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.

Monday, 17 April 2017

KIPWORLD reaches 250,000 views

KIPWORLD, the personal weblog of Bournemouth University academic, Kip Jones, reached a milestone this week, measuring 250,000 page views in the all-time history of the blog. 

Begun in 2009, the blog averages about one article a month of around 1,000 words in length. These are definitely not the perhaps more typical ‘off-the-cuff’ or ‘stream of consciousness’ blogs, however. Jones pores over and reworks these pieces, sometimes for days, even weeks.  He says that he tends to painstakingly write and rewrite anyway, so putting something out frequently was never going to work for him. One great things about on-line publishing is that you can continue to edit once an article is published, however.

Jones also writes for other blogs from time to time (LSE Impact blog, LSE Review of Books, Discover Society, Sociological Imagination, Creative Quarter, The Creativity Post, Bournemouth University Research Blog) as well.

As Jones reported earlier, 
KIPWORLD is my personal blog where I write about projects that I am working on, but I also use it to develop my writing. A good example is a piece entitled, “How Breakthroughs Come: Tenacity and Perseverance”. First written for the blog, it was then reworked to  include some reader responses to the earlier version. Through a Twitter connection, it was then published for a third time on the Social Research Hub, a site particularly aimed at PhD students in the Social Sciences.
Interestingly, the vast majority of the traffic to the site comes from Facebook where Jones moderates several special interest groups.The audience for KIPWORLD is predominantly in the USA, but the blog is viewed widely throughout the world.

The all-time top article on KIPWORLD is A summer holiday, three books and a story  has received 17,499 views so far. The format is an exercise in creative autofiction, book review and a short story. This contribution to the site was written on holiday and is very much a personal reflection. A similar formula of tripartite creative writing developed by Jones recently made it to the pages of the academic journal, Qualitative Research Journal. (Interestingly, this 'blog style' article in an academic journal has been downloaded 30 times since publication in January 2017).

What might be called "How to" articles (such as What is a Systematic Review? or A Brief Outline for Organising/Writing the PhD Thesis) are also extremely popular.

Jones' advice on blog writing to others:

 
Find your own voice, even your own subject material. Use your blog to develop your writing and your personal style. Don’t just assume that it has to look and sound like a blog to be one. Include at least one picture with every blog article. Let people know about the blog through social media—don’t expect an audience to just find it on its own. Promote it. 

If the most important thing in your life IS to write about your cat, write about it as creatively as you possibly can. Enjoy the experience!

 

 

Re-posted from Bournemouth University Research Blog, April 2017



















































































Friday, 7 April 2017

Three tales of sexual intrigue: A story, a reminiscence, and a filmscript


Kip Jones, (2017) (final draft) “True confessions: why I left a traditional liberal arts college for the sins of the Big City", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 17 Iss: 1, pp. xx-43-51. 

Essay
"True Confessions:
Why I left a traditional liberal arts college 
for the sins of the Big City"


“At the end of that summer, I went off to a bucolic country college—to please my father more than me. But then, I mysteriously left it all behind for the sins of the big city”.


Back at college after a Christmas break, I got together with one of my fraternity brothers, Freddie, for a drinking session in the fraternity president’s bedroom. Freddie was the house “bad boy”, but also its youngest member, a baby-faced ne’er-do-well, and a teenage rebel, by all accounts. (I must start by admitting that this rap sheet amounts to an attractiveness that still never misses my attention.)

After several hours of drinking, smoking, joking around, we literally landed on the bed, laughing.  Shortly thereafter, in complete silence, fumbles, then fondles, began. Then, with a certain amount of misplaced aggressiveness, we got each other off. We zipped up and sheepishly went our separate ways, neither of us saying a thing.

For the next few days I remained riddled with guilt. This was a fraternity brother. Would others find out?  It wasn’t an act that I was likely to repeat surely, but still I needed a way to be certain that, for both if us, it was just a drunken folly.  I finally asked Freddie if we could meet up for a chat. He said, “Sure. Let’s go for a drive in my car tonight”. 

We got together that evening and got into the old coupe banger that he had brought to college from home in Philadelphia. He drove us outside this small central Pennsylvania college town to a country lane shimmering in twilight. Then, at a crook in the road, Freddie pulled the car over into a lay-by, a few bushes and scrubs separating us from the road.  He turned off the motor.

