In a time of widespread “austerity” and budget cuts in educational institutions, funding for research is hard to come by. Often grant applications will require that researchers know what they are looking for (and how it will contribute to society) before they have even begun the project. This pressure to create research products fast undermines the kinds of creative work which are the great strength of research in the humanities. Of course, academic writing is based on data and evidence. However, transforming data into good writing is at heart a creative process. Original interpretations, connections and the tone of a particular writer’s “voice” are what make convincing, engaging academic work. In this residency, I will experiment with free-writing and creative mapping as ways to get through a period of burnout in the writing of my PhD. a more reflective aspect of the residency will focus on the demands of "compulsory able-bodiedness" within academia, and how to come up with life-sustaining approaches to productivity at a time when productivity in a neoliberal university has become commodified in exploitative ways.
As part of the residency I will offer a daily open writing session where anyone who is working on a project can come and join for an session of supportive, quiet writing between 11- 1 every day. I will culminate the residency with a writing workshop entitled Working Backwards: the Importance of Writing Roughly, dates tbc where we explore how tools most commonly used in "creative" writing can be fruitfully used in more structured, academic and artistic projects.
Sara Rosa Espi is a PhD candidate. Her research focuses on personal zines, how they are made, circulated, and kept, and what that tells us about our contemporary (media) culture in transition. Sara has published articles on narratives of disability in zine-writing as well as on zines and archival practice.