194 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Collaborative Body in Qualitative Research challenges normative philosophies that have frequently neglected the body’s place in research and then illustrates how the body is essential for all meaning making.

    By ‘voicing the body’, the first part of this rebellious book problematizes how the body is used/assessed, yet often silenced in academic writing. This book then fluidly moves to celebrating the body through discussing taboo topics like sex/sexuality in friendship, underwear (knickers), ageing, and death, as well as how a non-binary body moves in a heteronormative world. Through the lens of Bodyography, this book does research differently – illuminating how the body flourishes, excites knowledge, and is complicated when placed on a ‘screen’. This book celebrates a collaborative and arts-based approach. This book is a dialogue between The Bodies Collective, with dialogic resonance sections between each chapter and art pieces throughout.

    This book will encourage all scholars to do research differently. Anyone with a thirst to challenge normative practices in academia and who wants research to be inspiring and playful will fall in love with this book.

    N.B. Please cite the authorship of this book as 'The Bodies Collective (2023)'

    Introduction: We are the Bodies Collective. Researchers Working towards Change through Bodyography

    The Bodies Collective

    1. Voicing the Unspeakable Body: The Politics of Appearance and the Silence that Pervades Academic Discourse

    Jess Erb

    Resonances to Chapter 1. Conversation with the Bodies Collective Around Power and Privilege

    The Bodies Collective

    2. Embodied Friendship and Explicit Autoethnography: When is it Ok to Talk about Cis Women’s Bodies and Sex?

    Alys Mendus and Davina Kirkpatrick

    Resonances to Chapter 2. Abject Autoethnography: A Conversation

    Jess Erb, Alys Mendus, and Davina Kirkpatrick

    3. (Un)dressing the body: Underwear Stories and Audio-found-poetry

    Alys Mendus

    Resonances to Chapter 3. The Academic Life of Knickers Discussion

    The Bodies Collective

    4: Uncovering the Non-Binary Body: Using Bodyography to Discover Gender Identity and Combat Body Dysmorphia

    Ryan Bittinger

    Resonances to Chapter 4. The Presence of Absence and Other Refractions of Gender Identity

    The Bodies Collective

    5. Equivalencies. Creative rituals, the Ageing Body and Grief

    Davina Kirkpatrick

    Resonances to Chapter 5. The Presence of Absence and the Twelfthtight Nights Through Creative Serious Play

    The Bodies Collective

    6. Snacks from Cooking After the Bodyography Recipe: The Body as an Epistemological Entity

    Claudia Canella

    Resonances to Chapter 6. Between Academic Skinship and Authorship – Cultivating Different Tastes and Appetites

    The Bodies Collective

    7. Talking / Walking to Myself: Questioning the Primacy of the Word

    Mark Huhnen

    Resonances to Chapter 7. Matter as Mattering

    The Bodies Collective

    8. Doing Online Embodied Research: Researching Together, Apart

    Sarah Helps

    Resonances to Chapter 8: I Am Always in Relation to You, Whatever Form We Take Together

    The Bodies Collective

    An Ending to the Book and a Beginning of Sorts: Of Bodies, Organs, Time and Space

    The Bodies Collective


    The Bodies Collective is an international group of researchers from different scientific and artistic fields. They aim to bring the body back into the focus of qualitative inquiry as a creator, explorer, and challenger of knowledge. The Bodies Collective does Bodyography, works collaboratively, and applies arts-based methods.

    Ryan Bittinger is a Doctor of Psychotherapy, specialising in therapist training and relational psychodynamic psychotherapy. They are a Practice Manager of Centred Self Psychotherapy, CA & Director of Clinical Training at Maria Droste Counseling Center in Denver, CO, USA.

    Claudia Canella is a Qualitative health researcher at the Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine of the University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland; a Homoeopath in her own practice in Zürich, Switzerland; and an Artist.

    Jess Erb is a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and CEO/Founder of Centred Self Psychotherapy, Canada.

    Sarah Helps is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Psychotherapist, the lead for Children's Psychological Services, and the editor of the Journal of Family Therapy.

    Mark Huhnen is an Independent Scholar, Systemic Psychotherapist, Coach, and Theatre Practitioner, in London, UK.

    Davina Kirkpatrick is an Artist, Independent Scholar and Visiting Specialist at the Peninsula Medical School, University of Plymouth, UK.

