Since my last post I have been to the SRHE conference in Newport, Wales where I presented a paper on exploring embodied academic identity and convened a round table on creative research methods with Nicole Brown (UCL), Lou Harvey (University of Leeds) and Jess Bradley (University of Leeds).  The four of us are also running a workshop on creative methods for SRHE in February, and presenting at the NCRM Festival 2018.  I screened the video essay from the project at a CSHE seminar, and then took some annual leave…

Except of course I was working through the ‘holidays’.  I took home a huge pile of papers and books to work through.  I was pretty productive though, with two book chapters, an introductory chapter and most of a conclusion chapter all finished.  Since the New Year I have been cracking on with another co-authored chapter and today I have been working on one of two papers that need to be finished off and submitted to journals.

All this writing can be pretty disembodied though.  I prefer writing sitting on a sofa with the TV on (it has to be really rubbish telly so that I can ignore it) so that I can sit with my legs crossed and my laptop on my lap.  Not always good when I need to work through loads of papers / books as they tend to fall off the sofa, but definitely my preference for writing.  I’ve been picking up my yoga practice to help me with this, and even joined the sport centre at work today with the vague thought that I can book a studio and practise in there if I can’t quite get up at 5:30 to start before I go to work.

The next job will be to bring that pile back to the office…



I have been trying to get into the spirit of academic writing month or #acwrimo with full knowledge of fast approaching deadlines. I have three book chapters to write – only one of which is jointly authored – along with a couple of papers that need to be edited and submitted to journals. I have actually been fairly prolific so far, unfortunately not on the above but instead a series of blog posts and abstracts for various conferences and special calls looking at various aspects of my embodied academics study and issues around using creative approaches such as the boundaries between research/therapy and data/art.
I could be positive and frame this as a way to clear the decks, and get the creative juices flowing. Or I could see it more negatively as form of procrastination and avoidance of the writing I really NEED to be doing right now. I think in fact, the reality is somewhere in the middle ground. I was and have been stuck on those book chapters, and whilst writing these shorter pieces I am holding the questions in my head of what I want to say and how I might go about it. I am the kind of person who needs to almost pre-write a paper in my head before it can come out. One of my favourite ways of finding this space is to take the dog for a long walk around the countryside and literally just talk it out. However, even though I know this time, space and air is what I need to write, I hesitate to just go for a walk when I am working in the office, for fear of not looking productive. I need to move and engage my body to get my mind working. I know that I would probably actually be more productive if I just had the courage to do this. In the meantime…


One of the things I am passionate about is using embodied research methods to answer embodied research questions.  My recent project exploring embodied academic identity involved meeting academics in studio spaces where we had room to move and access to high quality art materials to reflect on aspects of embodied practice and academic work.  All the meetings were filmed and I gave the 18 hours of footage to a fimographer, Catriona Blackburn  from Althaia Films and together we’ve been working on a video essay.

This process in itself was really interesting, as I didn’t realise how vulnerable I’d feel handing it all over to someone else and finding out the story they would tell from my work!  The essay will be complementary to and different from the written work that I am working on.

One of the questions we have been batting around is where the lines are between art and research, and research and therapy. We met together with Nicole Brown to discuss this, the project, and to work together on a collage.

We were discussing how art is art if you determine it to be so, and I think that this determination can happen after the fact.  You don’t have to intend for something to be art when you are doing it (think Tracey Emin’s bed for example). However, this is not true for therapy.  You have to intend to take a therapeutic approach from the outset, and I believe the same is true for research.  But both research and therapy can have outputs that can be determined as art.

So now I have the juxtaposition of a collage within an academic office which brings up issues around dissemination of this art/data and where it should sit…

Creative research


Embodied academic

What does it mean to be an embodied academic?  What implications are there for research, teaching and practice?

It’s probably best to start with what I mean by embodied, as there are many different understandings of the term.  For me, embodiment is a state of being (we are all fleshy, breathing, moving bodies) and also a process.  The process of embodiment is to do with self-awareness of our corporeal selves, our proprioceptive sense of where we are in space in relation to the ground and others, our thoughts, our emotions, our projections, and our feelings.