The Yellow Field

Daffodils in time, daffodils not mine.

Feeling heavy and bloated, big and small.

Can’t breathe so I reach for my red polo neck jumper. It’s cold for March.


Bought some shoes feeling the blues, but I still feel the same –

disrupted narratives continue to bother me.

Analyses pound my head as I look outside at the family tree.


Draft three gone and I’m still looking at the tree.

Connective branches rooted at the base,

So beautifully structured, I still try to see her face.

I see no closure; I’m still not free.

I’m thinking about her, is she praying for me?


‘Crack on poor dear,’ I hear myself say.

Draw from the base, no time for retreat.

Get back in the race.

‘You better crack on my dear for there is no other way.’

I hear her say.


Daffodils in time, daffodils not mine.

Meet me in the yellow field one more time and show me the way.


Emma Walters



My 2017 Res(v)olution (253 days)

A few nights ago I watched 20,000 Days On Earth (a wonderfully creative and beautiful documentary on the life of Nick Cave) and think I might integrate some quotes into my thesis as there were a few key moments in his narrative that I can draw parallels with regarding my own experiences of doing a doctorate. A brilliant and inspiring title that also made me reflect on the concept of time in a more considered way (something I have been avoiding for quite some months now) involving the need to schedule workload (words according to distance) more methodically to engender a sense of discipline whilst en route to completion.


Lets do the Maths:

70,000 divided by 253 = 277 (x7) = 1937 x 36.

MES16 (Rome) John Cabot University

I presented my research findings so far at my first international conference at this year’s Media Education Summit 2016 and what an amazing place to do it – Rome.

All roads lead to Rome, mine certainly did. I’ve visited before over a decade ago now but it felt different, I felt older and appreciated its beauty, vibe and energy more compared to then. So many people talking, hanging out and relaxing as life evolves around them. Local kids were creating snapchat films late at night in the Ghetto area as we watched on. What’s gone wrong with our culture? The pictures aren’t great, I just didn’t have time to think about their composition and I didn’t care.  I still enjoyed showing off my Spanish skills whenever I could whilst haggling in the late night markets – my good old comprehensive teacher still serving me well, nod to Mr Brooks.

Our Lady overlooking all living and breathing smokers in the John Cabot campus made me laugh, the furniture was exquisite, food outstanding, fashion as confident as always, the streets very cool without trying and Yoko Akama’s keynote in many ways signalling the way forward regarding how I see the future of education praxis…

uncertainty for disruption

“strategies to disrupt our own certainties,

interrogate social norms/ habits

‘breakdowns’ as generative

demands reflexive, open and candidness”

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uncertainty is at the centre of our inquiry

“feel our way forward toward unknown

question knowledge in disciplines

explore this together with people”


At this moment in contemporary academic history, the theme of disruption resonates with me because my own action research cycles were about disrupting what we do in ‘subject media’ by dismantling and then articulating the transferable skills elements. It is also about disrupting the agenda and curriculum in many ways which wrongly (in my mind) sustain a dominant focus on Maths, English and IT and discount (data/ statistics/ assessment/ Ofsted remit) the important employability stuff that our students need to be conscious of and confident conversing about.

Interestingly the theme of ‘disruption’ also ties in with disrupted Journal of Media Practice peer review online experiment I have been part of over the summer months: The experiment seeks to internationally unify diverse researchers/ practitioners by exploring/ sharing how we might challenge the traditions of academic norms and communicate our findings whilst questioning and celebrating newly emerging pathways to knowledge generation. Janneke and her team are bravely and rightly dealing with such issues at Coventry University.

In an age of uncertainty (on multiple levels – political, technical, economic, educational etc.), the challenge is to remain certain in the paradoxical situatedness that our knowledge lacks certainty and in fact our role is to disrupt taken for granted assumptions on not only how we validate research but what counts as research. Some people will not agree or might think the process of questioning knowledge in this way does not bear any weight or credibility but my simple response is why not? There needs to be a justification for the counter argument as to why our starting point should not be ‘uncertainty.’

In fact I am beginning to think myself, should the validation of research degrees be a collaborative process that actually engages the participants themselves and/ or non-academic panel members? Just because the current system continues to represent the traditions of the way things are done, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the way things should be done in the future.



‘disrupted Hope’ 21st Sept 2016

Where have you been? What with personal/ family commitments combined with a sea- change of institutional restructuring at work, life has not so far allowed me any time to either reflect or realign my thought processes regarding my educational doctorate research.

Therefore, ‘Hello world, I return to you again,’ as I often feel no-one in my real-life context is listening or interested in listening. I am grateful for this platform to voice my thoughts, even if my methodological position has veered away from autoethnography my soul remains reflexive. Therefore although I have been somewhat absent over the last month or so, I have consolidated my framework, which is positive.

