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
and The Independent.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

RUFUS STONE … the next Generation!

The short film, RUFUS STONE, produced by Bournemouth University, is seven years old this year. The film has been screened widely over this time and seen in schools, universities, international conferences, community organisations, health and social care settings, and online internationally by more than 24,000 viewers in 150 countries.

RUFUS STONE tells the tale of youth and same-sex attraction and what happens when gossip and insensitivity impinge upon young lives, changing them forever.  Our screenings of this story, particularly to youth, have impressed upon us how a supposedly ‘old’ story, (i.e., set in rural Britain more than 50 years ago), still very much has resonance with young people today. Awards presented by the Youth Jury at the Rhode Island Film Festival (2012) as well as presentations to young audiences in the community and academic settings raise the question:

Are youth today still troubled by issues of sexuality and identity in their interface with society?

The “RUFUS STONE … the next Generation” Project will contribute to knowledge on the substantive topic of ‘Post-Millennials’ or ‘Generation Z’ (GenZ). GenZ’s birth years range from the mid-1990s to early 2000s. Comfortable with technology, the cohort has grown up with a feeling of unsettlement and insecurity around the future, and ambivalence around gender and sexual identities. The Project will explore how these attitudes may impact on their mental health. The Project will also investigate the effect of their outlooks on their relationships with each other and their wider communities.

Evidence so far indicates dissidence around sexuality and fluidity of gender roles particularly in Generation Z.
Inspired by a major US survey by the Centre for Disease Control on GenZ’s concepts of gender and sexuality, our interest was further piqued by a major special issue on “The Gender Revolution” in National Geographic (Jan 2017).  “Unimaginable a decade ago, the intensely personal subject of gender identity has entered the public square”. This openness to discussion of sexuality and gender begins to expose this latest generation’s ambivalence, even dissonance, around issues of gender and sexuality. Or are these insecurities similar to those of previous generations, but just more visible as a result of today’s no-holds-barred, but often anonymous, engagement with social media?
It is our belief that this study has the potential to unlock this phenomenon, and, through an interface of Project GenZ’s findings with knowledge of the experiences of past generations, understand more fully individual anxieties and dissonance in regard to sexuality and gender.
Research Questions:
How do Gen Z youth see themselves in relation to the wider, more pervasive heteronormative culture?
How do Gen Z young people perceive differences (or not) in their interface with identity, sexuality and gender than those of previous generations?
The Project will use a multi-method approach to the research, employing a biographic narrative approach to individual life story interviews; the use of arts-led research group work such as film screenings to generate discussion; participant TV studio work; and video diaries, etc. to engage students and elicit personal takes on sexuality and gender issues. Students will be sensitively engaged in reflecting on their own experiences and anxieties around sexual identity through the various tools and methods.
The Project will involve GenZ (‘Post-Millennials’) as both participants in the research and as “co-creators”. Data will be gathered in a congenial and participatory way, conducive with the principles of Performative Social Science and Relational Aesthetics. Performative Social Science (PSS) is an arts-based method of research and dissemination developed by Jones at Bournemouth University over ten years and is recognized internationally. Relational Aesthetics provides the philosophical bedrock on which PSS has been built.  Relational ‘Art’ is located in human interactions and their social contexts. Central to it are inter-subjectivity (“the psychological relation between people” or social psychology), being together, the encounter and collective elaboration of meaning (Bourriaud, 1998). These are philosophical principles that are central to PSS as a rich methodological development in qualitative research. Recently lauded by Sage Publications, they described Jones' Performative Social Science as pioneering work that will ‘propel arts-led research forward’ and be a “valued resource for students and researchers for years to come’.

We are currently applying for funding to work with young people aged 16-18 years and involving them in telling their stories, video recorded on their phones, iPads, etc., then concluding with a series of internet broadcasts co-created by involving them in every stage of production. 
“Skam”, the Norwegian TV series about Oslo teenagers, has influenced our concept and will be used to engage youth in telling their own stories. Set in Oslo, SKAM, (or SHAME in English), is coming-of-age TV drama that follows the lives of a group of teenagers and the challenges that they face throughout high school. The Norwegian series shows a deep understanding of the struggles with self-identity and internalized homophobia that so many LGBTQ+ people go through. This series has touched the hearts of so many people and will certainly withstand the test of time, much the same as RUFUS STONE has done.
From personal correspondence:
It's a project on Generation Z, and their anxieties and ambiguous approaches around gender and sexuality.  We have run one small workshop so far, and the participation was fantastic by the young people. 
Because this is the first generation totally hooked up electronically since birth, I want to work with personal media and social media over several months in sessions with them producing their own film/video about their lives and relationships.  We will then take the stories from that and some of the characters as well into the TV studio at Talbot and make some film.  All this from their input, stories and participation at each phase. Would like to end up with something like the Norwegian series Skam or at least with that look and feeling in the end.  Of course, things could change as we go along and that is okay too.
Gen Z presentation video from Kip Jones on Vimeo.

Read all about the proposed project in the AHRC Blog!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Two important Chapters on Performative Social Science now available in text books

Kip Jones, a pioneer in Performative Social Science at Bournemouth University (BU), has two substantial book Chapters now available in texts published by Wiley-Blackwell and Palgrave Macmillan. Both texts move the practice of arts-led research forward substantially and will become valued resources for students and researchers for years to come.

The first Chapter, “Performative Social Science”, in J. P. Matthes, C. S. Davis, & R. F. Potter (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods, rehearses the development of Performative Social Science (PSS) as a research approach and method, developed over ten years at Bournemouth University through publication, film, research, workshops, Masterclasses, and PhD studies. Jones explains that PSS is not simply ‘art for art’s sake’ instead of research. PSS is research and dissemination practices based in the philosophy of Relational Aesthetics and has much in common with Social Constructionism. The ‘audience’ or reader/viewer are key to PSS, as is the wider community.

This 3-volume Encyclopedia is touted as the most current authoritative single-source reference on communication methods. The editors state that they have invited the best scholars from all over the world to accomplish this. Jones’ Chapter (draft) is now available at:

The second Chapter, “Emotivity and Ephemera Research”, in Innovative Research Methodologies in Management: Volume I, edited by L. Moutinho and M. Sokelem provides an in-depth worked example of PSS. The Chapter reports on a two-day experimental workshop in arts-led interviewing technique using ephemera to illicit life stories and then reporting narrative accounts back using creative means of presentation. The workshop took place at Bournemouth and participants were all University faculty members. A key to the process was in replicating what research participants may be feeling and going through when they share very personal stories with researchers. The exercise built a respect for this process by acknowledging that fact through the personal experiences and emotive connectivity of workshop participants.

The Editors of this book on management were keen to include the Chapter, stating that many who are attempting a PhD, particularly using a qualitative approach, spend little or no effort in finding, then learning, an appropriate method for their research question. The felt that the Chapter would contribute substantially in this way to management studies. The Chapter was originally published as “A report on an arts-led, emotive experiment in interviewing and storytelling” in  The Qualitative Report, 20(2), 86-92 and is available here:

It is examples like these that substantiate the work being done not only by Jones, but by other members of the Centre for Qualitative Research (CQR) at Bournemouth University. Membership of CQR comes from across Health and Social Sciences’ disciplines at BU as well as from a number of other BU faculties, This attraction attests to the universal appeal of qualitative methods and particularly arts-led ones, including Performative Social Science, which are being developed through CQR.