Events 2019-20

Autumn Term

Monday 4 November, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: No voice, no one sees, and no one asks. In the silence, flawed perceptions wreak havoc with life.

This session will be facilitated by Joan Williams.

Dr. Joan Williams is Retired Senior Lecturer in Higher Education. In retirement, Joan is developing a private mentoring and mindful self-compassion practice to support adults with mild – moderate mental health issues. She writes and performs autoethnography, although much less frequently since her life path altered significantly in 2017.

Her work explores stored memories in mind and body through reflective dialogue, creative writing, song and meditation. It deepens knowledge and understanding of distressing life conditions, and facilitates mindful and compassionate responses and ways of being.

I will read two pieces of work:

Firstly, extracts from the lyrics of my song ‘The fearful child’s lament’. The lyrics pay tribute to the struggle of my vulnerable young child in her precarious home environment. One evening in 2016, after my first singing lesson the song erupted from the depths of my being. My young, frightened child found an outlet to voice, as if to her parents, the difficult emotions that govern her.

Secondly, my poem entitled ‘The institutional slave master: Horrible Behaviour’. In this poem my inner voice expresses the felt injustice that led to my early retirement from Higher Education. The behaviour experienced in my work environment and portrayed in the poem, touched on and exacerbated the pain and fear of my vulnerable child opening up the deep inner wounds.

At the end of each reading there will be time to reflect in writing and share perspectives on the voices expressed.

Monday 21 November, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: Work in progress: Therapy, stand-up, writing, and ‘sustainability’ in qualitative inquiry

This session will be facilitated by Jonathan Wyatt who is Professor of Qualitative Inquiry and Director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry at The University of Edinburgh. Originally an English teacher and youth worker, he worked for ten years as a counsellor in a doctors’ surgery alongside being Head of Professional Development at the University of Oxford, before heading north to Scotland in 2013. His most recent book is Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry, published by Routledge.

I finished writing a book over a year ago about the connections between therapy, stand-up, writing, and ‘creative-relational inquiry’, together with Deleuze and Guattari, the new materialisms and affect theory. The book is out in the world now, doing its thing. For this Open Space I will share work-in-progress on how I am taking the book’s conversations into thinking with and beyond the term ‘sustainability’ and towards a conceptualising, a re-imagining perhaps, of the work we do as qualitative inquirers that speaks to that work’s unfolding process alongside its/our responsibilities to respond to the crises our planet faces.

The writing will take me back (and forth) into my work with Karl, my client, whose stories populate the book, and the sense he and I continue to make together of his awareness that living in the way he does is becoming impossible. Unsustainable. The writing will take me into the work of stand-up performers such as Lauren Pattison and her anger at the entrenched, relentless – sustained – class and gender politics of the UK comedy world. The writing may take me into what keeps me/us writing, what keeps me/us inquiring. It may take me into the creative-relational concepts and practices necessary for nourishing – for more than sustaining – powerful, brave, thoughtful, compassionate, collaborative scholarship.

On the night I will talk and read; and we will write and read and talk some more. Not necessarily in that order.

Spring Term:

Monday 20 January, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.10

Narrative open space: Encountering intimacy through posthuman theorising and the animation of creative relational practices.

This session will be facilitated by Ken Gale. Ken works in the Institute of Education in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Plymouth in the UK and has published widely and presented at a number of international conferences on the philosophy of education, research methodologies and collaborative approaches to education practices. His current research involves the use of more than simply human approaches to theorising and inquiry, in encounters with creative and relational space making and the in/formational play between discursively constructed and materially constituted aspects of pedagogy and research in contemporary education. His most recent book, Madness as Methodology: Bringing Concepts to Life in Contemporary Theorising and Inquiry, published by Routledge in March 2018, explores and engages with the (non) methodological ways in which such forms of inquiry might be seen to take place.

In this lecture, I will argue that writing with and to intimacy, using posthuman ways of theorising and an animation of creative relational practice, helps to constructively destabilise the image of thought and the simply human practice of signifying, representing and specifying intimacy, and emotions more generally, within a metaphysics of being.

Such an approach is designed to prompt movement away from thinking about what a body is or what it might mean and toward moving with and sensing encounters and engagements with what bodies can do. This will also involve and prompt speculation about intimacy, not as an ontologically stable, molar attribute of simply human bodies, rather as a complex, relational multiplicity of always shifting molecular lines.  The lecture will move to examine the view that bodies are always in touch in the politics and play of affective relationality, always emergent in the dance between affecting and being affected and always active,  sensing and shifting in intensive moments of movement and change. The lecture will conclude with the view that intimacy is, therefore, always becoming in the animation of new creative relational forces and encounters, that intimacy is processually worlding, always involved in doing.

Monday 2 March, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: Walking/not walking

This session will be facilitated by Davina Kirkpatrick and Carol Laidler

Place and walking are at the centre of Dr Davina Kirkpatrick and Carol Laidler’s embodied art practices but what happens when our bodies age and deteriorate, when pain takes over, when movement is hampered? How does a body in pain take part within a dialogue into place and movement? How do we even begin to communicate what pain feels like?

Inspired by Hallett and Smith’s 2017 book Walking Stumbling, Limping, Falling, and drawing on Davina’s Post-Doctoral Research workshops into visualising pain, Davina and Carol met for a series of walking conversations about pain and how it intrudes on, as well as becomes an active partner in creative practice. This playful inquiry continued through letters and collaborative writing, allowing slippage between our walking intentions and the fragility of our bodies.

We will present a twenty-minute performance presentation with film that is an articulation of that process, a meandering contemplation about the states of our bodies. This will then lead directly into a writing session to work with the themes that arise for each person from the presentation. This writing and people’s responses will inform the discussion to follow.

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