Research Poetry

Poetry in Emotion

The Project

The research poem Poetry in Emotion: Writing Up Emotional Labour is grounded in my own experiences of conducting research during COVID-19. The project Dear Diary: Equality implications for female academics of changes to working practices in lockdown and beyond (Carruthers Thomas 2022) investigated female academics’ experiences of working practices, productivity and career progression during the first 18 months of the pandemic. As a researcher, I became party to multiple, ongoing narratives, many challenging, some traumatic, while maintaining a safe and ethical research space. In gathering, analysing and reporting ‘data’, I became  aware of the significant expenditure of emotional labour required by this project, not least ‘the sharing of traumatic accounts without being able to fix or repair their causes’ (Mannay 2018).

This poem therefore gives voice to often silenced research ‘findings’ centred on the researcher experience. Crafting the poem is a way of exploring and articulating complex and compelling questions of positionality and emotion in research practice through language and poetic form. Performing it contributes to a dialogue about emotion in research and extends the way in which we imagine research can be communicated.

I performed Poetry in Emotion for the first time in September 2023, at the inaugural International Creative Research Methods Conference (ICRMC) In Manchester, UK. University. The next performance will be at the University of Hertfordshire Creative Research Methods Conference in June 2024.