International Creative Research Methods Conference

This may be the most exciting blog post I have ever written. I am founding a conference! This is an audacious move for an independent researcher, and there are several reasons why I have decided to make the leap.

First, I want to go to a conference on creative research methods! I helped to organise one in May 2015, with the Social Research Association and the British Library. It was a one-day conference and it was a great success. We had around 100 submissions for presentations, from four continents – and the creative research methods field has expanded massively since then. But, to the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been another one since.

Second, I have tried to persuade various organisations and institutions to host a conference on creative research methods, but none of them have been willing and able to do so.

Third, I am confident that there will be enough interest in this conference. There is no conference on creative research methods anywhere in the world. There are a couple of conferences on visual methods, and a few conferences on qualitative methods that will include creative methods. But that’s all. And I know a lot of people are working in this area now.

Fourth, I have saved enough money to take the financial risk of signing a contract with the venue. And this is a risk – it’s a five-figure sum – I do not want to lose that much money, but I could. Yet this is how confident I am that this conference will succeed: I am literally betting on it with my very own cash.

I have spent the summer picking people’s brains and making plans. I have organised events before, so I have some useful experience, but I am also grateful for the input of a whole bunch of people whose advice and support has been invaluable.

It will be a two-day conference at The Studio in Manchester, starting mid-morning on Monday 11 September 2023, finishing mid-afternoon on Tuesday 12 September 2023. Save the dates! And it will be a hybrid conference, so people can attend in person or online.

I am delighted that my first choices of speakers have agreed to give the keynote each day: highly experienced and creative experts Pam Burnard for Day 1, and Caroline Lenette for Day 2.

If you are interested in contributing to the conference, you can download the call for contributions here. The deadline for proposals is 1 December 2022, and all the details you need should be on the call, including an email address for any queries you may have.

I am so excited about this project! It has been such a struggle to keep it secret; I am delighted I can tell the world at last. Please help me pass the word around – and I hope you can join us in September of next year.

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Creative Data Analysis – Call for Chapter Proposals

I have wanted to make a book on creative methods of analysing data for years. I knew it wasn’t a book I could write on my own unless I did a load of research. I would have loved to do that, but I needed funding, and there are very few funds I can apply to as an independent researcher. I did try Leverhulme but got nowhere. Then I thought about an edited collection, which I probably could have done on my own but I figured it would work better with co-editors. And I wasn’t sure who to ask, so the whole thing stayed on my wishlist.

Then, back in February, I co-hosted a webinar for my publisher Policy Press on creativity in research. My co-hosts were Dawn Mannay from Cardiff University and Alastair Roy from the University of Central Lancashire. We had over 200 attendees on the day, and far more questions than we could answer, including several questions about creative data analysis. This reminded me of my wish to make a book on the subject, so I asked Dawn and Ali if they would co-edit with me. And they both said yes!

Over the summer we have worked with Philippa Grand, my lovely editor at Policy Press, to put together the call for chapter proposals. I am really pleased with what we have produced, not least because we managed to keep it to one page of A4. I can’t wait to see the proposals that come in – though I will have to because the deadline isn’t until 31 December. But I feel so happy about this book because I know researchers in all disciplines around the world are devising and adapting analytic methods in many creative and useful ways, and I am really glad to have an opportunity to help collate some of that information so it can help other researchers in the current and in future generations.

Having said that, there is a whole process to go through. Once we have accepted and organised the chapter proposals, we need to write a proposal for the book, which will be peer-reviewed before Policy Press make a decision on whether or not to publish it. Then we need to work with the chapter authors to help them produce their chapters to a good standard, and write a useful introduction and conclusion. After that the manuscript will be peer reviewed, and then we will need to support chapter authors with their revisions as well as making our own. Then the book will go into production, probably in late 2022 or early 2023, for publication in mid-2023.

After the frenzy of rapid publication last year, this seems almost glacially slow. And I am impatient! But I would rather make a good book than a quick book – I know it is possible to do both, but I also like having a life, so actually this is fine by me.

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