Just about to begin my awkward speech about ‘What a mistake that was/It should never have happened/We were so drunk!/It will certainly never happen again”, Freddie reached over and started rubbing my cock through my jeans. My head shot backwards, and I said nothing at all, just a short, sharp moan emanated from my throat.

Within seconds, all of my misgivings and guilt evaporated. We began, once again, our mutually beneficial physical release. It was over quickly, as these things often are for young men just entering maturity. Freddie said nothing, just started the car. The fact that he ground the gears transferring power to the crankshaft did say to me that he was also somewhat unhinged by the strange turn our relationship was taking.

A silent bargain was made between us that night. If it remained unsaid, it didn’t happen. If we spoke about it, we would break the spell, admitting to the self-loathing engendered by our encounters. Breaching this strange vow would mean the impossible task of justifying our actions in a very restrictive heterosexual world, the only world either of us knew. This world had taught us this response, this disgust, in a subtle manner, but obviously, had educated us very well. The silence itself from the very outset became the contract between the two of us. This was Brokeback Mountain before it ever existed as a reference point. Ironically, it happened in the very same era of that tragic story. The only word for what we were experiencing was found in medical books and considered a mental illness. Disgust and longing, nonetheless, became our personally intertwined dissonance.


Nothing stays the same. Nothing, except our expectations.

I had always wanted to go to art school, not “real” college, but my parents insisted. Was going to an art college in the city now a way of getting away from that small town college and the impossible situation with Freddie at the same time? Was this move meant to resolve the conflict that our relationship created in my diminutive world?  Perhaps I was yearning to go to the big city to pursue my creative instincts at last?  Or was I really just headed to a 'den of iniquity' hoping to “discover” my sexuality somehow, all the while pretending that the relocation was for all those other reasons?  Over that summer at home, I convinced my father finally that art school was the only education for me. He eventually agreed and off I went to the big city.

Another summer came, the one following my first year at Art College. As it turned out, I wasn’t very good at it, art school. The other students were so talented, so sophisticated and me, a hopeless country bumpkin.  At least I had started growing my hair so that I would look more like an art student. Or at least I thought so.

Through the school, I met Albert, another student and a local guy with much more artistic talent than me.  We rented an apartment together and began a lifelong friendship.  That summer, I didn’t particularly want to return to my country home and family, and when he said, “I am going to stay with friends in the outskirts of the city for a week or two, wanna come along?” I said, “Yes”. I didn’t know at the time that I would end up staying for the whole summer at this house of the parents of two of his friends.

1964 was a summer of love whose soundtrack was Bossa Nova by Morgana King. [i] I slept that summer in an attic room just under the widow’s watch of this large grey Victorian house. A veranda wrapped itself around the ground floor like an embrace. A large standard poodle bounced freely in and out of the veranda’s floor to ceiling open windows with their tattered curtains. The family’s “open-door” relaxed style made the house a gathering spot for local youth of social standing, mostly in their late teens and early twenties.

I t was during this time that I became overwhelmingly attracted to a sixteen-year-old boy who lived nearby. We swam together daily in the overgrown garden’s pool behind the house, drank beer, listened to music and talked for hours. Our platonic relationship grew daily, as did our desire to spend every possible moment with each other. When his parents questioned this, he innocently told them that he loved me. His mother responded by threatening to come after the family and me with a kitchen knife. Our reverie ended abruptly and we never saw each other again. My social position and pretence coupled with my romantic outlook had convinced me in my naïveté that anything was possible, even this platonic love. The painful lesson learned that summer was that this was not the case, and never would be. It wasA Taste  of  Honey” (King,,  M. 1965) . It was a summer of beginnings, and an end. 

