The Narrative Research Network offers a relaxed and supportive space for both writers and researchers inspired by narrative of all kinds to come together. The group connects geographically diverse researchers from a host of interdisciplinary backgrounds to engage in dialogue around narrative work and the issues arising from it.
The multiple aspects of narrative research that we discuss include: oral, personal narratives, professional narratives, written narratives (including autobiographies/ autoethnographies/self-study), visual narratives, digital narratives, and activity or process narratives.
The research network holds monthly meetings and are involved in events such as research presentations and provocations as well as collaborative workshops.
The network also aspires to build collaborations between like-minded researchers in promoting narrative approaches and methodologies. For more information or to join the group please contact Dr Christine Lewis.
We have a team of active researchers focused on contributing and challenging debates around:
- How do we come to see ourselves as distinct subjects about whom a story can be told?
- What role do memory, ideology, sense of audience, and more play in people’s accounts of their lives/practice?
- How do class, ethnicity, gender and other social characteristics shape the stories people tell?
- What do we look for when we analyse narrative accounts of people’s lives/experiences/practices?
- How do we conduct strong ethical and reciprocal research, which is core to doing decolonising research?
- How do we represent ourselves/others who may have experienced oppression by western researchers in reclaiming stories of marginalised Networks/individuals?
- How is narrative embodied and exchanged, how do we talk about finding and losing selves?
Simon Denison outlines his research exploring the value of reflexivity for expanding and enriching our understanding of photographs, ourselves and each other.
Simon Denison has led the Critical Studies (academic) programme at HCA since 2012, working to really engage students with the thrill of ideas and new ways of thinking about the meaning and value of creative practice – both their own practice and that of other people.
Simon teaches across all HE courses in the college, at both MA and BA level, in particular preparing BA (Hons) students for the exciting challenge of their Dissertation in Year 3. In a varied career, Simon has worked as a writer for newspapers including The Independent, The Guardian and The Telegraph; he founded the award-winning magazine British Archaeology, which he edited for ten years; he has taught history and theory of photography at Birmingham City University; and he has also exhibited nationally and internationally as a photographer.
Taking a biographical approach, life history narratives across four generations of families living and working in Wigan, Lancashire show social and cultural changes in educational and working life biographies and consequent social im/mobility over the past 80 years. The biographical narratives allow a “bottom up” approach whilst also exploring the wider relations between self, society and place in a post-industrial setting.
Dr Julia Bennett (University of Chester) completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Manchester in 2012 and then spent four years researching and teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University before taking up a temporary teaching fellowship at Durham University, until June 2018, when she joined the sociology team at Chester. She is a member of the British Sociological Association and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Dr Bennett’s research centres on belonging and place, the subject of her PhD and subsequent research, and in particular around spatial, class, family origin and intergenerational inequalities. She studies what might be called ‘contested communities’, in particular the role of communities of place, identity and interest and their impact on everyday life.
Our story is how four early career researchers become one voice of entangled narratives. We present a collective sensorial cartographic assemblage that traces and amplifies more-than-human voices of those who are living in the margins. This is an active invitation to our audience to add their voice to our feminist and new materialist manifesto to find new ways to get shizz done.
The bag ladies – who we are
We are four early career researchers working both individually and collectively in putting to work feminist, new materialist, and posthuman theories. We have a range of educational research interests and share our thinking-feeling-doing with you.
Liz Latto @liz_latto
Liz Latto is a teaching fellow on the BA Childhood Practice programme at Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research interests include posthumanism and feminist new materialist understandings of early childhood, practitioner identities and practice within early years ORCiD: 0000-0003-2307-454X
Dr Julie Ovington @OvingtonJulie
Julie Ovington is a Childhood Studies Lecturer at the University of Sunderland in the Northeast of England, and she is interested in how matter comes to matter in the distribution of agency – especially for children. ORCiD: 0000-0002-3734-8364
Dr Jo Albin-Clark @JoAlbinClark
Jo Albin-Clark is a senior lecturer and researcher at Edge Hill University, Lancashire, UK. Her interests include the documentation practices of early childhood teachers and practitioners through feminist posthuman and new materialism lenses. ORCiD: 0000-0002-6247-8363
Louise Hawxwell @ehusci_louise
Louise Hawxwell is a senior lecturer in primary education at Edge Hill University, Lancashire, UK. Her research explores how relationships with the outdoors are entangled with the materiality of memories, childhood outdoor experiences, and teacher educator practices and beliefs through common world, posthumanist and new materialist lenses. ORCiD: 0000-0003-1928-8684
Alec Grant will make his second visit to the NRN this year, talking to us about his recent co-authored article ‘Troubling Tolichism in Several Voices: Resisting Epistemic Violence in Creative Analytical and Critical Autoethnographic Practice’
For Autoethnographers and narrative researchers alike this will be an interesting event, Tolich has provided ways of navigating ethical practices in autoethnography and narratives of the self, this work is a critique of Tolichism. We look forward to a rich discussion.
POSTPONED – This event will be rescheduled
Reflections from the Classroom: Narrative approaches to teaching and learning
Dr Allison Moore, and Dr Sally Hester
This paper developed out of our experience of designing and delivering a module for a second year Early Childhood and Childhood and Youth undergraduates entitled Children’s Cultural Worlds. The paper will begin with an outline of the approach taken in the module to the concept of children’s cultural worlds and the teaching and assessment strategy employed. We will discuss recurrent themes which students identified in their work before reflecting upon how this approach to teaching, learning and assessment might be understood as a step towards a radical pedagogy.
Dr Lisa Moran reflects on the process of co-editing and publishing a book on children and young people’s narrations of childhood across diverse contexts, spaces, and places. The book in question; Narrating Childhood with Children and Youth: Diverse Contexts, Methods, and Stories of Everyday Life was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2020, brought together interdisciplinary scholarly contributions from sociology, geography, social work, social care, and education focusing on questions on how young people narrate the world around them and tracing critical innovations in narrative and biographical methodologies. The presenter, Dr Lisa Moran reflects on her own role in co-leading the project and key learning on who she is as a researcher and a lecturer from working with scholars in diverse fields and sharing ideas with the co-editors.
Heather Ransom, who is in the final year of a Psychology PhD, will talk to us about her research within the community of former Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology. By using ‘life stories’, the research explores the differential effects of religious shunning, a typical occurrence when leaving the JWs, and the subsequent impact on identity, self-esteem, belonging and wellbeing. By considering outcomes post-exit, contextual factors are examined and themes identified. For example, method of exit (forced or voluntary), length of membership (born-in or converted as adult), and other considerations that may impact post-exit paths.
Dr Alec Grant discussed his most recent work, namely how he is explicitly adding philosophical depth to autoethnographic narratives. Connected to this is how we as writers of narrative, work to challenge and critique taken-for-granted aspects of culture and oppressive aspects of culture.
Professor Julie Parsons talked to us about her research on the lived experience of the ‘pains of release’ and a neglect of narratives from former prisoners. Following the Voice Centred Relational Method, i-poems were created from interview transcripts, the resulting audio and visual montage are powerful reminders of what i-poems can reveal about alternative rehabilitative conceptualisations of wellbeing and meaning.
Dr Christine Lewis is co-ordinator of the NRN
Louise Hawxwell – co-convenor and faculty liaison
Dr Liana Beattie
Dr Christina Donovan – Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Valerie Gant – University of Chester