Kip Jones

KIP JONES, an American by birth, has been studying and working in the UK for more than 19 years.
Under the umbrella term of 'arts-based research', his main efforts have involved developing tools
from the arts and humanities for use by social scientists in research and its impact on a wider
public or a Perfomative Social Science.

Jones is Reader in Performative Social Science and Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research
at Bournemouth University. Kip has produced films and written many articles for academic
journals and authored chapters for books on topics such as masculinity, ageing and rurality,
and older LGBT citizens. His ground-breaking use of qualitative methods, including
biography and auto-ethnography, and the use of tools from the arts in social science research and
dissemination are well-known.

Jones acted as Author and Executive Producer of
the award-winning short film,
RUFUS STONE, funded by Research Councils UK.
The film is now available for
free viewing on the Internet and has been
viewed by more than 13,000 people in 150
countries.

Areas of expertise
• Close relationships, culture and ethnicity
• Social psychology, sociology
• Ageing, self and identity
• Interpersonal processes, personality,
individual differences,
social networks, prejudice and stereotyping
• Sexuality and sexual orientation
• Creativity and the use of the
arts in Social Science

Media experience
His work has been reported widely
in the media, including:
BBC Radio 4,BBC TV news,Times
Higher Education, Sunday New
York Times, International
Herald-Tribune
and The Independent.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

'The love of the light on the land and the blackbird's cry'

This photo montage, 'Blackbirds/Sally (Venice)' (and above), was not used in a recent web post that we submitted about our 'Grey and Pleasant Land' projects at Bournemouth University.

I have often commented on the insensitivity of the photographs used to illustrate stories about ageing. These are generally of two types: ones that infantalise older people or others that portray them as 'poor old dears'. Neither are acceptable or represent the wide diversity of older people or the range of possibilities to be found in later life, in my estimation.

This photo represents ageing as a reflective time of life and the opportunities that growing older provides through the latent potential of memories. This has resonance with Lars Tornstam's theory of gerotranscendence or 'a shift in meta perspective, from a materialistic and rational view of the world to a more cosmic and transcendent one, normally accompanied by an increase in life satisfaction'. (See Tornstam) I have written about gerotranscendence in The Spiritual Dimension: a gerotranscendental take on Akira Kurosawa´s film "Ran", linked on Tornstam's website.

The song, 'The Valley' by ISSA (Jane Siberry) ( below) inspired the photo montage as well as the short A/V production concerning our project, "Gay and Pleasant Land...", one of the seven Grey and Pleasant Land projects being carried out at four universities in the south west of England and Wales, part of the NDA programme of research on ageing in 21st Century Britain.

ISSA has graciously gifted us with the publishing rights to the song to use in our project. We hope to use the song in a short film that will be the outcome of three years of intensive research on old gay and lesbian citizens who frequently live isolated lives in rural settings in the south west of England and Wales.

The Valley (lyrics)
I live in the hills
You live in the valleys
And all that you know are those blackbirds
You rise every morning
Wondering what in the world will the world bring today
Will it bring you joy or will it take it away
And every step you take is guided by
The love of the light on the land and the blackbird's cry
You will walk in good company
The valley is dark
The burgeoning holding
The stillness obscured by their judging
You walk through the shadows
Uncertain and surely hurting
Deserted by the blackbirds and the staccato of the staff
And though you trust the light towards which you wend your way
Sometimes you feel all that you wanted has been taken away
You will walk in good company
I love the best of you
You love the best of me
Though it is not always easy
Lovely? lovely?
We will walk in good company
The shepherd upright and flowing
You see...

--Jane Siberry (I S S A)

Performance of 'The Valley' in Sydney by kd lang
"I'd have to say that Jane Siberry's 'The Valley' is probably my ultimate, all-time favorite song. I really love the sentiment of it," lang says. "I haven't talked to Jane directly about it, but what I've heard is that she wrote it when she lived across from a special needs facility. She used to see one of the residents walking...and she was trying to understand the world they were existing in. To me, that's a really beautiful way to basically approach everyone, because in essence we're all in the hills and all in the valleys, as the song says. It just depends on where your perspective is. But I just love the sentiment of [the verse] 'you will walk in good company' because we're all here."--Boston Globe - July 9, 2004.

1 comment:

  1. Kip -

    I work with gerontological clinical education, and find your work in this area just fascinating. I shared a number of these links with my colleagues, as it seems your work takes on a more creative and qualitative perspective than the more traditional (c. quantitative) approaches I often see taken with this population.

    In many ways, your work seems to personalize and treat those of advanced years as older people, rather than as members of some older patient population in general. Quite helpful.

    Jeffrey

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