When I show our film, RUFUS STONE (2011) (a story of about the youth of two gay men even older than me) to Millennials (and lately Gen Z’s), there is always a bit of squeamishness and shuffling, certainly signs of some kind or recognition and/or unease at the conundrum presented by the film’s story. In discussions following screenings, this present generation seems to me to be a sexually ambivalent one, more comfortable with multiple choices or no choice at all.  Nonetheless, these young people do identify with the complexity of feelings presented by youth within the film. They are also particularly aware of the societal pressures around sexual positioning that are now seen as on a continuum by their generation, if not by society as a whole. The ever-present cultural pressure is to make a choice (is there really one?), but this demand is complicated by their entrenched ambivalence. 
I read recently that Prince Harry has actually said, (light-heartedly admittedly). that if it doesn’t work out with his current girlfriend, he wouldn’t be put off by maybe dating a guy. What is coming back to me, flowing back from these teen and early-twenties audiences—a generation with a very amorphous feeling about gender and sexuality which is very much on continuum—is that they are much more accepting about the idea of change of gender (transgender) than their predecessors.  This generation and the way that they often think about sexuality seems very different in its way to my generation’s thinking and previous generations following me. Yet, much of the angst and fear of rejection, even scorn, within the processes of discovery of sexualities, remain very much the same.

In a recent report on sexuality of American high school students by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2016), researchers found that

some students identify themselves as heterosexual but report having sexual contact with only persons of the same sex, whereas some students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual have not had sexual contact or have had sexual contact with only persons of the opposite sex. This dissonance is well documented in other research and can be a normal part of the developmental process that occurs during adolescence.

The report goes on to say that

although ‘many sexual minority youth cope with the transition from childhood to adulthood successfully and become healthy and productive adults, others struggle as a result of challenges such as stigma, discrimination, family disapproval, social rejection, and violence.

With the progress made in supposed acceptance of the equal rights of gay and lesbian citizens, particularly in Western cultures over the last half-century, it is easy to assume that feelings of unease, even ‘dissonance’ around issues of sexuality have been left behind us.  Nonetheless, it seems from not only the CDC study, but also my personal experience discussing sexuality with youth following screenings of RUFUS STONE, that this is not the case.  Both during the collection of stories from older gay and lesbian citizens, and then in writing the story for the film, the assumption was made (by me at least) that this was a story very much entrenched in the past and that society has moved on. But then in writing the line for RUFUS STONE, “We all knew, but we didn’t like to say” it was brought home for me that I needed to admit that it remains a contemporary problem—a lack of genuine acceptance.

This surprising identification of a present-day attitude regarding sexuality that I had always assumed as a historical one continues to befuddle me. I find certain solidarity with youth, nonetheless, in stories of both insecurities around sexualities and fear of rejection of these important rites of passage. This is why I am writing the next film script.  This time, the story takes us back to the 1960s, the time of “free love” gay liberation, and the “sexual revolution” ... or was it?

Tag: A gullible youth on a roller coaster ride of loss of innocence and coming out in the flux and instability of 1960s hippy America

"Copacetica" is the working title of a script currently in development for a feature-length film.  The story expands an earlier A/V production, which has been viewed internationally and written about in academic journals and books.

Set in the 1960s, Copacetica's themes include being different, the celebration of being an outsider, seeing oneself from outside of the “norm”, and the interior conflicts of “coming out” within a continuum as a (gay) male in a straight world. These observations are set within the flux and instability of a period of great social change, but which are often viewed in retrospect as consistent and definable. Being straight or being gay can also be viewed in a similar way within the wider culture’s need to set up a sexual binary and force sexual “choice” decision-making for the benefit of the majority culture. Through the device of the fleeting moment, the story interrogates the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity.

To end this essay, I take us back to the beginning. The following is an excerpt from Copacetica’s working script. By doing so I hope to intrigue you, convincing you to continue to develop this conversation.

“There are no truths. Only stories.” ―  King, T. 1994.

Scene 3. INT. - KYLE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT.

Kyle's apartment, which he shares with his art-school roommate, Albert, is small. A kitchen unit is at one end of the main room, which is also Kyle's bedroom. Kyle's single mattress rests on a piece of plywood cut to size and raised off the floor in the corner by plastic milk crates. Albert has the small bedroom in the back of the apartment. Kyle has created a photomontage of black and white clippings, mostly from fashion magazines, Bailey and Avedon, etc. and glued them to the walls surrounding his bed. Some student art work in frames cover the other walls. Stacked bricks and wood planks form a bookshelf filled with LP's, a cheap stereo and books. A small dinette table with two unmatched chairs is near the kitchen unit. The flooring is cheap charcoal grey wall-to-wall carpet.

