Risk, Constraint, Play: A New Paradigm for Examining Practice-as-Research

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This essay looks at my own learning as a writer in order to ask what constitutes creative practice and then takes particular examples to create a paradigm for examining practice-as-research in the academy: risk + constraint + play = change. I use creative readings of particular cultural encounters I have had during my own writing life – with Cornelia Parker, and Kathleen Jamie and Bridget Collins, for instance – to illustrate these ideas. Practitioners working in academia are increasingly required to defend practice-based-research and in this essay I use one of practice-research’s key facets – reflective practice - to provide one answer to a pressing concern. I set out to ask how higher education institutions might best support practice-research, with the aim of developing it, increasing outputs, and deepening its investigations. Throughout I ask the question: how can we resist essentialist positions and reductive structures that do not fit the authentic, process-led version of practice?
Original languageEnglish
JournalText: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Practice-based research
  • practice as research
  • Creative practice
  • Creative risk
  • Creative constraint
  • Play
  • Autoethnography
  • reflexivity


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