The Art in Autoethnography
The art of critical WHAT?! It’s a mouthful, I know.
Please excuse the break between posts – settling back into Melbourne life has taken much longer than expected. This is, in large part, due to men-terruptions and a newfound love of social engagement in all forms, from parties to bars to parties to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. That being said, I am committed to expanding this blog into a killer resource for you; I come across so many insightful things everyday that demand sharing. The first of which is an academic conference I went to last week at the State Library of Victoria, called The Art of Critical Autoethnography. The title of this post is borrowed from the opening keynote address, by Professor Stacy Holman Jones.
Let me break it down for you.
Autoethnography is a research methodology “that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis; read this for more info). It challenges traditional ideas of what research is and provides a way to provocatively and creatively examine notions of the ‘self’ in context.
For two days, amazing researchers and creative folk surrounded me. What I found most inspiring were the stories of resilience and hope that underpinned most presentations. The giddiness I felt from the generous sharing of experience was welcomed and as time marched on, I came to understand that I had truly found ‘my tribe’.
I was fortunate enough to present my PhD research on the first day, allowing me time to step back and reflect on why it is that I do what I do. The truth is this: I am obsessed with living a better life – creatively, emotionally and holistically. It’s as simple as that.
So in the spirit of this revelation and some of the themes from the conference, here are 5 wonderful resources I want to share:
1. “Quicksand” by Katie Noonan’s Vanguard. Seriously, how does she do it;
3. “Ecstatic Corona”, an autoethnographic piece by Patricia Clough. Brilliantly moving and an exemplary piece of scholarly research that is accessible AND poignant;
4. “Walking Ourselves Home”, a reminder to pay attention to our inner worlds; and