‘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.
“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”:
What d’he say?
“Everything’s copacetic”! (Beat)
What does that mean, anyway?
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
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
Creative Writing for Academics with Kip Jones
Thursday 20 & Friday 21 April 2017
Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth, UK
- Have more of your work read by wider audiences; in other words, impact.
- By providing an intense two-day experience the playing field is levelled and opportunities for facilitated learning developed.
- By engaging in creative writing, it becomes possible for all to write more clearly, more simply, even more creatively, when writing not only for academic publications, but also for outlets previously unimagined.
The workshop will take place at the BU Executive Business Centre, 7th Floor. Thursday, 20 April and Friday, 21 April 2017
Workshop Price: £175. For two days of activities. The price includes lunch and refreshments and all class materials. Accommodation and travel costs are not included.
Take a b&w photo you’ve never seen and write 1000 words about it.
Participant in Creative Writing for Academics at Bournemouth University about to write a story based on one photograph
I personally invite you (and your students) to join me for the Gala Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Premiere of RUFUS STONE. The event will take place at the historic Shelley Theatre in Boscombe (Bournemouth) on the 7th of November, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. as part of ESRC’s Festival of Social Science.
A special guest at the screening will be the actor Lin Blakley who played “Abigail” as an adult in RUFUS STONE, and who has lately been seen as Pam Coker, a major role, in EastEnders.
Harry Kershaw, who played young “Rufus”, will also try to join us if he can. He has been very busy since filming with us with roles in the West End and on film, and has a performance that very night. Fingers crossed.
Watching the film with theatre projection is a special treat, if you’ve never experienced it this way before. The Shelley is atmospheric and exciting as well. Mary Shelley watched performances from her deathbed through a window in the theatre that still exists today!
After the half hour screening, there will be short Q&A with the audience. Then, as Joni Mitchell penned it so well, “If you want me, I’ll be in the bar”. We will retire to the renovated bar area for drinks and nibbles. It is here that you will have the chance to meet and chat with some of the representatives of educational, statutory and community organisations who have made an impact on their communities with their own screenings of RUFUS STONE over the past five years.
And this is in no way a swan song! RUFUS STONE will then move on to the University of Tampere in Finland on the 25th of November as the Keynote at their Social Psychology Conference.
It is important that you book soon for the Shelley, as places are limited.
The Event is FREE but you must
Directions to the Shelley Theatre on the Eventbrite site.
Watch the Trailer for RUFUS STONE: https://vimeo.com/43395306
Thanks and looking forward to seeing you at the screening,
From a scholar in Vienna: