Research Poetry and the Non-Representational


  • Candice Boyd University of Melbourne



non-representational theory, therapeutic space, creative practices, poetry as method


A call for cultural geographers to experiment with different ways of re-presencing their work has gained momentum in recent years (see DeLyser & Hawkins, 2014; Lorimer & Parr, 2014; Vannini, 2015).  This climate of experimentation has seen a number of cultural geographers openly promote their interests in, and engagements with, the creative arts:  some have explicitly developed practices in response to longer-standing geographical interests (e.g., Cresswell, 2013/2014; Gallagher, 2014; Gorman-Murray, 2014; Wylie, with Webster, 2014), while others have more established art practices that inform, and are informed by, their geographical work (e.g., Crouch, 2010; de Leeuw, 2012; Zebracki, n.d.).  In this article, I explore the potential of poetry to animate accounts of geographical fieldwork via an intellectual engagement with the ideas and tenets of non-representational theory.  I begin by outlining the history of ‘poetry as method’ in the social sciences and then acknowledge poetry’s status within phenomenology.  From there, I consider what a post-structuralist account of geographical fieldwork might entail, drawing from Deleuzian philosophy.  Then, using three conjoined poems of my own as a vehicle, I critically analyse the work that poems do as research as well as the ways in which they operate in literary terms. 

Author Biography

Candice Boyd, University of Melbourne

Candice Boyd is an artist-geographer with a background in clinical psychology.  She has recently completed a second PhD in cultural geography and the creative arts at the University of Melbourne and is Honorary Senior Fellow of its School of Geography.  Her interests are in the geographies of mental health, cultures of sense and movement, therapeutic spaces, rurality, and contemporary museum geographies. 




How to Cite

Boyd, C. (2017). Research Poetry and the Non-Representational. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 16(2), 210–223.



Creative | Alternative