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Alternative title: Creating Communities : Collaboration in Creative Writing and Research
Issue Details: First known date: 2020... no. 59 October 2020 of TEXT Special Issue est. 2000 TEXT Special Issue Website Series
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'An Early Career Researcher (ECR), a Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidate and an older researcher walk into a bar … a cliché perhaps, but we are keenly aware that this is all too often how discussions of collaborative endeavours begin. We are confident it is how a number of the contributions in this Special Issue began – the creation of informal spaces, opportunities and networks to make it possible is the focus of at least one article. The idea for a TEXT Special Issue centred on collaboration emerged when we, as three creative writing academics in different stages of our careers, began discussing not only how we collaborated, but why we did (or did not) do it. Our discussions ranged from the collaborative process as a means to build capacity, academic employability, and a research profile; to produce a sense of belonging in HDR communities; and to the deeply rewarding though at times challenging nuances of working with colleagues who are also friends. Collaborative endeavours raise questions of opportunity and innovation, and of power shifts and hierarchies, as well as of what we value as practitioners. The increasing pressure to publish placed on academics in all stages of their careers by both our institutions and the broader research environment demands further considerations. Questions raised in our early discussions are centred in this Special Issue. We ask: How does collaboration in our patch of the academy work? What are the possible benefits and challenges of collaborative practice? How do we build creative writing communities in the academy, and why should we?' (Lee McGowan, Alex Philp and Ella Jeffery, Introduction)


* Contents derived from the 2020 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Creating Collaborative Capacity in Early Career Research Writers, Susan Gasson , Christine Bruce , Clarence Maybee , single work criticism
'Given evidence of enhanced productivity and citations achieved by collaborative writers, it is important for researchers to develop collaborative capacity (Abramo, D’Angelo & Di Costa 2009; McCarty, Jawitz, Hopkins & Goldman 2013). Our theoretical paper defines the concepts of Collaborative Capacity and Informed Research and incorporates them within a Collaborative Research Culture Framework. We also present five stories that illustrate how elements of the Framework, including Collaborative Capacity, can help the collaborative research writer to overcome challenges and engage successfully in collaborative opportunities. One story focuses on a student and supervisor collaboration to highlight the role of trust and respect; another describes how student collaborations can enrich and enable informal, formal and sanctioned networks; a third describes the innovation, inclusion and initiative achieved through writing collaboratively; a fourth demonstrates how leadership capacity facilitates the creation of a successful edited book, and the last examines how writers as informed researchers can engage with critical communities and resources. 'All the stories occur in global and cross-disciplinary contexts and exemplify the potential for developing new collaborative writing approaches. While the stories are generic they are loosely based on collegially shared or reported experiences. The power of adopting a narrative approach in this paper is that it allows the exploration of the particular in ordinary, everyday instances (Clandinin 2013; Donnelly, Gabriel, Özkazanç‐Pan & Kara 2013). The stories demonstrate how a writer can develop Collaborative Capacity, by showing leadership and being an informed researcher, supporting access to different networks, genres and media that progress their research endeavours within and across disciplines and sectors (e.g., government, industry, community and the non-profit). We conclude that the Framework enables strategic reflection by those seeking to successfully collaborate through development of Collaborative Capacity.' (Publication abstract)
Writing and Rewriting Australia : ECR Collaboration in Designing and Delivering an Australian Literary Studies Unit, Ella Jeffery , Mark Piccini , single work criticism
'Collaboration plays an increasingly important role in the academy, and for early career researchers (ECRs) is seen as a particularly central practice for developing community, increasing productivity and building a research profile. Collaborative practices are most frequently adopted in the research space, but we contend that there is also significant value in collaboration between ECRs in unit design and development, teaching-based areas that are traditionally the domain of a single academic. In this paper, we discuss our collaborative approach to the design of an Australian literary studies unit named Writing Australia, in which the Unit Coordinator, a full-time lecturer and ECR, shared the space of unit design and development with the ECR contracted to deliver the unit’s tutorials, a final-year PhD candidate. This approach enabled the unit’s tutor to acquire crucial skills that are required for academics roles, but the collaborative approach also resulted in the development of a unit that was itself far more focused on collaborative, multi-vocal delivery that asked students to engage with Australian literature not as a static body of texts, but as varied, diverse, and ever-evolving discussion about what it means to be Australian, as well as the ways in which Australia as an ideological edifice is endlessly constructed and reconstructed in our national literature.' (Publication abstract)
