I was delighted to be asked to review a copy of Researching Creative Writing. ( 978-1907076374 - £66.02) I have been waiting for a book like this for years. I just wish it had been around when I was doing my PhD.
It is another fabulous booked published by Creative Writing Studies and written by the inimitable Professor Jen Webb, Distinguished Professor, Creative Practice, at the University of Canberra.
When I was doing my own Creative Writing PhD a few years ago I was often faced with various battles as I had to 'fit' my practice driven PhD into the the university's more 'traditional' format/expectations. It wasn't always a comfortable fit and we tended to bumble along together. This book answers all those questions that I had then. It would have enabled me to have been less stressed. I also would have felt more secure in my arguments having had solid research behind me or more specifically research that backs up the reasoning behind doing a creative writing PhD.
This book is going to be become an important book. It is a joy to read, whether dipping in or reading the whole thing, because it is learned yet accessible without being patronising. A difficult balance to achieve by anyone. The text deals with some very complex ideas relating to practice driven research embedded within creativity and criticality. It is a fascinating read because Jen Webb has successfully made it personal by using anecdotes of other's research experiences alongside the academic rigour. This adds to its accessibility and is certainly not to its detriment. It creates a feeling of empathy as you read.
After an initial question about what is research in a creative and critical context, the book is split into three parts: Part 1 Designing the Research, which which is about fine turning and understanding your project; Part 2 Doing the Research including writing as research, and finally, Part 3 From Materials to the Published Works, this explores ways of handing the results of your research and how to get your work out there in various ways - not always the obvious.
Whether a PhD student or a supervisor or in fact just interested in creative writing research I recommend you get this book. It will soon become an important stalwart of your library and one that you delve into often.
And just because