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Consent, Freedom, and the Personal: Ethics in Creative Non-Fiction

  • Goldsmiths, University of London Lewisham Way London, SE14 6NW United Kingdom (map)

Part of the CHASE 'Intimacies' training programme

Co-organised by Lucia Boldrini and Blake Morrison

We aim to discuss the challenges that ethics frameworks and legal contexts pose to practitioners of creative non-fictional work (mainly in creative and life writing, but in other fields of creative practice too, such as visual arts, film, drama, documentary, design, music) with two main, interlinked aims: The intellectual focus will be on the line between, on the one hand, academic freedom, freedom of speech, public interest, and the rights of creative practitioners (especially writers of creative non-fiction); and, on the other hand, the rights to privacy, confidentiality, consent by subjects of/in the creative work, and the laws that enshrine these. The practical focus will be the examination of current guidelines on academic research ethics, informed consent, ‘ethical approval’ forms, and data management, which are often perceived to be at odds with the ethos and expectations of creative practitioners. The aim is to identify where the discrepancies and inadequacies lie, and how guidelines and documents can be revised so as to account for both the necessities of creative practice and the necessary legal and ethical frameworks within which we operate.

The day will consist of: Roundtable sessions and debates involving staff and students at CHASE institutions and other HEIs, as well as representatives from organisations with expertise in the publishing, legal, and rights context, such as the Society of Authors, English PEN, the Centre for Investigative Journalism, and the UK Research Integrity Office (tbc); Two parallel practical workshops to discuss the questions highlighted above, using creative writing projects as test cases, and to suggest where and how the current guidelines can be revised; A plenary final session aiming at drawing up draft guidelines relating to research ethics in creative practice.

Some central questions and two creative writing projects to be used as test cases will be circulated to participants in advance of the workshop.

This event is organised by Lucia Boldrini, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Blake Morrison, Professor of Creative Writing.

APPLICATIONS: In their application for participation, students should include a CV and explain, in a statement of a maximum of 300 words, how their creative work is affected by and how it addresses (practically and/or theoretically) the issues described above. They can also propose one particular issue raised in their work for discussion in the practical workshop.

Please direct statements to:, with the subject line “CHASE Intimacies – Freedom & Ethics: Application for participation”

Deadline: 9 March 2015

More information on the event, including a detailed programme, can be found at:

Once confirmed, participants will be asked to register for the event through

Intimacies Blog