Collaborating Upwards : Writing across Hierarchical Boundaries, Elizabeth Ellison , Craig Batty , single work criticism
'As a practice, collaborative writing between students and supervisors is hardly new and can be considered common in STEM disciplines. This has not always been the case in the creative arts, where there are different expectations around authorship and, as in other contexts, potentially deeper considerations of power and authority. In this article, we examine modes of collaborative writing practice in the creative arts, with a particular focus on writing across hierarchical boundaries in research training scenarios. Using screenwriting practice as a context for this discussion, and informed by our own reflective practice, we identify a number of collaborative writing ‘modes’ (which we have named ‘take the lead’, ‘share the load’, and ‘learn the ropes’) and offer possible strategies for those writing across hierarchical relationships and boundaries. This is important for understanding what might otherwise become an assumed, misunderstood or, worse, predatory practice that disempowers students and unfairly advantages supervisors. As part of our exploration, we draw on our experiences of running cohort-based, collaborative research opportunities in creative disciplines. Reflecting on our experiences in regard to our own collaborations allows us to examine how these structures have enabled students to find their own agency within these collaborative spaces.' (Publication abstract)
Collaboration and Its Discontents : Considerations for Creative Writing HDR Students Collaborating on Traditional Research Outputs, Alex Philp , Ella Jeffery , Lee McGowan , single work criticism
'Collaboration between creative writing researchers in the academy, and particularly the benefits and potential of HDR writing groups, are topics that have drawn increasing scholarly attention. Batty notes that while ‘creative writing is often seen as an isolated practice, it is also one in which practitioners crave connection and people with whom to share their ideas, for moral support and critical feedback’ (2016: 69). While collaboration is vital to developing new networks and communities, the development and maintenance of collaborative practice is often as complicated as it is productive. This article examines some of the deeper complexities of collaborating on traditional research outputs and considers the ways in which creative writing HDR students in particular can develop a range of strategies to navigate collaborative practice. Through reflecting upon several exemplars of collaborations experienced by the authors – including a HDR writing group – this article contends that collaboration is often more complex than the literature suggests. Rather than being conceptualised as an always generative, ideal model for producing research outputs, collaboration should instead be conceptualised, discussed in scholarship, and approached in ways that are as diverse, paradoxical, and fluid as collaborative endeavours are in practice.' (Publication abstract)
Behaviours in a Peer-only Creative Writing HDR Support Group : the Experiences of Two Students of Colour, Melanie Saward , Sara El Sayed , single work criticism
'The experience of the creative writing higher degree research student is unique. The practice-led methodology many candidates apply to their research differs significantly to that of other disciplines, even those arts disciplines where practice is the focus of the research. Student life is further complicated by the need not only to be working towards research publication, but creative publication too. In some instances, feelings of isolation can contribute to HDR students failing to complete their studies. For women of colour, the need for counterspaces in the academy is also apparent. This reflective paper examines and discusses how a peer-only, diverse, horizontalised group facilitates the development of a sense of belonging and critical ‘disappearing’ relational behaviours that sit outside formal, academic supervisory interaction. Of particular importance in this reflection comes from the perspective of two students of colour. Through conversation with these two current members of the group, this paper discusses the behaviours and outcomes of peer-only support groups for HDR students in creative writing. It examines why HDR students of colour may prefer to seek support outside of the predominantly white formal structures that characterise the academy in Australia, and how such groups could potentially create effective counterspaces for students of colour.' (Publication abstract)
