A vacuous screenplay in search of rigour

TEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses (vol 48), 2018, pp. 1 - 18
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A university professor with a reputation for creative practice research finds himself at a crossroads when, en route to an international conference, he meets a younger and somewhat modest dementia researcher whose work is clearly having an impact on people’s lives. A keynote at a creative writing conference in Hawaii, the professor is impelled to reflect on his own research practice and piece together fragments of his work history to reassure himself that what he does is not only valid as research, but also that it has rigour. With flashbacks to a variety of painful and often comic encounters with colleagues trying to articulate their practice as research, he is able to overcome his midflight, mid-career crisis and come to a renewed and satisfactory understanding of what good creative practice research is, and how that can be articulated clearly and confidently to others. Originally performed at the University of Southern Queensland’s inaugural ‘Scriptwriting as Research’ symposium in 2016, A Vacuous Screenplay in Search of Rigour thus interrogates not only the very mode of creative practice research, but also the broader (and varied) institutional research cultures within which it operates.
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