Helen Johnson

Poetic Autoethnographies: Developing Participatory Research through Artist-Practitioner Expertise

Dr. Helen Johnson, University of Brighton, England in collaboration with and the Participatory Cultures Lab, McGill University and the Institute of Human Development and Well-being

Poetic Autoethnographies is centred around a pilot study to develop a new method of ‘poetic autoethnography.’ The method aims to enrich autoethnographic practice by working with experienced young slam/spoken word artists to produce autobiographical poems of their experiences of prejudice and discrimination, which are informed by social scientific literature. We will explore how such collaborations can create engaging, creative texts, informed by existing social scientific literature and by researchers’ lived experiences. The project funded by the NCRM  will run from January 2016 until February 2017, with the majority of the research being carried out during a two month period in Montréal with the IHDW and PCL, July and August 2016. The poetic autoethnographies will be disseminated in chapbooks and in a final, local performance.  We will also produce a short film, showcasing the project methods and creative outputs.

The project’s objectives include:

  • to develop the ‘poetic autoethnography’ method for wider use;
  • to inspire and enable others to use this method, by developing clear guidelines for dissemination through online and face-to-face platforms, and writing up the study for journal article/s and presentations;
  • to develop a productive, sustainable working relationship between scholars at the University of Brighton and McGill University;
  • to provide opportunities for early career researchers to develop their research, teaching and organisational skills; and
  • to develop plans for future work aimed at extending this method to less experienced artists.

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