The Lonely Girl: Investigating the scholarly nexus of trauma life-writing and process in tertiary institutions

Publisher:
Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Text, 2013, 17 (1), pp. 1 - 13
Issue Date:
2013-01
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Memoir writing and publishing has surged in recent years and this pattern is reflected in a surge in the number of students seeking to undertake degrees in auto-ethnographic creative non-fiction writing within tertiary institutions, specifically in relation to their own personal trauma. This paper discusses attempts to implement a pedagogical model to facilitate the supervision of students seeking to write trauma narrative, positing that because of the nature of their writing, they are closer to further psychic injury throughout the process than students not undertaking trauma writing. The result is that specialised attention is warranted and necessary, and indeed without specialised care, the offering of such degrees within tertiary settings could be framed as ethically fraught. The paper will discuss the current pedagogical model, and its implementation. But then will look at a case study where the model fell dramatically short. The ensuing argument is that the model should only ever be regarded as a default to be constantly developed. It argues that students choosing to undertake life writing around personal trauma are exposed to further psychic danger as a direct result of their studies, and must be seen as individuals, with specific and hyper-vigilant supervision needs.
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