Contextualising Creative Practice within Human Research Ethics Processes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journalism Practice, 2014, 8 (1), pp. 96 - 109
Issue Date:
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Australian creative practice researchers are not alone in their quest for an appropriate framework for human ethics research committee consent. Globally, there seem to be similar tensions. Although Australia's National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research was revamped in 2007 to be more inclusive of specific creative practice research, including long-form journalism and other creative non-fiction writing, many tertiary Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) have not evolved with it. Instead, a conservative stasis pertaining to the previous medical/scientific paradigm remains the default position. This paper details a submission to an Australian university's HREC calling for a human ethics application process that more appropriately contextualises creative practice human research. Additionally, it proposes an informed consent letter that addresses tensions around the withdrawal of data based on the journalistic practice of on the record/off the record. The revised Australian National Statement has given creative practice-led academics the ability to improve the ethical clearance processthe mechanisms are there within the National Statement. By highlighting the counter-productive restraints and constraints some conservative HRECs still place on the functioning of journalistic and other creative non-fiction writing research within universities, this paper calls for a uniform and national collaboration to investigate review other than by HREC as a matter of urgency for all Australian journalism and creative practice researchers, based on the more intuitive and streamlined content model already utilised at a UK university.
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