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Collaborative writing practices in crisis: the ethics of co-research and adaptation

21 October 2022

In this seminar, Siobhan Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the OU and Sally Blackburn Daniels, a Visiting Fellow at the OU analysed the ways in which working with NGOs and voluntary organisations in contested or post-conflict environments presents challenges which result in new ways of thinking about ethics of inclusion and about ‘co-research’. Focused on participatory arts interventions, the insights have wider application to research by academics in international settings.

Kant’s definitions of ethically significant thought or practical reason are explored through recurring themes in different settings:

  • The relational nature of the collaborative research journey: becoming ‘co-researchers’ and the complexities of sustaining research partnerships.
  • Understandings of praxis as a potential source of stability providing the possibility of change, both personal and organisational.
  • Participatory writing practise as a way creating the conditions for social change both via the ‘what’ of what is written and via the ‘how’ of the scaffolding and occurrences that elicit that writing.
  • How arts methodological practices are adapted to working online, and the ethical implications of these changes.
  • How adaptations create opportunities for co-research that allow for the conscious comprehension of emerging narrative knowledge where what Campbell calls Social Literary Practise provides methods for examining the implications of action and of artifact as generative of new communities of practice.

Dr Siobhan Campbell is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Open University. She has worked to develop creative and expressive writing methodologies with partners in Iraq, Lebanon and Northern Ireland. Co-author of The Expressive Writing Handbook for Human Rights Defenders and Frontline Workers, she is currently reporting on the AHRC funded project: Expressive Writing and Telling in Crisis: Addressing urgent needs in Akkar Governate, Lebanon. Her project with NHS partners, along with Sally Blackburn-Daniels, Creative Writing with Healthcare workers after Covid, is shortlisted in the OU Research Excellence awards and won the Covid category in the Better Ideas in Health Awards, 2021.

Dr. Sally Blackburn-Daniels is a Visiting Fellow at The Open University with current research interests in empathy, metaphor and creative practices. She was Impact Consultant for English, Creative Writing and Religious Studies for the 2021 REF. She has worked with Siobhan on Creative Writing with Frontline Healthcare Workers in Covid and with Dr. Shaf Towheed on the READ-IT project as well as being a key researcher on Expressive Writing in Crisis: Lebanon.

Available on ORDO
Postcards from Lebanon: showcase of Expressive-Creative Writing and Telling: from the humanities intervention, Expressive Writing and Telling in Crisis

Creative and Expressive Writing from Lebanon: a short film (in Arabic with English translation)

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