ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Harvey Humphrey
University of Strathclyde
The Fellowship presented an original play drawn from participant interviews with trans, intersex and LGBTI activists in the UK, Malta and Australia conducted during the PhD. The original research project had interviewed 36 trans, intersex and LGBTI activists asking about the relationships between trans and intersex activists and activisms (and the wider relationships in these spheres). Many of these participants knew each other and had delicate stories to share. The ethical complexity of representing these participants’ stories without damaging their ongoing relationships with each other led to a decision to create composite characters as a way to anonymise participant identities. This means each single character represents the voices and words of several real participants. The original ethnodrama/play text was written as part of the PhD. This fellowship presented an opportunity to turn that written work into a piece of ethnotheatre – a real live play in a theatre with an audience and everything! More broadly I tried to use the Fellowship to make space for the kind of scholar I seek to be (activist-academic) and produce the kind of creative academic practice I think should be out in the world.
Fellowship accomplishments / highlights:
So I put on a play. The play, As Is, was shown in the Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow on Saturday 2nd July 2022. Tickets sold out! The researcher, cast and direction/production team all had a connection to the LGBTI community with most of us defining as queer and trans. The majority of the cast defined the same way as their characters. For instance, trans women played trans women characters and trans men played trans men characters. I use ‘connection to the LGBTI community’ because we had a cisgender mother of a trans child playing a character who is the mother of a trans child. Her trans daughter was in the audience. The direction and production team were all trans or non-binary. All cast members were paid for their time and work following ITC/Equity guidelines. This was funded by the Fellowship. Additional funding was sought for access costs to make the play accessible to a diverse cast, crew and audience. This additional funding also covered the cost for queer filmmakers to film the play and add captions. [Contact me to find out how to watch it]. A report co-authored with the Mentor and another colleague at Strathclyde thinking through access and inclusion in KE events is available here: https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/84703/. There was a Q&A after the play with myself, the director and three of the actors. This play and post-performance Q&A offered an engaging reflection on continued legislative reform and public debate. This project contributed to ongoing conversations on ethical public engagement and ethical representations of participant data.
Other highlights: I am committed to producing sociological poetry as a way to speak to diverse audiences and as a way to tell different kinds of sociological stories. During the fellowship I published sociological poetry some of which have accompanying analysis. See more here:
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘GRA Reform Tries to Rights a Wrong’, Feminist Legal Studies 31, pp. 265–272 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-022-09503-8
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Cover Letter’ Qualitative Inquiry https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004221139635
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘The Research Interview’, Cultivate: The Feminist Journal of the Centre for Women’s Studies 4, pp. 110-111 https://cultivatefeminism.com/issue-four-care-the-research-interview/
I also published poetry in poetry publications which were all sociologically informed in some way (some more obviously than others). See more here:
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Writing on the Body’, Fenland Poetry Journal 7, pp. 43.
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Morrisons’, Full House Literary https://www.fullhouseliterary.com/poetry/morrisons-by-harvey-humphrey
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘I Dream of Queer Representation’, in I Have a Dream, edited by Ruchi Acharya and Marie Hennemann, Chennai: Wingless Dreamer, pp. 25-26.
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Pink Hair Who Cares’, Gamut Mag 2, pp. 41 https://thegamutmag.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/issue-2-pink-3.pdf
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Brain Fog’ and ‘Pain to Scale’, Snowflake Magazine 1(2), pp. 23-24.
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Trans Time’, ‘Recovery’ and ‘Waiting’, Powders Press 3, pp. 18-19 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FkoUPpGg9F1ko9qr-jpv6OjDhQ5LsBOH/view
Humphrey, H. (2022) ‘Virtual Office’, ‘Some Days’ and Interview, Secret Eclectic https://secreteclectic.com/2022/04/14/
The Fellowship also gave me an opportunity to develop my creative academic practice as a tool for teaching and developing junior colleagues. An account of these experiences are published here:
Humphrey, H. (2023) ‘Making Meanings out of Me: Reading Researchers’ & Participants’ Bodies through Poetry’, Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2(2), pp. 70-89 https://doi.org/10.56230/osotl.58
Humphrey, H. and Marzetti, H. (2022) ‘Making Space; Making Self: Using Lego(R) Figures and Creative Practice to Facilitate Queer Early Career Researchers’ Academic Development’ in LEGO® for university learning: Online, offline and elsewhere. 2nd edition, edited by Chrissi Nerantzi and Alison James, Zenodo, pp. 56-59 10.5281/zenodo.7421754
Advice for future fellows:
Think about what you want to do over the course of a year. It isn’t a huge amount of time so don’t overpromise publications, events etc. Think about how you can develop relationships in your department and institution (especially if you go somewhere new). There might be all kinds of exciting scholars doing cool work in different disciplines. Also get to know the other Fellows from your cohort. While it might look like I ‘accomplished’ lots of cool things during my Fellowship the real highlight for me was the support from the other Fellows. Perhaps it was the context of lockdown Fellowships but we developed real friendships via a ‘Virtual Office’ and a group chat. We remain each other’s cheerleaders whenever one of us gets a new job or publication and our group chat still pings now when someone needs advice about an application or a work situation.