Regenring academic writing. Case Study 1: Collages

Tom Burns, Sandra Sinfield, Sandra Abegglen
2018 Journal of Writing in Creative Practice  
Context We operate in the multi-disciplinary fields of Education Studies and Education Development harnessing ludic spaces for empowering practice (Sinfield et al. forthcoming). The chain of mini case studies interspersed in this issue reveals how we use playful, creative and visual strategies to enable our students to become the professionals that they wish to be as they enact academia more on their own terms. Play and playful practice is not 'dumbed down' learning, but 'serious business'
more » ... ious business' (Parr 2014). Given that for our Widening Participation (WP) students, Higher Education (HE) is experienced as a mysterious, mystifying and exclusionary space, we argue that a playful approach is a necessary freedom (Huizinga 1949): the freedom to experiment, question and be creative. Arguably, for our students, the transactional nature of pre-university education, the constant measurement, the League Tables, the SATs and the stats, obscures the fact that education is not autochthonous (sprung ready made from the earth itself) but is a set of social practices constructed by a community of which they are now members. Hence, we seek to destabilize the notion of education itself: to disrupt the 'taken for granted' perception that it is memorisation, and that study involves rote learning fixed forms of knowledge that already exist. Rather, we emphasise that education can involve the search for emergent knowledge and as yet unknown answers. Moreover, if education does involve transformation of the self, we need play for 'It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self (Winnicott 1971, p.54)'. Thus we developed playful and visual practices (viz. http://about.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/) as a means of processing information, communicating ideas, developing understanding and, most importantly, to facilitate the exploration of new topics and fields of studyin writing, yes, but also in a variety of other communicative, multimodal genres. As with English (2011) we see 'language
doi:10.1386/jwcp.11.2.181_1 fatcat:q7zdy62tyjedljekyhk3g5ffvi