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Mia Lindgren Masterclass

Thursday April 14th I had the opportunity to take part in a Masterclass with Associate Professor Mia Lindgren, a visiting scholar from Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism. To quote the advertised abstract:

(Mia) has been Chief Investigator on three competitively funded Australian research projects involving journalistic approaches and storytelling in public health and history. 

Her research focuses on storytelling through long-form journalism, and the power of sharing personal experiences online and through audio forms. Many of her research projects incorporate radio documentaries and websites — non-traditional research outputs (NTROs) — and this includes her own doctoral research.

NTROs are Non Traditional Research Outputs, and they cover an increasingly broad spectrum of possibilities. They are non-traditional in the sense that traditional research outputs are things like books and journal articles, and can include films, Exhibitions, AV installations, radio documentary, and in my case, a series of comics and a graphic novel.

This workshop packed some of the more ambiguous aspects of the creative research/exegesis method and shone a light on exactly what is expected, and how this sector of academia continues to grow and evolve. Mia had us think about things like the background, contribution and significance of our research, and how we might be able to give a clear and concise account of it in the case of submission of a proposed ERA (Excellence in Research Australia) output.

Research background: This research straddles the fields of the independent comix movement and the genre of autobiography, and investigates ways in which sequential art might interrogate the truthfulness of life writing and notions of identity and the self.

Research contribution: This research is innovative by its modification of traditional script structuring to accommodate the nature of the authentic lived experience and representations of introspection.

Research significance: …

And that’s where the trail goes cold.

I’ve spent so long working on this project that I’ve gotten too close to see its objective possibility of significance. How CAN this work be significant in a quantifiable, measurable way? How can I justify it? How can I say “this is a meaningful document that is worthy of the time and effort spent in its realisation?”

These are the questions I need to ask. This is why sessions such as this masterclass are invaluable. A chance to step out of the studio, away from the laptop, and assess from a distance how I can hold this work up within the academic context and have it be counted.

So thanks Mia! Great session and plenty of food for thought.