Kip Jones

KIP JONES, an American by birth, has been studying and working in the UK for more than 20 years.
Under the umbrella term of 'arts-led 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 was Reader in Performative Social Science and Qualitative Research at
Bournemouth University for 15 years.
He is now a Visiting Scholar and and an independent author and scholar.

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.
Jones' most recent work involves working with Generation Z youth to tell their stories using
social media.
His ground-breaking use of qualitative methods, including Auto-fiction, 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 14,000 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.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Man in a Ditch

Murano Island, Venice

“You must never smile like that... you must never smile like that at anyone”.













Venice was a struggle … three times. The first time for me, the ship was stuck in the harbour at Dubrovnik with a broken propeller and couldn’t leave for Venice. Eventually it went to Trieste instead; me? utterly disappointed.

The third time, yes it was Venice, but in high summer season, very hot, crowded, no, packed like sardines, like the end of the world was just a day or two away.

The Doge’s Palace gets 1.3 million visitors per year. There are a zillion steps to get into the building, then another trillion to reach the main room on the next floor. I asked why, with all those paying tourists climbing all those many stairs (and in the heat), why oh why couldn’t they install a lift? I didn’t get an answer.

The second time I had a crack at Venice is the one I would like to talk about here. I was thrilled to finally arrive at the location for the film, Death in Venice, perhaps see the lido, even the hotel where von Aschenbach stayed. I fired up my phone with the Adagio from Mahler’s 5th, used so successfully in the film by Visconti. I went on deck in early morning as we sailed into Venice via the Grand Canal, listening to Mahler and observing the incredible floating architecture.

It was either early Spring or late Autumn; I don’t recall. What I do remember is the constant rain and miserably cold temperatures.  You can tell it’s really raining and will be for some time in Venice because they put wooden platforms for pedestrians to walk on about one foot above the pavement. So, we trotted around Venice in the rain like that.

I hooked up with Sally, a passenger from London whom I had met on the ship. As time went on, I realised that Sally was on a remembrance journey to Venice of her own making.  She never revealed the whole story; rather, she just commented on various sites that we visited that held memories for her. A love story never told? Perhaps.

On our first day, because of the heavy rain, she and I decided to take an excursion to Murano island to visit the famous glassworks. We would get to ride in a vaporetto, another treat I was looking forward to.

Bouncing along in the rather choppy waters on the Grand Canal, the heavy rain began spitting through the cracks in the boat. We tried looking at the scenery by wiping the small windows with the forearms of our coats. They kept fogging up, however, and we didn’t see much.

We disembarked the vaporetto onto a small jetty and into the continuing rain and fog.

The whole idea of building a city on water is part genius, part madness. I suppose that is a great measure of the attraction of Venice. There are many small islands that make up the miniscule amount of land comprising the habitable real estate of the lagoon. Murano is one of them—a part of Venice revealing a more human scale.

We trotted along, this shivering clump of tourists being hustled forward with some difficulty on a narrow footpath. To top it all off, we came to an intersection where the pavement was dug up for construction, a deep ditch about three feet wide taking up most of the pedestrian walkway along the canal.

Then it happened. Rising from the trench like Venus on a half-shell was one of the most beautiful young men I have ever seen. Totally struck by his beauty, I stopped in my tracks, now almost facing him.

And then it really happened. This entrenched workman smiled at me. Here I was in Venice, like von Aschenbach, having my own unplanned Death in Venice encounter with the beauty of youth!

And so, slowly but surely, in my mind at least, I repeated Thomas Mann’s line from the novel, Death in Venice:

 “You must never smile like that... you must never smile like that at anyone”.

Sally suddenly grabbed my arm roughly and hurried us along. The glass factory was waiting. Venice was waiting. But I had finally experienced what I had really come for: My Death in Venice moment.

The rain never really cleared, but we determinedly saw Venice for the next two days. Sally, resolute to recreate her past visit, nonetheless still only willing to share bits and pieces of it, never revealing the true story behind her recollections.

Once in a while she would catch me smiling, but never asked why.

I kept my secret too.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Zoom by Kip Jones

Zoom
By Kip Jones


Hal
(In his best presentational voice)
Okay. Ready for our regular meeting.
Using Zoom today.
Everybody ready and willing?
(laughs to himself)

Tracy
Hello?  You there?
Can you hear me?

Dick
I’M HERE! CAN YOU SEE ME?

Ethel
My screen just went dark. Are you still there?
(beat) Oh, never mind.
There you all are!

Hal
Is the whole team assembled?
There should be about 12 of us, but I am only seeing
five of you.

Tracy
Yeah. You have to have your photo turned on …
Or something.

Dick
Is it working now? I wore a tie for this!

Bev
Sorry I’m late. I have brought the little one
along. She’s colicky.

Gladys
Oh, that’s always a difficult time.
Turn your camera on, Bev! I can’t see the baby.

Hal
We have a lot to get through this morning.
Could we get started?

Tracy
I was going to ask if I could bring at least one
of the kids. We’re home schooling them.


Tom
Yes. I have been working on numeracy
with mine already today.

Hal
Could you all turn your cameras on?
We can’t see you.

Tom
Oh. I haven’t really dressed yet.
I thought this was more like texting.

Bev
What are you wearing, Tom?
(giggles)

Tom
Well, PJ bottoms and a T shirt.
Oh. And slippers.

Bev
Very sexy!

Hal
(clears throat)
As I said, the agenda is quite full.

Gladys
Is that your kitchen, Hal?
We were thinking of those kinds of cabinets.

Hal
Yes.

Gladys
They look good in glossy white.
What did you use for backsplashes?

Hal
(annoyed)
Another time, perhaps?

Tracy
Dick, are you in an office?

Dick
Yeah, it’s my home office. I built it under the stairs.
Mostly to have a place away from the kids.

Tracy
Yes, I can hear them in the background. 
Screaming, are they?

Dick
Yes. It’s part of a game I think. (beat)
Oh, fuck! The dog just bolted in!

Tracy
What kind is it? It looks like a Lab?

Dick
It’s a mix. Lab and Collie I think.
Sorry for saying ‘fuck’.

Hal
No need for apologies, but could we get on?

Elenore
Hello, everybody! Can you see me?

(Hellos, etc)

Sorry I’m late. I finally booked a food delivery.
And they just came.

Tracy
You look shattered, Elenore.
Everything okay?

Elenore
Yes, mostly. It’s just getting used to all of this.
I get a bit teary at times.

Tracy
Yes. Seems never to end.

Hal
And we are the lucky ones.
Working at home and still getting full pay.

Tom
You say that. I’m not so sure.
The anxiety level is miles high.

Hal
Well, maybe if you washed and dressed, Tom.

Tom
Thanks boss. I’ll take that on board.

Hal
Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound harsh.
It’s hard times for all of us.
(pauses, then)
We’ve written a short paper about
maintaining our mental health.
Should I circulate it again?

(muttering and unclear voices)

Bev
I’ve just realised how many
books are on the shelves behind you, Tom!

Tom
Yes, running out of room!

Bev
Have you read them all? (beat)
Or are they just for show?

Hal
Okay, gang! That’s about enough
chit chat. Shall we make a start?
The clock is ticking and we have a lot
to cover today.

(more mumbling, then)

ON SCREEN: We are sorry but your allotted free time on
Zoom has expired. If you would like to pay for more time
and continue, please click “continue’ at the top of the page.

Hello?

Are we still on?

What do I do now?

I can’t see any of you?

My screen has gone black!

Your voice is fading!

(beat)

Hello, Hal?  Do you read me?

The End.