We see the room in monochrome with the same swimming pool green tone we have seen earlier.
We hear muffled sounds, the panting sounds of sex. We tour the photographs and artwork, but then move to

KYLE, his jeans around his ankles, on top of someone.
We ARE VIEWING Kyle's body from above.
At first we don't know who he is fucking. Slowly we see that it is BILLIE. Billie's mini-dress is around her breasts.
KYLE lets out a moan, then rolls off of Billie. There isn't much room on the single mattress. It is uncomfortable, so he stands and pulls his Y-fronts and jeans up over his ass and cock. In the meantime, BILLIE has pulled down her dress. They've been fucking in the dark.
KYLE walks to the kitchen area. His naked chest and torso gleam in the dim glow from the streetlight coming through a small window in the kitchen area.
KYLE then moves to the wall and turns on an overhead florescent light fixture. The lighting makes the scene greener and even more garish.
BILLIE feels around the floor next to the mattress for her panties. She pulls them on.
BILLIE then props herself up, head on one hand. The bed sheets are swimming pool green.
BILLIE
You don't like doing that very much, do you?
KYLE
(Stunned)
Wha'? Whoa! (Pacing) Where did that come from? I never said that!
BILLIE
Yeah, but you don't have to tell me; you act like it,
KYLE
It's just that this sack is so cramped. Aren't you uncomfortable? (Beat) Christ, Billie.
(Hurt) What a shit thing to say. (Turns away from her)
KYLE then turns on the stereo and lights a joint.
begin song: Eric Anderson "Foolish Like the Flowers"
BILLIE
I dunno. (Beat) (Sitting straight up now) Maybe it's this fucking business all together.
(Joking now, seeing Kyle is hurt and trying to make light of her remark)


     BILLIE (con’t)
Let's take 'fucking' lessons! They have love-ins, how about we organise a fuck-in! (Beat)

I guess that's just an orgy, huh?
KYLE
(Angry) Maybe you just need to be a little less of a snap case, eh?
(He still is not over his embarrassment because of her initial question. His ego has been crushed)
KYLE paces nervously, putting on a white T-shirt.
KYLE CONT.
(Beat) (Almost talking to himself)
Is there more beer in the fridge?
KYLE moves to fridge and opens it. The light from inside bathes his frame in a flattering light.  KYLE grabs two cans of beer, opens them with a church key, moves back to Billie, giving her a beer. She is still lying on the mattress, propped up on a pillow.
Billie is half dressed now. The greenish lighting makes her look older, a bit like a circus performer. Her pancake white make-up and smudged coal black eyes, which earlier looked so "mod", now appear ghoulish. She is an Egon Schiele painting.  
KYLE takes another drag on his joint.
KYLE
You wanna stay over? Albert is away for the weekend; we could sleep in his double without him ever sussing.
BILLIE gets up from the mattress and adjusts her mini-dress. She looks at her reflection in a nearby round, distressed cobalt blue glass mirror, but it emphasizes the ghoulishness of her appearance.
BILLIE
Nah. I promised my mother I'd spend some time with her tomorrow.
KYLE hands Billie his joint. BILLIE takes a toke and hands it back. 
KYLE
Hey! Don't forget your eyelashes! There on the table there.
BILLIE moves to the table and picks up the two false eyelashes. They look like two gigantic black caterpillars crawling across the table. She forces them on to her eyelids, counting on the glue that was already on them to hold them in place.
KYLE
Hey! Maybe next time you can give me a blow job!

BILLIE
Yeah, right. I'd blow you then you'd blow me off. Not cool and you know it! You sad dudes all alike that way.
KYLE
Awe, c'mon! It wouldn't be like that. Sock it to me! That would really turn me on! What do ya say? Pa-lease??
BILLIE slips on her shoes, straightens her dress and looks in the mirror one last time.
BILLIE throws Kyle a distasteful look.
BILLIE
 You're such a dude. You're more into getting yourself off than into
  
getting it on. (Beat)
Love ya, anyhow, "Dude".
KYLE
First mistake!
BILLIE, moves to the door, blows him a kiss, dramatically.
BILLIE
See ya! (Beat) Probably at Frank's tomorrow night?
KYLE has moved to the bed and is lying with his hands behind his head, somewhat more relaxed now, toking on the joint.
(Is this because Billie is leaving?)
      KYLE
Okay, Billie. See you there.
begin song: Eric Andersen "Is It Really Love at All"
Love. Is it really
love at all?
Or something that I heard love called
Something that I heard love called.
BILLIE starts to exit.
KYLE
(From the bed)
Hey, Billie!
BILLIE at the door, turns back
BILLIE
Yeah?
KYLE
Do you think we should get married?
Blackout.