The data is waiting in digital files, waiting for me to reveal, analyse and write-up its’ contents. Why I am delaying this inevitable encounter, I don’t know for sure but trying to manage what seems like equal weightage regarding assigned ‘priorities’ at the moment might just have something to do with it.

I am going to London next week to talk about a forthcoming publication, entitled ‘Doing Text’ (Auteur) for which I have written a chapter entitled, ‘Making Text.’ In many ways the chapter is a re-imagining of what our pedagogic practices might look like without the associated boundaries and rules of curriculum, extending to ‘the subject’ itself for that matter.
My chapter is about hope and it is about not losing hope. In the same way my doctorate project is about instilling hope regarding media students’ readiness for employability. Sustaining hope is a key narrative I fully recognise now and a narrative I must not lose sight of.
The last few years have been a real test of patience and indeed a test of my own sense of hope as I try to survive and remain peaceful within conflicting agendas and tension-filled interactions.
Being a mum is tough, being a working mum is really tough. And being a working mum as well as attempting to establish and build a credible academic portfolio has, at times, proved excruciatingly (quite literally) tough. Now you might see why ‘hope’ as thing, is part of the assembly of my being at the moment.
HOPE – It is elusive and although I cannot draw a picture or take a photograph of it, I continue to hold onto it with all my might as I promise myself… I will prepare meals that don’t involve the freezer or a sprig of broccoli on the side (to make me feel better about being a good mum).

Taking about hope, it has been really interesting to contribute and be involved in, ‘The disrupted Journal of Media Practice’ online experiment: with Janneke Adema and her team at Coventry University over the summer months. Engaging in this process has helped me feel connected to other scholars from across the world and it was an uplifting experience for me to read guest editor thoughts on my work so far. Their various acknowledgement(s) and support have given me hope to continue with the madness of this very personal academic journey. I am grateful for the editorial panels decision to accept my involvement in the project and for their interest and subsequent guidance from the onset. I see the online community that has evolved as a result of the experiment as something that might continue to develop in unexpected ways.

For now


Reflections on Newman Uni Conference…

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Great to attend the Troubling… Conference (7.7.16) hosted by Newman University Birmingham last week, met some interesting and interested people which is always good when researching anything/ at any level. Feel my confidence has increased and beginning to believe in my abilities as a researcher as time passes.

I conducted my first workshop on the problematics/ possibilities of integrating PAR with AE and took a research referendum at the end to consolidate general feeling of those who attended.

Research referendum: 13 in favour of a hybrid methodology, 3 against.  In many ways I know the findings are neither scientifically conclusive nor were they an intended part of my methodology, however, the feedback received from attendees (generally) has given me motivation and I left the conference with a greater sense of community support and hope – something I am very grateful for.  I am pleased I presented a convincing case, just not so convinced regarding how to frame my position in my final thesis and viva still… But this is okay because I know I will get there and it felt good to initiate conversations about blogging-as-method-as-enquiry-as-writing-as-AE.

Action based on findings: I have decided to transcribe and ‘write-up’ my data analysis first (and see how much of my own biography is involved/ the ‘writing in of oneself’ or ‘self-implication) and plan to readdress the issue in a couple of months. Maybe by then (post data analysis) I might have some other responses via the DisruptedJournal online paper currently in motion to help finalise how I shape things moving forward.

I regret that I didn’t interrogate the three attendees who voted against just to ascertain their reasons but time became an issue as other colleagues were waiting to present their research and I lost this opportunity. I did however talk about the DisruptedJournal experiment so hopefully the conversation can continue digitally…

Some quotes/ definitions to help contextualise my problematic…


Tami Spry (2001) ‘… a self-narrative that critiques the situatedness of self with others in social contexts.’


Action Research?

Carr & Kemmis (1989) ‘… a form of self-reflective enquiry’ by participants, which is undertaken in order to improve their understanding of their practices in context with a view to maximising social justice.’


Other issues:

self-investigation OR rather (Gornick 2001) ‘self-implication’ in context of the research?

navel gazing Vs democratising access

triangulation (3 sided view of the world) Vs crystallisation (unfixed-infinite number of multi voiced intersections, oppositions)

triple crisis: representation, legitimation and praxis (applies to both)


Conference Referendum Question: Can the two approaches (PAR + Autoethnography) be sandwiched together?

Final defence:

Denzin (2005) ‘… the criteria for evaluating research are now relative.’

C. Wright Mills (1959) ‘No social study that does not come back to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersections within society has completed its intellectual journey.’

4.7.16 Progress (Planning for Newman)

Today I have been trying to plan the ‘order of events’ for the ‘Troubling Research…’ Conference in Birmingham on Thursday. I say trying because I managed to squeeze in school run (x 2), cleaning the bathroom, putting a wash on, making tea, a walk to the shops to buy some stationary and even managed to write my first response on the ‘disruptedjournal’ site. Exciting to part of such an innovative and global conversation (still not sure how it all happened but happy I threw my name in the hat many months ago) and looking forward to seeing how it all manifests throughout the summer months.

