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  • Author or Editor: Lalitha Vasudevan x
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In our project, ethnographic methods of participant observation and interviews were infused with arts-based methods of creating artefacts – collaging, impromptu video making, shared text-making, photography; these practices, as they become normalized within our research ethos, served as ‘weirs’ and interrupted the flow of received meanings that are embedded often in the labels ascribed to young people by the systems of schooling and justice. Embodiment is a word that tries to capture what is left of a project. This chapter, even with the inclusion of words, images and a cacophony of form, still offers only a partial glimpse of the affective traces that took root in the circle within us and the one that we draw around us, together.

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Worthiness is a necessary precursor to empathy, which is vital for the type of collaborative and participatory co-production research we sought to pursue in the ‘Reimagining Futures’ project. The work of organizing research projects to create conditions for more than the mere inclusion of multiple voices in the research can be seemingly inherent in research pursued with (rather than on or about, for example) communities, organizations, young people, or some combination thereabouts.

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Here, we introduce the reader to some of the key concepts in this book: (1) unplanning, (2) work, (3) story, (4) embodiment, (5) polyphony, (6) worthiness, (7) audiencing and (8) dis/enchantment. These concepts enable a set of insights to be built up about collaborative interdisciplinary research and constitute a poetics arising from that work.

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In this chapter, we introduce some of the reasons that drove us to compose this book in the first place. The book is written to challenge a singular view of the university and to move towards more collaborative modes of enquiry.

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This chapter provides an overview of the value of getting lost in research and refers to arts-based methods as a way to do this. It proposes the idea of ‘unplanning’ as a way of exploring what it is to get lost. Using the concept of the ‘clew’ is helpful in this process. This provides new insights into the processes and practices of doing collaborative research.

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The Poetics of Letting Go

This book invites the reader to think about collaborative research differently. Using the concepts of ‘letting go’ (the recognition that research is always in a state of becoming) and ‘poetics’ (using an approach that might interrupt and remake the conventions of research), it envisions collaborative research as a space where relationships are forged with the use of arts-based and multimodal ways of seeing, inquiring, and representing ideas.

The book’s chapters are interwoven with ‘Interludes’ which provide alternative forms to think with and another vantage point from which to regard phenomena, pose a question, and seek insights or openings for further inquiry, rather than answers. Altogether, the book celebrates collaboration in complex, exploratory, literary and artistic ways within university and community research.

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