References

CDC (Centers for Disease Control). 2016. |”Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)”.

Date Accessed: 11 Jan. 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm

King, M. 1965. “A Taste of Honey” (song). Date Accessed: 11 Jan. 2017. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLS2l6QxuuY

King, T. 1994. Green Grass, Running Water. New York: Bantam Publishers.

RUFUS STONE. 2011. (film). Josh Appignanesi, Director. Kip Jones, Executive Producer & Author. London: Parkville Films.



[i] An expanded version of this story appeared as “Infusing Biography with the Personal: Writing Rufus Stone”, published in Creative Approaches to Research, 2013: vol. 6. no. 2, pp.6–23.



Thursday, 6 April 2017

"Copacetica" Scene 1. EXT SUBURBAN HOUSE POOL NIGHT

Scene 1. EXT. - SUBURBAN HOUSE POOL - NIGHT

Establishing shot with late 1950’s contemporary ranch house with a swimming pool behind it, set in a countryside-turning-suburban America.


It is a pitch-black night; flashes of lightening in the distant sky.
 

We see the scene in monochrome except for a green swimming pool, lit by underwater lighting, glowing in the darkness.
 

The kidney shaped pool looks like a huge green footprint on the night landscape.

We hear sappy romantic 1950’s pop music coming from a large pool side speaker. (”Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis is suggested.) Music throughout the story emanates from stereos, radios, a DJ's turntable or a jukebox. All songs are indicative of characters and are integral to the plot and the specific time period of the story and suggested tracks shouldn't be considered as background or 'film music'. They are part of the story.


We first meet KYLE James, 16, short dark hair, preppy, bright eyes and swimmer’s build as
 

KYLE emerges from beneath the pool’s surface in a cascade of rushing water.

KYLE somersaults over on his hands and begins to do ‘pirouettes’ upside down in the pool, imitating what he has seen in Esther Williams’ films. As the music builds and Kyle’s movements become more agitated but still balletic.


CUT TO: KYLE’S MOTHER, 1950’S UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS HOUSEWIFE (“BETTY DRAPER” TYPE)IS SEEN THROUGH EXTERIOR WINDOW OF THE HOUSE. SHE IS PEERING AT KYLE THROUGH THE KITCHEN WINDOW. 


We can see inside the kitchen’s interior, a range of muted 1950s colors, behind her.


His MOTHER looks worried. She lights a cigarette. (Is her son going to turn out ‘like that?’ Kyle’s interests lately have started to concern her, but she keeps her concerns from his father.)


MOTHER stops worrying about that right now, and instead continues to worry about Kyle being in the water with the coming electrical storm. She is a worrier. 


MOTHER looks up at the lightning through the window then covers her face with her hands in fright.
She is afraid for Kyle, on so many levels. 


(This is a story about fear and the regrets that fear produces.)


CUT TO EXT. POOL 


KYLE is now floating silently on his back, arms stretch outward, palms upward, not moving, but watching the sky erupt. Agitated birds flapping to a chorus of crickets in the background. The sky is black. Suddenly thunder, then a lightning bolt hits the ground in the distance behind the pool. It immediately begins to pour sheets of rain. 


KYLE climbs the ladder, exiting the pool like a Bruce Webber photoshoot slowly. 


We examine his body gradually, voyeuristically, from his head to his feet, as he ascends the pool ladder rung by rung. His physical beauty and his youth are breath-taking. He turns away from our view upon reaching the top of the ladder. The heavy rain then blocks our view. The pool in the background looks like a drop of green ink on wet paper. 


We are mesmerized by the scene and by Kyle’s beauty. Our attention is held for a minute or so.
 

Fade to black.


"Copacetica" is the working title of a script currently in early stages of development for a feature-length film. Set in the 1960s, Copacetica's themes include being different, the celebration of being an outsider, seeing oneself from outside of the “norm”, and the interior conflicts of “coming out” within a continuum as a (gay) male in a straight world. These observations are set within the flux and instability of a period of great social change. Through the device of the fleeting moment, the story interrogates the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity.

Copyright 2016 Kip Jones