Draft programme & presenters

Abstract submission and review is now underway and following acceptance we hope presenters will share a little about their work and life on this page. In the meantime, as the programme begins to take shape, please find-out more about who is doing what below.

  • Monday
    • 9am – 1pm pre conference workshops
    • 2 pm conference registration opens
    • 3-5pm conference presentations/sessions
    • (TBC) 5pm Welcome reception
  • Tuesday 10-5pm conference presentations

Activism as Autoethnography: Seven voices

“Prism” in optics refers to a glass or other transparent object, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colours.

The term is also used to refer to the clarification or distortion afforded by a particular viewpoint.

The opening session at this years conference takes as a starting point that autoethnographers, through sharing our own lives, make it possible to act on and through our friendships, relationships and culture. Through stories, movements, music, drama and through we clarifying, distorting and/or challenging truth claims we refract multiple viewpoints, positions and possibilities.

Opening session “Activism & Autoethnography” with

  • Ken Gale
  • James Simmons
  • Fiona Murray
  • David Carless
  • Phiona Stanley
  • Kitrina Douglas

In the conference opener seven autoethngraphers reflect on what “Activism” means or might mean. Does one have to define yourself as an activist to challenge social injustice? We think not. Perhaps activism is more about becoming an activist where you are in the hope that your work and scholarship might play some part in social change; and this may happen through multiple methods and forms. Underpinning our interest at the 2019 British Conference of Autoethnography we are interested to explore activism as a concern with social injustices, marginalisation, and stigmatisation. In relation to poverty, exclusion and disempowerment. Often it is those within our communities who have the fewest resources who are chellenges to bring about the most change, be this economic, environmental or in their own behaviour.

Fiona Murray is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and is a psychodynamic counsellor in private practice.  She completed her doctoral dissertation  “The Porn Factory: A feminist dystopian inquiry into porn (re)produced worlds”  in 2017.  She is interested in research that thinks with affect theory and the New Materialisms. One of the projects she is currently working on is an interdisciplinary project on evaluating photography as a visual method. Currently, she reckons she is the best granola maker in the UK at least but possibly further. She humbly acknowledges a stiff competitor in Marrakech. 


Christa Welsh-Saunders

Christa Welsh. Christa is a BACP accredited psychotherapist in private practice for over twenty years specialising in race, gender and trauma. Christa is currently a doctoral researcher into transgenerational traumatic bonding at the Metanoia Institute. Her recent auto-ethnography ‘Child-Shifting and Reunification- the psychological implications for African Caribbean women’ has been performed at the Separation and Reunion Forum, Middlesex University and at the Memory Association’s Inaugural conference in Copenhagen in 2017. As a radical educationalist, Christa sees herself as playing a critical role in the construction of ‘new’ meaning and perception to liberate both the oppressed and the oppressors from what Friere defines as the conspiracy of silence. 


Travis Heath, Associate Professor of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver (email:heatht@msudenver.edu). He has practiced in Los Angeles, California and currently resides in Denver, Colorado where he co-founded Rocky Mountain Narrative Therapy Center (RMNTC). The work he has been focused on includes shifting from a multicultural approach to counseling to one of cultural democracy that invites people to heal in mediums that are culturally near. Writing he has contributed to has focused on the use of rap music in narrative therapy, working with persons entangled in the criminal justice system in ways that maintain their dignity, narrative practice stories as pedagogy, and a co-created questioning practice called reunion questions. 

tim Buescher

Tim Buescher – I am part of a relatively young mental health nursing team at the University of Hull where I teach student mental health nurses about research. Although I have only had a permanent position at my institution for two years, I have been doing this for four years. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I will have submitted my thesis, which began as an exploration of help-seeking in family members of compulsive hoarders and became a mutual exploration with a co-researcher of why we value some things and ideas over others and how we go on with disrupted and messy (hi)stories. In writing this, I have had to “come out” as a mental health practitioner uneasy with the position, language and politics of mental health care. 

DC 2David Carless. My professional background spans the performing arts, education and psychology – all of which inform the interdisciplinary social research I am immersed in as a professor of narrative psychology at Leeds Beckett University. Arts-based and performative collaborations with Kitrina Douglas incorporate songwriting, storytelling, filmmaking and live performance to create social research that is meaningful, relevant and accessible beyond academia. In the public realm, our research is available as a series of live performances, audio CD’s and films (see https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkWCTy8bNOY6JlvX_yg-Uig). Within academia we have published our work as journal articles, books and book chapters as well as performing and presenting at conferences around the world.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 15.54.54Ken Gale: I work in the Institute of Education in the Faculty of Arts and Education at the University of Plymouth and have published widely and presented at a number of international conferences on the philosophy of education, research methodologies and collaborative approaches to education practices. My current research involves the use of post human and affectively inclined approaches to theorising and inquiry.

Jackie GoodeJackie Goode, is a  sociologist and Visiting Fellow in Qualitative Research in the School of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. After working for over twenty years on a variety of qualitative research projects in the areas of health, welfare, higher education and policing, she now enjoys writing autoethnographies. These have been published in Qualitative Inquiry, Cultural Sociology, Ageing and Society and Sociological Research Online. Her presentation for this conference looks at the play of the ‘mnemonic imagination’ in the making of an autoethnographic text. Jackie’s presentation is titled “Exhuming the good that men do: the play of the mnemonic imagination in the making of an autoethnographic text” and is scheduled within the Identity work, troubling & challenging cultural narratives of gender, sexism, racism panel.


Russell Heywood has been involved in the holistic movement for twenty years, as a facilitator and participant in various countries, also working as an English and Community Education teacher. Since finishing his arts practice PhD At Brighton University last year, he has been part of the Creative Writing and Autoethnography programmes.  His research uses multiple genres and a humorous approach to storying the self, connecting with autoethnography as a way of challenging apparently neutral dominant narratives and exploring more holistic cultural and personal possibilities.

Jess Moriarty is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton where she is course leader on the Creative Writing MA and English Literature and Creative Writing BA. Her work is on autoethnography, communities of practice and developing confidence with creative work and academic life. 

Gary Hodge

Gary Hodge – Is a mental health nurse and lecturer working in Plymouth, and a distance learning PhD (Mental Health) student with Lancaster University. He has a special interest in person centred and humanistic approaches to dementia care, completing a MSc in Ageing, Mental Health and Dementia in 2013. He is approaching midway through his PhD Thesis with the working title is: ‘The importance of recognising the ‘I’ in Nursing to understand the ‘U’ in Behaviour’. This is an autoethnographic study which aims to make sense of challenging behaviour and its place in dementia nursing care through the discovery of self, using a process of retrospective reflexivity. Gary utilises ‘Green’ (Dartmoor) and ‘Blue’ (Plymouth Sound) spaces on his doorstep to collect his retrospective data, guided by mindfulness practice. He hopes his presentation, and completed thesis, will offer a space for discussion around the subject of the ‘self’ in nursing, and its place in providing care for ‘others’ with a dementia diagnosis.