I have complied an order of events  (of a sort) but this is my first ‘workshop’so I will need to see how things flow regarding timings and whether I have judged the criterion task right or not.

On reflection my abstract pointed to question overload so at present I am thinking keep it simple:

  1. We need to talk about the C word…
  2. How my blog and data have lived together so far.
  3. Ascertain attendee thoughts on where I should position my blog and discuss any counter-arguments against my proposition of blog-as-method.



4.7.16 My reasons to support blog-as-method…

I maintain the position that this blog you are reading, (currently) entitled, ‘An (Auto)ethnographer’s Tale’ (WordPress, 2016): serves several scholarly purposes (note: Holman Jones, 2005 criterion highlighted in bold):


1) Extending reach/ opportunities for participation/ reciprocity and engagement beyond institution e.g. (Disrupted Journal Media Practice experiment). Dialogue as a space for debate and negotiation.

2) Platform for researcher reflexivity, citationality as a strategy for dialogue (not “mastery”). See point 1.

3) Attempts to connect to others (researchers/ academics/ teachers etc.) as a mode of bridging both personal and professional tensions as (Taylor et. al 2014) ‘a third space.’ The dissemination of more personalized artefacts (e.g. photographs, poems, embedded moving image links etc.) enhance communication with others by storying the researcher journey. Evocation and emotion as incitements to action.

4) A digital blog is free from word count; such an unstructured form of researcher voice (personal narrative/ storytelling) would neither prove as visually effective nor as permissible in a text-based published journal article.

5) Platform to host, analyze and exhibit data with a focus on balancing out both process and outcome(s) as a flattened structure. Engaged embodiment as a condition for change.


I suggest here in my research context that the scholarly blog-as-

method can be aligned within a post-structural (influences include writings

on Bakhtin 1984, C. Wright Mills 1959, Sartre 1963, Law 2004 and more

recently Denzin 2014) framework and represents a more honest approach to

interpreting and managing social science data in an educational setting.


However, I acknowledge unresolved issues remain:


  • What are the possibilities and counter-arguments against the blog-as-method proposition?
  • Can a researcher blog be considered a reliable and legitimate (triangulating) method of working?



So, what do you think? Are you in or out?

Be involved and join in the wider conversation:

All you need to do is set up a account (takes 2 minutes) and use the tag disruptedjournal followed by an additional tag relating to your conversational thread (themes are located on the site).

June 2016 Residential (The Final)

The focus/ theme for our Cohort (Cohort 1) was on ‘data collection’ for our final BU residential, although I am too aware that we still have a long way to go and nothing can be taken for granted at any stage until we survive the final viva!

Also for me specifically, deciding on whether to use NVIVO to assist my analysis or not became a key issue to resolve – which I have decided to do during my tutorial with Isa and Julian.

Here is a brief mapped outline of data I have collected on this project:

Data map

The residential also contained an element of nostalgia and memory recall, as we, as a cohort were so pleased we have reached Year 4.

The time has flown by, whilst the fundamental changes and meaning of the journey for each of us (personally) runs deep and will last a lifetime thanks to the support of all those wonderful and diverse characters who work at CEMP, BU.

Let’s get the basics right! Project Title…

Project Title: Co-Writing ‘Subject Media’ Whilst Framing Employability.

Researcher Question: Are Non-Subject Specific Transferable Skills As Important as the Subject Itself? (Dated 09.10.15)

The project signals an attempt to unearth the (Wolf, 2011, p.22) ‘labour market value’ of the BTEC Media Production qualification. Metaphor of a tent at a festival is apt! Pragmatic responsive foundations/ rationale with a post structural covering to provide shelter (albeit temporary and likely to shift).

MED2 participant data represents a projection, a degree of change (Ball, 2011) ‘radical incrementalism.’ A shift in understanding is evident in data findings (audio/ post event feedback).

EXMED participant data could be argued has greater foundations-as-data because the narratives inform the listener of their career pathway (‘actuality’ over and above projected reality) and they are reflecting on the value (albeit retrospective and perceived) of the course in direct relation to their roles in employment.

EXMED serves to inform MED2 and vice versa (conversations between past and present – dialogic basis, Sartre ‘progressive-regressive’) particularly in the form of scenarios = ‘Guess Who? Talking Skills game.

MED2 participants had a chance to listen back to the voices from the past, as they had time to reflect post event on EXMED data (as a form of debrief) and prior to writing their post event feedback.

Both are rich in a sense of a biography of now – regarding analysis, my role involves (Law) ‘praxiography’ – necessary to identify points of conflict, alignment, splintered and fused narratives in audio data obtained and communicate my findings.