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CLeaR Fellows 2017 – Dr Alys Longley

Letting the letters run ahead of me; a study of writing practices that support creative thinking’

Dr Alys LongleyPractice-led research is a fast-growing methodology in tertiary study. One of the tenets of practice-led research is that it is oriented toward studio-based creative processes, wherein artistic practices lead the formation of knowledge production. In creativity research, the value of intuitive, playful and unpredictable studio methods is well accepted (Ellis, 2015; Melrose, 2017). However, conventional forms of academic writing emphasise research that is predictable, conventional and formulaic. In some circumstances, such forms of writing might constrain, rather than enable creative research. For my CLeaR Fellowship project I would like to interview practice-led researchers throughout the university to inquire about the forms of writing that they find most helpful or constraining in developing their research. I would also like to run a series of workshops on writing for creative-practice research, in which different models of writing are discussed, tested and developed. These workshops would develop methods that could easily translate to undergraduate teaching in diverse studio-led disciplines; articulating the potential of writing in academic education to be playful, risky, intuitive, non-linear and adventurous, alongside the potential to be readable, clear, focussed, rigorous, structured, technical and linear.

The teaching and learning leadership embedded in this project relates to how it responds to international developments in artistic research and supervision. These developments have the potential to generate innovative approaches to writing relevant across the university and to improve teaching, learning and assessment practices. It will ask; How can the creativity of the writing process be fostered in diverse environments?

The emergence of practice-led research is taking writing in the academy to new places – creative-practice PhD’s are being presented in the form of multi-media maps, artist-books, novels, poetry collections, plays, installations and sound-works. Researching the forms of writing that best enable creative practice will support key university teaching and learning objectives. These include; supporting diversity through creating space for diverse voices to develop writing practices that correspond with cultural values; supporting innovation; and supporting interdisciplinary practice.

A key outcome that I expect from this fellowship is the extension of my thinking and pedagogical knowledge through the opportunity to work with colleagues from across the university on the theme of writing in tertiary learning. This combined with the opportunity to engage with current research on writing, pedagogy, practice-led research and higher education I am sure would lead to my development as an educator, a writer and a researcher. This Fellowship would contribute to my research in Post Graduate supervision, Practice-Led research, and creativity studies. I would like to author a book on this subject so this fellowship provides me with a very useful seed-research opportunity.

Ellis, Simon (2015) Jealousy, Transmission and Recovery, Performance Research, 20:6, pp. 95-100.
Melrose, Susan (2017) Confessions of an Uneasy Expert Spectator. Accessed 10 November 2017 from