going to work for him. One great things about on-line publishing is that you can continue to edit once an article is published, however.

Jones also writes for other blogs from time to time (LSE Impact blog, LSE Review of Books, Discover Society, Sociological Imagination, Creative Quarter, The Creativity Post, Bournemouth University Research Blog) as well.

As Jones reported earlier, 

KIPWORLD is my personal blog where I write about projects that I am working on, but I also use it to develop my writing. A good example is a piece entitled, “How Breakthroughs Come: Tenacity and Perseverance”. First written for the blog, it was then reworked to  include some reader responses to the earlier version. Through a Twitter connection, it was then published for a third time on the Social Research Hub, a site particularly aimed at PhD students in the Social Sciences.

Interestingly, the vast majority of the traffic to the site comes from Facebook where Jones moderates several special interest groups.The audience for KIPWORLD is predominantly in the USA, but the blog is viewed widely throughout the world.

The all-time top article on KIPWORLD is A summer holiday, three books and a story  has received 17,499 views so far. The format is an exercise in creative autofiction, book review and a short story. This contribution to the site was written on holiday and is very much a personal reflection. A similar formula of tripartite creative writing developed by Jones recently made it to the pages of the academic journal, Qualitative Research Journal.   (Interestingly, this ‘blog style’ article in an academic journal has been downloaded 30 times since publication in January 2017).

What might be called “How to” articles (such as What is a Systematic Review? or A Brief Outline for Organising/Writing the PhD Thesis) are also extremely popular.

Jones’ advice on blog writing to others:

Find your own voice, even your own subject material. Use your blog to develop your writing and your personal style. Don’t just assume that it has to look and sound like a blog to be one. Include at least one picture with every blog article. Let people know about the blog through social media—don’t expect an audience to just find it on its own. Promote it.

If the most important thing in your life IS to write about your cat, write about it as creatively as you possibly can. Enjoy the experience!

From time to time, Jones holds an hour-long taster session, “Academic Blog Writing”. If you are interested in joining an upcoming session, please email

 

 

 

 

 

Three tales of sexual intrigue from Kip Jones

C4nQP3CXUAAICo9 ‘True confessions: Why I left a traditional liberal arts college for the sins of the Big City’ by Kip Jones has been published today in Qualitative Research Journal (QRJ)

Three tales of sexual intrigue from Kip Jones.  A story, a reminiscence, and a scene from a film.

By means of several auto-ethnographic stories (including a scene from a working script for a proposed film), the author interrogates numerous ideas and misconceptions about gay youth, both past and present. 

Being straight or being gay can be viewed within the wider culture’s need to set up a sexual binary and force sexual “choice” decision-making for the benefit of the majority culture. Through the device of the fleeting moment, this essay hopes to interrogate the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity by portraying sexuality in youth.

Also available as a draft on Academia.edu