Exercises in creativity and clarity 1

December 14, 2007

Good for Andrew Sparkes ("'Bollocks': RAE paper assesses the RAE", December 7). The more challenges to the research assessment exercise the better. But Sparkes isn't alone. Last May, we published our book Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist Interventions , four chapters of which are written in creative narrative style through imagined characters, including an imagined e-mail exchange between colleagues struggling with the demands of the RAE.

We chose a narrative style to challenge the conventions of academic writing and to use the stories as a lens through which to explore academic practices, changing political contexts and challenges. And yes, the book is being entered into the RAE, which is one of the biggest challenges of all. We have written a book that sets out to defy academic conventions, that is very critical of the RAE and yet we hope will be considered both "academic" and "RAE-able"!

Well, it's all over for now - a short time to sit back and relax before we face the music.

Penny Jane Burke
Institute of Education University of London

Sue Jackson
Birkbeck, University of London.

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