Conference Report: Carnival of Invention


  • Jenny Fennessy University of Brighton
  • Sandie Woods London South Bank Univeristy
  • Helen Johnson University of Brighton
  • Carol Rivas University College London
  • David Norbury
  • Isilda Almeida-Harvey
  • Jessica Moriarty University of Brighton
  • Katherine Wimpenny
  • Kerensa Bushell
  • Polly Blake



collaborative poetics, arts-based research, communication, qualitative research, social change


In this report we present a reflection on the Collaborative Poetics Network's first "Carnival of Invention" which was held on 15th June 2018 at the University of Brighton, England. Collaborative poetics is an arts-based research method that brings together expertise from artists, academics, and community participants, to share knowledge and promote social change through engaging and accessible ways. On the day of the Carnival over 40 contributors from around the world came to participate in a series of workshops, presentations, installations and displays. In this article we outline the themes addressed on the day and the media utilized in these interactive and experiential sessions. We argue that this event supported the benefits of arts-based research in developing, analyzing, and communicating rich data sets. Finally, we provide evaluation and reflections from the event (including in haiku, a traditional Japanese form of poetry), in an attempt to creatively capture the events of the day.


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Author Biographies

Jenny Fennessy, University of Brighton

Jenny FENNESSY is student at the University of Brighton completing a Masters in Community Psychology. She has worked in youth and community organizations for over ten years and works privately in her own company Latorium. In her work, she combines psychology, nature and expressive arts. Poetry has been a powerful medium working with marginalized groups and she hopes to continue to use this method to empower individuals and communities, as well as using in future research practice.

Sandie Woods, London South Bank Univeristy

Sandie WOODS is a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at London South Bank University and is completing a doctorate researching the lived experience of "Dementia Friends Champions," which she is presenting in the form of research poetry. She is a core member of the collaborative poetics network and passionate about using arts-based approaches in teaching and research and writing poetry to represent lived experience.

Helen Johnson, University of Brighton

Helen JOHNSON is a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Brighton. Her work centers around creativity and the arts, with research focusing on areas such as spoken word and slam communities, educational applications of youth poetry slams, and arts interventions in dementia care. She is particularly interested in arts-based research and performative social science, exploring innovative cross-fertilizations between social scientific theory/research, and a range of art forms including poetry, collage and photography. She is also a spoken word poet and stage manager for the Poetry&Words stage at Glastonbury Festival.

Carol Rivas, University College London

Carol RIVAS is a reader in social policy and program evaluation at University College London. She is a medical sociologist with expertise across a range of multidisciplinary research methods and has been practicing arts-based, speculative and co-design research for over ten years. She has previously worked semi-professionally as a photographer, paints as a hobby, and has published poetry. Her research focuses on multimodal communication, especially by the sick, socially disadvantaged and disabled, and in the context of institutions.

David Norbury

David NORBURY is a freelance consultant in technology and organizational change, a violinist, member of a string ensemble and a storyteller. His passion is creativity through art interventions in consulting practice. As a member of the collaborative poetry group, he is exploring artful being in "The Innovation Lab" and bringing ideas to life. He is currently writing up the first draft of his practice-led doctorate in creative being within management consulting.

Isilda Almeida-Harvey

Isilda ALMEIDA-HARVEY works with East Sussex County Council as an outreach and learning officer for East Sussex Records Office. She is also a poet and very interested in how collaborative poetics can be used in the context of archives and heritage.

Jessica Moriarty, University of Brighton

Jessica MORIARTY is a course leader for the creative writing MA, creative writing BA and English literature and creative writing BA at the University of Brighton. Her research focuses on autoethnography and pedagogy in writing practice. She works on engaging students in community projects and using innovative and personal writing to challenge traditional academic discourse.

Katherine Wimpenny

Katherine WIMPENNY is reader in arts related research and pedagogy at Coventry University (CU). She is currently researching intercultural engagement and internationalization in a new Research Centre for Global Education at CU. Her professional background is in occupational therapy. She is interested in developing collaborative poetics as a methodology to address research questions with staff and students and wider stakeholder groups.

Kerensa Bushell

Kerensa BUSHELL is a freelance artist interested in community psychology and social issues. She works with poetry and artistic mediums and made the video for the collaborative poetics network that showcases the work that has been carried out by the network and features on the collaborative poetics website.

Polly Blake

Polly BLAKE is a British/French artist with a background in fine art painting and photography. Having originally studied at Winchester School of Art, in 2011 she returned to University to study photography. During this time she was diagnosed with dyslexia and her son aged six was diagnosed with autism spectrum condition. Her artistic approach is multi-disciplinary involving a variety of mediums and her current work involves painting, photography, sound and sculpture. Being an artist with dual nationality and coming from a neurodiverse family background has given her an insight on issues surrounding identity and the norm. The notion of the spectrum, which originally meant ghost, apparition or illusion, has become a running thread throughout her work.




How to Cite

Fennessy, J., Woods, S., Johnson, H., Rivas, C., Norbury, D., Almeida-Harvey, I., … Blake, P. (2019). Conference Report: Carnival of Invention. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(2).