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Author: Dawn Mannay

Visual and creative methods of data production have become commonplace in social research studies. However, when researchers come to publish this work, the creativity of their data is often constrained by academic conventions that impose dense, dry, flat prose as the communicative exemplar. The priorities of publishing can hinder our ability to write in an accessible way but when we are writing as a project of social justice it is important to engage both cognitively and emotionally with an audience. Drawing on research with mothers and daughters residing in a marginalised area in south Wales, this article focuses on narratives of violence and domestic abuse. Moving from a contextualisation of the topic, to a creative presentation of participants’ stories, the article explores the process of liberation through writing; and the ways in which poetic writing exploits reflection and can inspire an audience to make changes.

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Author: Dawn Mannay

This chapter takes a case study approach, using one woman’s narrative journey from childhood to motherhood to explore the ongoing permeating presence of her childhood experience of domestic and family violence. While the influence of childhood experience on parenting is well recognised, Mannay also highlights the wider context of the normalization of male violence and the centrality of care in the construction of femininity, and their influence on the everyday life and aspirations of girls and women in work as well as family contexts.

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Author: Dawn Mannay

The distinctiveness of Wales in terms of its political life and culture has grown considerably since the early 2000s (Mackay, 2010). Nevertheless, beneath the imagery of the definitive nation, Wales remains a complex and divided land in which a marginalised and demonised working class has come to characterise areas of Wales dominated by poverty and social exclusion. Such polarisation has a spatial dimension that is illustrated in the creation of new ghettos of prosperity and poverty that now dominate the Welsh socioeconomic terrain, and this ‘stigma of place’ permeates the identities of residents. The chapter begins by considering how moral panics about particular places create ‘spatial folk devils’. The creation of moral panics through political discourses and mediated forms is then explored in terms of contemporary representations. Drawing on research with mothers and their daughters in a marginalised Welsh locale, the chapter examines the ideology of unity alongside the divisions of everyday life, and the ways in which respectable and acceptable working-class femininities are negotiated against a pervasive discourse of lack, stigma and classed moral panics.

As Cohen (1980, p 9) contends, societies are subject to periods of moral panic in which ‘a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values’. Moral panics are often discussed in relation to group criminality, incivility and disorder. However, arguably, the emphasis on collective behaviour has shifted to that of the morality of deficient individuals who require discipline; and these deficiencies are seen as a product of personal choice, where individuals are authors of their own immorality (Burney, 2005).

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Author: Dawn Mannay

Wales remains a complex and divided land in which a marginalised and demonised working class has come to characterise areas of Wales dominated by poverty and social exclusion. Drawing on research with mothers and their daughters in a marginalised Welsh locale, this chapter explores the ideology of national unity alongside the divisions of everyday life; and the ways in which respectable and acceptable working class femininities are negotiated against a pervasive discourse of lack, stigma and classed moral panics.

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Principles and Practices

Co-authored by an international team of experts across disciplines, this important book is one of the first to demonstrate the enormous benefit creative methods offer for education research.

You do not have to be an artist to be creative, and the book encourages students, researchers and practitioners to discover and consider new ways to explore the field of education. It illustrates how using creative methods, such as poetic inquiry, comics, theatre and animation, can support learning and illuminate participation and engagement. Bridging academia and practice, the book offers:

• practical advice and tips on how to use creative methods in education research;

• numerous case studies from around the world providing real-life examples of creative research methods in education practice;

• reflective discussion questions to support learning.

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Pregnancy and motherhood are increasingly subjected to surveillance. Research has highlighted that public breastfeeding is difficult to navigate within existing constructs of acceptable femininity, but at the same time, mothers who formula feed are often located within discourses of the failed maternal subject. This article draws on intergenerational research with six mother/grandmother pairs from marginalised urban Welsh locales, which involved elicitation interviews around the everyday artefacts that participants presented to symbolise their experiences of motherhood and infant care. We examine the negotiation of acceptable motherhood in relation to the intrusive policing of lifestyle choices, consumption and infant feeding from family, friends and strangers. The article argues that the moral maze of surveyed motherhood renders infant feeding a challenging, and challenged, space for women.

