The Return of the Author: Developing Effective Modes of Collaboration between Writing Practitioners and Analytical Theorists

By Corinne Fowler and Graham Mort.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This essay offers a series of critical reflections on the wider implications of a major AHRC-funded research project called Moving Manchester. The project is based at Lancaster University and led by Lynne Pearce. It aims to explore the ways in which experiences of migration have informed and influenced creative writing from Greater Manchester since 1960 and its main outputs include a full-scale academic study, an anthology of new writing and an electronic catalogue, which takes the form of an online annotated bibliography. The research team is composed of cultural studies theorists, literary analysts and creative writing practitioners. In this sense, the project dramatises, and seeks to reconcile, tensions between the apparently divergent approaches implied by this breadth of expertise. The team members’ differing backgrounds have prompted the development of specific collaborative methods that can potentially accommodate parallel traditions of creative and analytical work. This is not the sole factor demanding novel approaches however, since the existing constituency of contemporary Manchester writers raises crucial questions about the nature of writers’ involvement in the project’s analytical work. This, in turn, raises broader questions about the project’s ethical framework as well as the mode and spirit in which humanities research is conducted more generally.

Keywords: Creative Writing, Agency, Collaboration, Ficto-Criticism

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 1, Issue 7, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.716MB).

Dr. Corinne Fowler

Researcher, English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK

Corinne Fowler is based in the Institute of Advanced Studies and works as a postdoctoral researcher on an AHRC project called ‘Moving Manchester: how the experience of migration has informed creative writing in Greater Manchester since 1960’. She has published a number of journal articles focusing on diaspora research and the politics of publishing. In 2004, she guest-edited a special issue of the international journal Journeys on travel writing and ethics (4:1). Her scholarly monograph is due to be published later in 2007 as Chasing Tales: journalism, travel writing and the history of British ideas about Afghanistan by Rodopi. Corinne was the 2005 winner of the Feminist and Women’s Studies essay competition.

Dr. Graham Mort

Co-applicant of the research, Department of English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK

Graham Mort is a university lecturer and a published poet who has produced six full-length collections of work; he also writes short fiction and radio drama. He is currently director of postgraduate studies in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is a distance learning specialist. He designed and ran the British Council ‘Crossing Borders’ mentoring scheme for African writers (2001-2006), which engaged writers from the UK with writers from 8 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. He was the UK adviser and designer for the ‘Beyond Borders’ literature festival, held in Kampala in October 2005, which attracted writers and delegates from 17 Anglophone African countries across the continent. Graham was a co-applicant on a major AHRC-funded research project, ‘Moving Manchester: Mediating Marginalities’ which has recently been commissioned to catalogue and research the writings of migrant and diasporic communities in Greater Manchester since 1960. Graham’s most recent collection of poems is, ‘A Night on the Lash’, (Seren, 2004).


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