Conversations on Writing lecture today by Dr Anna Gibbs

Notes from the Conversations on Writing lecture today by Dr Anna Gibbs

Scholarly writing, essays, reports are basically conversations. Writing is contestation, personal, interpersonal and discursive. It is a  collaborative enterprise, a play, it is an openness to unexpected. It is talking and listening at the same time.

Ficto-criticism – it is a narrative, dialogues, a process of research and discovery. It is however not to be confused with autobiography. It describes the circumstances in which a research is done, it asks questions and reports the interviews, conflicting reports from different people , experience plays an important role. Some of the works have been named by the title of ‘Autobiography’, however the idea is close to Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas . The writing incorporates criticism, theory, philosophy through metaphor and fiction. It generates dialogues, creates characters – it is collage, procedure through a constraint. One of Gibbs’s own work – juxtaposing two varied novels next to each other in conversation – Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day and  The Ontology of Intertextuality.

–       Barbara Bolt: Theorising out of practice, I would argue, involves a very different way of thinking than applying theory to practice. It offers a very specific way of understanding the world, one that is grounded in (to borrow Paul Carter’s term) “material thinking” rather than merely conceptual thinking. Material thinking offers us a way of considering the relations that take place within the very process or tissue of making. 1[1]

Creating the text and meaning, leaving materials and though process obvious – body is involved in the process of creation, movement, forms of agency – such as scizzors, textures, pages, computers, photo copiers – these all can be played with. Words and lines cut up, and pasted in strips, creating new meanings, tactile objects. The arguments, texts.

Freewriting is more difficult than constrained writing. Speech is not a message, it is a passage from knowing to as yet unknowing. What I wanted to say…

Communication is communicability. Inner speech – materiality of the body, the meaning of text crystallizes. Vygotsky’s Synthetic sensation, influx of sense ….???

Through the dynamic shift from though to word. Language is inventional, created through communication. People are language makers, therefore new words are created, meaning fluctuates over time. Writer is mediator, he distorts, modifies, discourses. Authenticity is not dead, the meaning has changed. Readings a complex process, involves looking, seeing through, repetitions, sitting still. The movement in space – anticipation.

The end of era of the individual voice. Aggregation, collectivity and synthesis. An example –  Barbara Campbell’s time based performance project 1001 Nights cast. Talking through the stories sent by different authors.

Sarah Diamond’s call for interdisciplinary creative practices.  Text and image to complement each other,


[1] Bolt, B. (2006) Materializing pedagogies. Working Papers in Art and Design 4

Retrieved <date> from URL http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol4/bbfull.html

ISSN 1466-4917

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