Call for Submissions for a special issue of Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal


Fiction as Research – Writing Beyond the Boundary Lines

(Anticipated publication date February 2021)

Guest Editors:

Dr Ash Watson, Vitalities Lab, Social Policy Research Centre and Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Dr Jessica Smartt Gullion, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Woman’s University


The narrative, speculative and literary can open up boundaries and bridge imaginations. This is something now well-acknowledged in the contemporary academy. Creative writing departments have a sustained presence in universities, fictionalisations are commonly crafted for the public communication of research findings, and fiction has become a conventional teaching tool across many subject areas. Along with the growth of creative practices and arts-based methods more broadly, the use of fiction in research has also risen considerably in recent decades.

Fiction offers us much in the context of research – a mode to evocatively render the insights of empirical investigations, a challenge to flex our social and theoretical understandings, and a space to connect with those beyond the confines of our scholarly disciplines. Fiction writing is a generative practice for creatively and critically engaging with how power structures and struggles are made, continued and felt, affectively and materially.

Building on the considerable history of fiction and narrative in social research and design, the notable recent uptake of creative methods in fields such as health, this special edition calls for submissions that progress the use and understanding of fiction in/as research. We seek authors who consider fiction in ways that move beyond translation, beyond instruction, and beyond utility.

We invite contributions on fiction as research or fiction within the research process. We are particularly interested in ambitious pieces that attempt both – that creatively explore the complex relationships between practice (or method), form, theory, and context. That is, we seek pieces on or of fiction that offer critical analyses and consider the affordances and limitations of fiction in doing this work.

We invite contributions for the Theoretical Musings and In Action sections of Art/Research International. Submissions of short stories and other fictional forms are strongly encouraged, as are discussions of style, genre, form, voice, affect, evocation, perspective, poetics, and agenda. Creative submissions (e.g. short stories or other artistic forms) need to address the call through an explicit exegesis and/or description of how the piece speaks to fiction as research.

Submissions are due by June 1, 2020.

Inquiries should be directed to Ash Watson at

Please review the Arts/Research International submission guidelines and download the journal’s formatting guide before making your submission. These can be found on the journal website at:

Please clearly indicate on your title page that you are directing your submission to this special issue.


Guest Editors’ biographies:

Dr. Ash Watson is a postdoctoral fellow with the Vitalities Lab, Social Policy Research Centre and Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is the creator and editor of So Fi Zine, an indie publication for creative social science, and the invited inaugural fiction editor of The Sociological Review’s online short story series. Her debut novel Into the Sea, a work of sociological fiction, is forthcoming with Brill.

Dr. Jessica Smartt Gullion is the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Woman's University in the U.S. She has published more than thirty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in outlets such as Qualitative Inquiry, the International Review of Qualitative Research, and Art/Research International. She is the author of five books, including October Birds: A Novel about Pandemics, Infection Control, and First Responders, the award-winning Diffractive Ethnography, and most recently Researching With: A Decolonizing Approach to Community-Based