Research process

The project began with three story circles in which we, the participants, shared stories and objects representing an aspect of our lived experiences as academics of working-class heritage (WCH). The story circles were facilitated to provide the participants with opportunities to share, unsettle, interrogate and (re)interpret stories that represented their being and becoming academics of WCH.  
Following the story circles, the group broke up into three smaller groups to analyse and work with the narrative data from the story circles to create composite stories in the form of interactive comics on the following three themes: : 

A leather satchel
  1. Comic 1 - Roots and routes into Academia (What it means to be an academic of working-class heritage)
  2. Comic 2 - Navigating the unknown: career journeys into and through academia (Career routes into and through academia)
  3. Comic 3 - Speaking up and being heard: finding your voice as an academic of working-class heritage (Developing epistemic confidence)

Satchel - Object representing transition into Higher Education

Black and white photo from the miner's strike showing policement in front of a terraced house

Adapting composite story approaches allowed us to work with transcripts to create content for the audio and text-based sources. In some instances, see Sarah's Story and Isobel's Story, we used verbatim tracks of text from the transcripts. With other content, such as 'Left on the Cutting Room Floor', we worked with events we experienced to create the stories, linking them to current discussions about access to Higher Education.

Creating the interactive comics allowed us to embed audio content, links to publications and other media formats. This multimodal approach provided us with opportunities to illustrate the narrative layers in the themes represented in the comics. 

The exploratory process led to a community of inquiry developing, providing us with opportunities to learn with and from each other as part of the creative process.    

Police - Image from the Miners' Strike representing a connection with childhood memories