Introducing Showpony : An Inclusive Space for Cross-arts Performance and Connection, Heather McGinn , Chloe Cannell , Pablo Muslera , Lachlan Blackwell , Amelia Walker , single work criticism
'This collaborative paper argues that on-campus open mic events enrich university culture, which in turn enriches holistic learning and wellbeing. To demonstrate, we present four accounts of Showpony, our university’s monthly creative performance and pop up bar night. Originally held in a pub near campus, Showpony shifted into a student lounge space in early 2018. The move followed queerphobic and ableist discrimination against Showpony participants making continued use of the public venue untenable. Initially, we went to campus out of necessity: there is no other nearby venue with a suitably-sized, fully-accessible performance space. However, since moving, we recognise that operating on campus provides other benefits. Showpony nights intervene in and to degrees, cuts through the institutional space. Or, in Deleuze and Guattari’s terms, Showpony introduces something smooth into an otherwise striated territory. This prompts different ways of being in and working through the space, fostering styles of learning and interaction that don’t necessarily occur in lectures or tutorials. Our paper’s four accounts of Showpony encompass staff and student perspectives, including participant as well as organiser viewpoints. We aim to elucidate how Showpony has enriched our university culture, and to provide insights for those interested in running similar events.' (Publication abstract)
The Writing Collective: a Cross-university Collaboration between Undergraduate Creative Writing Students, Alex Philp , Emma Doolan , Rohan Wilson , single work criticism
'Online publishing platforms present opportunities for emerging writers to both share their work with an audience and to engage in a critical dialogue with peers. However, the potential of these platforms remains largely untapped in a tertiary education environment, even with the increasing focus on online learning. This paper presents the results of a pilot project that matched undergraduate students at a metropolitan university with students at a regionally based university to use the digital platform Wattpad as a site for creative writing peer critique. We found that while Wattpad presents a number of benefits for students engaging both across universities and online, digital spaces present unique challenges for the critique process. Critiquing often relies on trust and personal bonds in order to be effective, and these can be harder to establish in a digital environment. Wattpad also presents barriers to ease of use and ease of communication. From our perspective as facilitators of the Writing Collective, we examine the successes produced by the collaboration, as well as the drawbacks, and suggest further avenues for research.' (Publication abstract)
Becoming-game : An Assemblage of Perspectives on Challenges for Early Career Academics in Neoliberal Times, Corinna Di Niro , Amelia Walker , Alice Nilsson , Rebekah Clarkson , Yuwei Gou , Elena Spasovska , Nadine Levy , Chloe Cannell , single work drama
'Our script Becoming-game is an assemblage in the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) concept of the assemblage as a contingent formation of elements that could equally be separate, differently formed and/or combined with other things altogether. It comprises fragments of our distinct creative writings around the theme of games from a collaborative creative writing research project in which we – eight academics from differing backgrounds, all bearing broadly feminist and/or queer outlooks – came together to share and compare our experiences and perspectives with the aim of realising strategies we can engage to resist inequality in and beyond academia today. Performing our assemblage enriched our appreciation of the multiple themes running in and across our writings – and thus of the complex games played in and through neoliberal academia. Theatre researcher and practitioner Di Niro directed our collective in translating the creative piece to a theatrical medium. We performed Becoming-game at the JM Coetze Centre’s ‘Scholarship is the New Conservative’ Symposium on 6 September 2019. Overall, this collaborative work speaks to games of power and privilege, especially although not only those of gender and late capitalist modes of production.' (Publication abstract)
Not ‘all Writing Is Creative Writing’ and That’s OK : Inter/disciplinary Collaboration in Writing and Writing Studies, Beck Wise , single work criticism
