ISSN 2651-8724 (Online)
AKE Zine is a collaboratively produced critical feminist arts/research publication. The first volume of AKE Zine was created at Monash University on November 16, 2018, at Affect, Knowledge and Embodiment: A Critical Feminist Arts/Research Masterclass.
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This masterclass explored ways of practically extending critical and feminist social research with art – specifically photography, sociological fiction and zine making. These arts practices are valuable for opening up how we critically explore, analyse, collaborate on, and share experiences and understandings of the social world.
This masterclass involved talks on participatory visual methods, sociological fiction, and zine making by Laura Rodriguez Castro, Ashleigh Watson and Samantha Trayhurn. Following these talks, participants collaboratively experimented with these methods to produce the first volume of AKE Zine, a ‘curated sociology’ of photography, research writing and fiction interventions. Resources for the zine included Audre Lorde’s essay The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House and these Guidelines for Ethical Visual Research Methods.
‘Working within entanglement: Considering epistemologies in participatory visual research’
Laura Rodriguez Castro
Participatory visual research has centred epistemic questions about power, ethics and positionality, which are important for doing applied, public and creative research. Drawing from a participatory visual project embedded in decolonial feminist epistemologies, and the experiences of collaboratively organising and curating two photographic exhibitions with campesina women in rural Colombia in 2016, I explore the entanglement of emotions, bodies and worlds in the research process. These entangled experiences reveal the political and practical implications of doing research, which occur among negotiations about power, spatiality and creativity. At the same time, I argue that addressing epistemic questions is central to the research praxis of participatory visual projects.
The practices of creative writing and sociology are rooted in the same activities: witnessing, sense-making, curating and communicating. Joining a significant tradition of scholars who work across (and between) disciplines, I focus on the convergence of these practices in sociological fiction. Sociological fiction opens important avenues for creativity in analysis and engagement. In this talk I chart a background of social scientists who have written fiction, discuss So Fi Zine, and outline some stylistic criteria for writing and evaluating sociological fiction. These criteria are characterisation, voice, poetics, aesthetics, and verisimilitude. Using these criteria I make practical and conceptual suggestions for aspiring sociological fiction writers.
‘Body/Text/Form: Analogue Zine Making’
When French philosopher Helene Cixous declared that we ‘must write the body’ she called for a literary practice that transcended binary classification and spoke from within a spectrum of bodily forms. Here, I will discuss how my investigation into corporeal writing and corporeal philosophy led me to the practice of zine making as an extension of these ideas. In a fast moving digital age, analogue zine making encourages increased presence, and an increased connection between writing and the body, as the physical act of creation manifests itself as a unified object. I will discuss how analogue zine creation is rooted in a praxis of rebellion that questions and challenges political/social norms, and provides legitimate alternative modes of presentation for literary and academic purposes.
Dr Laura Rodriguez Castro is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland. Her doctoral research was a visual participatory project with rural women in Colombia embedded in feminist and decolonial epistemologies. She combines her research practice working as a freelance writer and photographer, and is involved in community activism.
Dr Ashleigh Watson is the creator and editor of So Fi Zine, the Fiction Editor of The Sociological Review, and the Postgraduate Portfolio Leader of The Australian Sociological Association.
Samantha Trayhurn is undertaking a Doctor of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University as part of the ARC funded Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature project. Her work has appeared in Overland, Westerly, LiNQ Journal, eTropic, Hecate and others. She is the creator and editor of Pink Cover Zine.