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How can we use writing as a tool for collaboration across disciplines at Ph.D. level?: Co-writing fictional versions of the truth about someone else

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This article will describe some of the key tools used throughout a series of collaborative writing workshops. These are part of my ongoing Ph.D. research in the Design Department, entitled, (How) Could co-writing help designers to develop a non-specialist, more comprehensive model of practice (i.e. Metadesign)? Collaborative writing can be a tool to enable incommensurate and heterogeneous writers to work together to develop deep-level team synergy. It can generate unusual and surprising team synergies leading to a shared propensity to dream future scenarios rather than remain within existing contexts. This longitudinal pilot study engaged four Ph.D. students, from different departments at Goldsmiths, University of London, over an extended period of nine months. The outcome of the writing was a set of fictional scenarios about the participants, entitled, Fictional Versions of the Truth about Someone Else. The Ph.D. students, who went on to complete the writing, consisted of one student from each of the following disciplines: Education, Fine Art, Psychology and Media and Communications.

The process, which was co-designed and grew organically, began by developing a team synergy through tools developed to build core values, and resulted in the participants benefiting in their confidence and ability to write. They learnt from each other and became both writers of their own fictional stories, as well as editors and critics.
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Keywords: Pilot; co-creation; collaborative tools; consensual values; workshop; writing as playing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Goldsmiths, University of London.

Publication date: 01 December 2010

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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