Books, Columns, Travel

It’s been such an exciting time, there’s so much I’d like to reflect on. We’ve begun our trade campaign with full-page ads in feminist magazines to promote my novels American Circumstance and Low-Fat Love. It’s a thrill to see these research-based novels making their way further into the public domain. It’s also that time of year and I’ve just returned from some wonderful travel experiences. Talking to others about arts-based research is a great privilege and the ability to connect with people engaged in this work in different locations gives me a sense of the expanse and vibrancy of our community. Before I get to my travels I have some other news to share.

In my last blog I was thrilled to announce the release of my 15th book, Gender and Pop Culture: a Text Reader, co-edited with my colleague and friend Adrienne Trier-Bieniek (Sense Publishers, 2014). This book really represents a full circle moment for me, as it gave me an opportunity to document so much of what I had taught for more than a decade. I was honored to be interviewed by examiner.com about the book. And yes, they did call me “the high priestess of pop-feminism” … giggle… which is a badge I will wear with honor. You can read that interview here:

http://www.examiner.com/article/an-interview-with-patricia-leavy-the-high-priestess-of-pop-feminism

I would also like to announce a new column I will be writing for creativitypost. I had reached out to creativitypost because I love what they’re doing. As you can imagine, I was absolutely honored that the founder and president, Milena Fisher, asked me to write a regular column about arts-based research. Certainly I welcome any opportunity to discuss these issues in the public domain. My column is titled Art, Research, Thought (Art): How Creative Researchers Are Bridging the Arts and Sciences. For my first two posts, creativitypost wanted to introduce me to their readers by reprinting one of my Huffington Post columns about using fiction to communicate research to public audiences, followed by an original interview. I asked author, filmmaker and fellow ABR warrior, Anne Harris of Monash University to interview me about arts-based research. Thank you to all those who read, “liked” and shared my posts. I am tickled that my first column has already become one of the most popular posts on creativitypost. In the future I plan to include original articles, conversations with others in the ABR community and perhaps additional interviews. My web team is busy updating my site so soon there will be a direct link to my new blog. For now, you can check out my profile at creativitypost and click on the column title to read the first two posts here:

http://www.creativitypost.com/authors/profile/163/PLeavy

While I’m thinking about creativity, I would love to share one of the most fun interviews I have ever done, all about inspiration and balance. From the way art inspires us to my best to talent to who would direct the movie-version of my life, I really enjoyed this. A huge thank you to the always wonderful Michelle Arana at examiner. You can read our interview here:

http://www.examiner.com/article/exclusive-an-interview-with-author-patricia-leavy-about-inspiration-and-balance

Finally, I’ve just returned from some incredible travel experiences that gave me a chance to talk about and teach arts-based research and to meet many students and practitioners in the field. First I attended the AERA conference in Philadelphia. I must say, with 14,000 people in attendance it was an absolute madhouse. I think it will take me some time to recover from the onslaught of stimulation! It was absolutely wonderful, however, to see the level of interest in arts-based research and arts-based educational research. I was honored to be a part of an ABR symposium with Candace Stout, Joe Norris and Kakali Bhattacharya. I admire these folks enormously and can say that we were thrilled with the reception we received, presenting our work in a packed, standing room only room filled with enthusiasts. Likewise, I had a fantastic time co-teaching a four hour workshop on arts-based research with Kakali. The participants were gracious and engaged and I learned so much from the experience. It was also my great joy to share drinks, meals and treasured conversation with my old friends in the ABR community, those I have long admired but never met, and many new friends. Thank you to all those who shared their time and talent with me. I would also like to note that I am often asked about what is most exciting in the ABR community and my time at AERA confirmed the answer that I always give: the work of innovative graduate students. My favorite session this year was conducted by two incredible young scholars who have written their dissertations as graphic novels. Wow! I couldn’t have been more impressed or more inspired. The way people are pushing on the bounds of our field is truly exciting.

A final highlight from AERA was seeing the pre-launch of the Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, gift wrapped in my daughter’s magnificent original art. I first discussed the possibility of editing this handbook exactly 6 years prior at AERA so this was the ultimate in full circle moments. Oxford University Press did an incredible job getting advance copies of the handbook to the conference and gloriously displaying it. I am so proud of the work that the contributors did and was elated to learn that the handbook is off to a smashing start. Thank you all for your interest in this work! The handbook doesn’t officially launch until May, so I will have more to say on this subject soon. For now, a huge thank you to my wonderful editor Abby Gross, the entire Oxford University Press team and all those who contributed to the handbook.

I flew straight from Philadelphia to Toronto where I was honored to give a lecture on arts-based research at the University of Toronto. In my presentation I talked about building research “in new shapes” so that we can engage new, diverse and public audiences with the products of social research. I couldn’t have been greeted more warmly. Following my talk I was invited to say a few words at the launch of Tara Goldstein’s book Zero Tolerance and Other Plays, which is a collection of three plays recently published in the Social Fictions series. I was overjoyed to be a part of the launch of this groundbreaking book and absolutely delighted to see a performance of two scenes from the lead play. Everyone involved with this event did an outstanding job and my hat is off to them. I want to extend a very special thank you to Tara Goldstein for taking such good care of me and to her colleagues and graduate students for making my stay so special. As was the case at AERA, I left Toronto incredibly inspired by the path-breaking work of graduate students who are using ABR in filmmaking with social justice messages, research with children about identity and community, and transdisciplinary collaborations involving the use of theatre in health studies, and so much more. I am truly blessed because not only do individuals take the time to share their arts-based projects with me but in doing so I gain a greater understanding of the whole of which we are each part. And I can tell you all, it is truly mind blowing.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds and I thank you for coming along for the ride. Oh, and of course I met with my wonderful publishers on this trip and I have some very exciting news regarding new projects forthcoming…

Love and Light,

Patricia

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