Writing collaboration

a ‘work in progress’

2e. mrs (c) kinspaisby(-hill)

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…two collective selves who have just started publishing (mrs kinspaisby 2008 & mrs c. kinspaisby-hill 2008). So far, the former writes 3-way conversation, and the latter in a single voice. Rather than authorship, mrs kinspaisby acknowledges gratitude to academic geographers Mike Kesby, Rachel Pain, and Sara Kindon to whom mrs c. kinspaisby-hill adds Caitin Cahill. Based in the UK (Kesby & Pain), New Zealand (Kindon) and the USA, all are members of the Royal Geographical Society’s (Institute of British Geographers) recently formed Participatory Geographies Research Group. Collective/collaborative writing is part of this participatory project, because:

All knowledge is collectively produced, whether this is explicitly recognised or not. Participatory writing for publication and collaborative authorship challenge the conventions of academic publishing that fetishise individual authorship and assume that ‘lone scholarship’ is possible and more meritorious … there is an increasing commitment to co-present conference paper and co-author journal articles and book chapters with non-academic research partners … Such participatory publications reflect the reciprocity and diverse contributions of research collectives (mrs c. kinspaisby-hill 2008, 46).

They suggest that academics should write as if we lived and worked in ‘communiversities’, where

we don’t stop being members of our communities, various, diverse, geographically local or distant, once we close our office door, and neither should the university stop reflecting on its position in the community, or the fact that actually a university is made up or the community (mrs kinspaisby 2008, 295).

Like WGSG and J-K Gibson-Graham, they work and write this way so as to create – for themselves, colleagues, students and others – realisable alternatives to the neoliberalised, competitive individualisation that saturates their universities. As for their dialogic then single voice, this seems to reflect criticisms made of WGSG’s writing, and to be an ongoing experiment through which a flexible collective is aiming to be “comfortable with difference, and using difference strategically when it’s appropriate, and submerging difference when it’s appropriate, and seeking commonality – solidarity – when it’s appropriate” (mrs kinspaisby 2008, 296).


Written by Ian Cook et al

September 1, 2008 at 2:01 pm

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