An epilogue to two films A Cup of Instant Coffee - a van-dwellers's assemblage and Come Dance my PhD

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Alys Mendus


These films intersect the rhizomatic space (Deleuze and Guattari 1980/1987) between doing, writing, sharing and living an itinerant PhD journey. They weave together my arts-based autoethnographic expression of exploring the less talked about aspects of my PhD experience. During my PhD I lived an itinerant life as a van-dweller in the UK, often travelling abroad for my research (Mendus 2017). I use itinerant here to mean of "no-fixed-abode" as I was constantly travelling, often sleeping in a van or at friends' houses but not living in a fixed-home-dwelling. This piece is written as an epilogue, to support the thinking and process behind the arts-based, autoethnographic projects shown in the films. Although I use autoethnography, as defined by Spry, as "a self-narrative that critiques the situations of self with others in social contexts" (2001, p.710) I am always aware of the relational aspects and focus more on Spry's later definition, that "autoethnography is not about "self" but the wilful embodiment of 'we'" (2016, p.15). Through this project I also used art-based research defined as, "The use of personal expression in various art forms as a primary mode of enquiry. These studies may accompany or include the artistic expressions of others but their unique feature is the making of art by the researcher." (McNiff 2013, p.5)

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Mendus, A. (2019). An epilogue to two films: A Cup of Instant Coffee - a van-dwellers’s assemblage and Come Dance my PhD. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, 2(1), 51–60.