'In the discipline of creative writing in Australia, questions of disciplinary identity have previously focused on distinguishing creative writing from literary studies. Fewer have questioned exactly what academics mean when they talk about ‘writing’ as a discipline. When the term ‘writing’ is used synecdochally to mean ‘creative writing’ or ‘writing in a general sense’, other kinds of writing risk becoming invisible or undervalued. This often results in writing programs targeted at fiction and creative nonfiction writers aspiring to publication. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, our collaboration, which we label ‘horizontal mentoring’, across sub-disciplines in writing – creative writing and technical communication – has resulted in fruitful investigations into disciplinary identity. We draw on a reflective practice methodology to answer the questions: how has our collaboration helped us develop a more nuanced understanding of writing? How might this collaboration help advocate for writing in the Australian context? How can our collaboration help develop diverse students as writers? We conclude with a vision for an inclusive and welcoming disciplinary identity and pedagogical practices that engage diverse student cohorts.' (Publication abstract)
Doing Collective Biography Differently by Incorporating Methods of Narrative Inquiry, Poetic Inquiry and Performance Studies into the Analysis of Writings-as-data, Chloe Cannell , Elena Spasovska , Yuwei Gou , Alice Nilsson , Rebekah Clarkson , Corinna Di Niro , Nadine Levy , Amelia Walker , single work criticism
'This article reports on methods used to analyse creative writings as data in a collective biography research project undertaken by eight academics. All of us bear broadly feminist and/or queer outlooks, and all experience deep dissatisfaction with neoliberalism’s deepening on academia. We came together to witness shared struggles and imagine things otherwise. As outlined in Doing Collective Biography (Davies & Gannon 2006), collective biographers respond to themed writing prompts in a group workshop setting. The writings become data that the team analyses to generate, enrich and transform knowledges around the research theme. We followed these processes, but did collective biography differently by additionally incorporating analysis methods of narrative inquiry, poetic inquiry and performance studies. This article discusses the benefits and challenges these methods offered. Our objective is to share our learning with other researchers interested in pursuing similar projects.' (Publication abstract)
Collaboration and Authority in Electronic Literature, David Thomas Henry Wright , single work criticism
'This paper explores collaborative processes in electronic literature. Specifically, it examines writer authority as it applies to text, code, and other media. By drawing from cinematic auteur theory, Mitchell’s Picture Theory (1994), Said’s Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975), Cayley’s Grammalepsy (2018), and Flores’s (2019) generational approach to digital literature, this paper highlights unique issues that arise in the creative collaborative production of digital literary works, and the influence these processes have on how these works are ‘read’. The creative processes employed in Montfort, Rettberg, and Carpenter’s respective Taroko Gorge, Tokyo Garage, and Gorge (2009), Jhave’s ReRites (2017–2018), and Luers, Smith, and Dean’s novelling (2016)), as well as reflections on the author’s own collaborative creative experiences (Paige and Powe (2017) with Lowry and Lane, Little Emperor Syndrome (2018) with Arnold, and V[R]erses (2019–) with Breeze) are explored in detail. From these analyses, this paper concludes that in digital literary practices code should be regarded as a meta-authority that denotes authority to specific components of the work. A better understanding of these complexities as they apply to attribution is emphasised in the future development of digital literary creative practice and education.' (Publication abstract)
Productive Discomfort : Negotiating Totality in Collaborative Digital Narrative Practice, Freya Wright-Brough , single work criticism

'Working as a collaborative writing team, there are many different power structures at play influencing what stories can be told and how they are told. Creative practitioners must negotiate these power structures if they are to work productively as collaborators. Looking at the collaborative process through a Levinasian lens provides new insights into the complex nature of how power structures affect the narratives produced by collaborative teams and how creative practitioners can work towards more ethical and productive collaboration.

'This study examines the process of producing the digital narrative, We See Each Other, as part of a collaborative writing team from my perspective as one of the creative practitioners. Interview and field note data is drawn upon to analyse the ways in which Levinas’s notions of totality and infinity played out in the creative process revealing that productive collaborative relationships are formed when collaborators experience transcendent encounters with one another. Analysis of the creative process also reveals the often-blurred line between totality and infinity, making working toward these transcendent encounters challenging. Working towards ethical collaboration therefore involves learning to work alongside totality, a process conceptualised in this paper as ‘productive discomfort’.' (Publication abstract)

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Last amended 13 Nov 2020 12:59:06