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Research is conventionally reported in written prose, although other methods such as poetry, story, performance and video are becoming more common. This chapter offers an overview of some of the methods used for reporting education research.

The standard Euro-Western expository method of writing about research is widely regarded as uncreative. We disagree with this; our view is that all writing is creative, because every writer is putting words together to make new sentences, and sentences to make new paragraphs, and ultimately to create new documents. Everyone makes choices as they write, and these choices are ‘simultaneously political, poetic, methodological, and theoretical’ (Richardson, 1997, p 17). It surprises some people to find that non-fiction writers use many of the same techniques as fiction writers (Stein, 1998, p 7). The more we find out about this, the more the division between ‘academic writing’ and ‘creative writing’ seems incomprehensible. After all, some creative writing techniques are almost imperceptible: a metaphor, a change of viewpoint, a sensory phrase can have a subtle but important effect on the reader.

However, the establishment mitigates against the practice of creative research reporting, such as academics being required to publish in academic journals while the majority of academic journals are unwilling to accept creatively written submissions (Rodriguez and Lahman, 2011, p 604). Yet researchers across the social sciences, including education researchers, are increasingly using creative methods to report their research.

The methods we consider in this chapter include fictionalisation and mixed methods, poetry, comics and graphic novels, methods that use technology, collaborative reporting and performative reporting.

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Data analysis sometimes feels like the ‘dark art’ of research. It is often poorly understood, scantily taught and barely explained. Yet analysis is the beating heart of our work as researchers.

This chapter outlines creative approaches to analysing data in education research. You will get most benefit from reading this if you already have a good grounding in when and how to use conventional methods of data analysis. If you lack confidence in this area, we would recommend consulting the relevant section(s) of a good methods text, such as Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2018, part 5), ideally before reading the rest of this chapter.

Creative data analysis can refer to the analysis of data gathered using creative methods such as those covered in the previous two chapters. Alternatively, it can refer to creative methods of analysing data gathered using creative or conventional methods (or a combination of the two). This chapter focuses on the latter, as the former is more fully covered in the literature (for example, Rose, 2016; Lenette, 2019).

The use of creative methods in analysing data makes no difference to good practice in research. Analytic work still needs to include meticulous preparation and coding of data, accurate description and representation and appropriate use of power in interpretation. Creative analytic work can be done by hand, using software or with a combination of methods.

In this chapter we invite you to consider:

  • the potential role of embodiment in data analysis;

  • how to analyse visual data creatively;

  • creative ways to analyse data using arts-based techniques;

  • creative approaches to multi-modal data analysis; and

  • the ethical aspects of analysing data.

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In this chapter we look at creative ways to present our research to audiences. We begin by considering good practice in research presentation. Then we look at representation of data, participants and findings. We discuss some creative methods of presenting research in person, which is always, effectively, a performance. Dissemination – circulating research outputs more widely – is covered in Chapter 9. We also review the ethical dimensions of presenting research.

As we saw in Chapter 7, research is most often reported in writing, though researchers are also using visual, performative and poetic methods to report on their work. Here we look in more detail at how written reports can be presented creatively on page and screen.

Performative presentation is embodied; there is no way to perform without using our bodies (Ellingson, 2017, p 1). Conventional performative presentation can be incredibly boring, such as when someone reads text from a page (Cutcher, 2013, p 39; Evergreen, 2014, p 5). Conversely, using creative performative methods can engage audiences intellectually and emotionally.

Storytelling is at the root of the presentation process, whether in prose, drama, film, dance or any other form of presentation. A good story will inform and entertain an audience. Stories have been described as ‘the creative conversion of life itself to a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience’ (McKee, 1999, p 27). As this suggests, a story is an effective way of making sense of complexity. Also, a story is an accessible way to present information (Kovach, 2009, p 131). It seems that education researchers rarely use poetry in presentations.

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