    Alys Mendus is a Parent, Artist, Independent Scholar, and Research Fellow in Disability Research Collaboration at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, and Casual Academic at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

    "This is a rebellious book. It is a response-able book. It is a book that collectively refuses the timidity and the judgementalism, when it comes to bodies, which pervade the social and psychological sciences. The Bodies Collective challenges the absence of bodies, and the tendency to construe them as matter that is unspeakable, unthinkable, irrelevant, superficial and even abject, in the context of research and research writing. This book challenges that contempt for, and fear of, the body, as it develops collaborative ways of working that move beyond that familiar version of the disembodied researcher. It is thus a courageous work that the Bodies Collective undertakes here, as they map out ways of working together that are safe, engaging, intimate, erotic, playful, and mobile. Through their collaboration with each other, they map out an academic skinship that enables each, singly and collectively, to flourish, in the pursuit of new understandings that begin with the matter and mattering of intra-acting bodies." -- Bronwyn Davies. Independent scholar, Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor Western Sydney University, Australia

    "Challenging the Cartesian legacy, this important text will alert readers to hitherto neglected epistemic possibilities. Although the idea of texts without bodies has never made sense, much writing is tacitly body-silencing, thus – by extension – body-shaming. This is strange because the body is always thoroughly textualized and textualizing, in interaction and intra-action, and the embodied other is always you. In a marvellous, ground-breaking style, this book puts voice back into bodies, where it belongs." -- Alec Grant, PhD, Visiting Professor, University of Bolton, UK

    "An intimate, reflexive account of how to ‘be with’, ‘work with’, ‘stay with’ one’s body in an academic context. This book is not a simple cookbook with ready-to-go recipes on doing bodyography. It is an invitation to use some of its prompts affirmatively on the beautiful, rich methodological playfield qualitative scholars are currently creating for themselves." -- Karin Hannes, Professor in Transdisciplinary Studies and Creative Research methodology. Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium. Coordinator research group SoMeTHin’K; Curator Townsquare13; European Network Qualitative Inquiry.

    "This book sparkles … it is

    a delicious read/

    quite a romp/ into

    voicing the bodies…/ and

    staying with the trouble


    hang on to your knickers/


    each jewel written at an angle/

    tells the truth but ‘tells it slant’ to

    polyamorous academia/

    we the readers/

    are included on the blind date

    and invited in to the friendship

    between this group of scholarly oddkin

    writing image/full;

    seriously play/full

    and deeply lyrical/


    texts together

    we / the readers

    become part of the resonation process

    and climb inside

    experiences of dysmorphia

    and grief/

    finding ourselves voices that

    have been disquietingly silenced

    in the academy/

    we seem/ reading this book/ always

    to have had our knickers on


    read this book!

    you too will explore your


    from the ache

    in the small of your back

    to your optic nerve/

    you will laugh a lot

    and cry - and sometimes sob

    at / with the embodied/ poignant/ piercing beauty

    of it all… so …

    read this book!" -- Jane Speedy. Emeritus Professor of Education (Qualitative Inquiry) University of Bristol, UK

    "The Collaborative Body unfolds like a folk dance as chapter by chapter, each participant in The Bodies Collective takes the lead in turn, sharing unique insight that centres the body/ies as origin and site of inquiry, as inquirer, as act of inquiring, while the others (readers included) witness, then respond. Aligning with post-feminist, post-modern, post-human efforts at restoring the unity and connectedness of body-mind(s), this work leads the way for a new generation of scholars who are done with pretending their thoughts and minds exist beyond their embodiment. Relatable, accessible, enabling and a delight to clap along to, from first encounter to final breath this book reads as a processual creative act, birthing the field of Bodyography into being." -- Melissa Dunlop PhD, Psychotherapist, Researcher & Writer, Collaborative Artful Narrative Inquiry Network.

    "This book is a breath of fresh air, a manuscript that teaches us alternative ways of researching and collaborating, allowing us to rethink the role of bodies in academia. The bodies collective presents us with a lively methodology full of humanity, creativity and corporeality. This book teaches us to collaborate organically and to know and write about what is submerged in our bodies, teaching us ways to reach beyond words." -- Inés Bárcenes Taland, Associate Professor at Francisco de Vitoria University, Madrid, Spain.

    The Collaborative Body in Qualitative Research constitutes one of the most body-centered research tools in the fields of qualitative inquiry. Packed with accessible exploratory activities and examples, The Collaborative Body illustrates methodologies of compassionate critique, international collaborations, and politically personal communions. I recommend accepting their collective invitation to become a Bodyographer." -- Tami Spry, Body, Paper, Stage: Writing and Performing Autoethnography, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Communication and Performance Studies, St. Cloud State University, USA