Meet the Rebellious Researchers Embracing Rap, Magic and Circus Acts - CircusTalk

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Meet the Rebellious Researchers Embracing Rap, Magic and Circus Acts

Academics rise against the conventions of higher education, such as scholarly journals and conferences, in a new book

Hip-hop poetry, magic and circus acts should be embraced by academics to make their work more effective and help them spread their findings among a wider audience, according to researchers calling for a “rebellion” against traditional forms of output.

The group, which includes academics from the UK, Europe and Australia, is publishing a book that sets out how researchers can “rise up and rebel” against the conventions of higher education which make speaking at academic conferences and publishing articles in scholarly journals the main methods of disseminating research.

The case studies in the book – Doing Rebellious Research in and Beyond the Academy, to be launched on Monday – include a University of Cambridge researcher who created podcasts to collect material on how students were affected by Covid and released an album of the results on Spotify. Slam poetry recitals were also used by academics to discuss young people’s experiences of social injustice, and high-wire circus acts employed to explore risk-taking and collaboration.

Prof Pamela Burnard, one of the co-editors of the book, said there was an urgent need for academics to communicate more clearly and “be more engaging, more fascinating and more impactful”, or risk being drowned out by the cacophony of modern media.

“I’ve got colleagues who don’t come to research seminars, because they just want to sit in their silo in research and just do what they’ve always done; they haven’t had to get out into the real world solving real-world problems,” Burnard said.

“It’s actually about more than just reaching a wider group and selling more copies. It’s about putting forward new knowledge and new ways of knowing and, in doing that, actually relate to new solutions to societal problems. Why can’t academics speak to people who haven’t got a degree?”

Burnard points to one of the book’s case studies, the rap artist and educator Breis, who runs workshops on creating verse and improving literacy skills through hip-hop. … Link to full length article at The Guardian

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