Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

Monthly Archives: August 2017

Finding Your Voice & Writing the “Not Me”: Rigorous Wonder in Creative Qualitative Inquiry [ICQI Workshop May 2018]

Workshop with Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor <www.teachersactup.com>

830-1130am Morning Session

International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry [ICQI]



As a scholartist who works with ethnography, poetry, and theatre, I will guide our group’s review of the affordances, risks, and ethics of both writing in the “not me” and finding one’s own voice in creative, qualitative writing. Participants will become acquainted with a small tribe of poetic anthropologists who form part of the movement for “humanistic anthropology.” Inspired by the work of “antropoetas” such as Kusserow (“Hunting Down the Monk,” 2002; “Refuge,” 2013), Stone (“Stranger’s Notebook,” 2008), Rosaldo (“The Day of Shelly’s Death: The poetry and ethnography of grief,” 2013), and Faizullah (“Seam,” 2014), we consider the affordances of socially informed art and artfully informed social science. Sharing examples of “flash (ethnographic) fiction,” “persona poems” and “dramatic monologues,” we discuss how writing in forms may shape greater connections to the diversity of what it means to be human as well as connections to animal, vegetable, and mineral worlds. Participants will consider aesthetics to be illuminated through ethnographic tools and techniques of participant observation, taking fieldnotes, designing and recording interviews, and selective transcription, as well as strategies to ground “deep theory” in sensory images and resonant detail.


The practice of rigorous wonder in creative qualitative inquiry affords new opportunities for gaining access to others’ stories, in ways that subscribe to public, ethical, aesthetic, and scientific “goodness.” Participants will review contents in the forthcoming second edition of Arts-Based Research in Education (Cahnmann-Taylor & Siegesmund, 2008; In Press), stirring one another with resonant knowing as we discuss four principles when engaging in creative inquiry (Cahnmann-Taylor, In Press).


  • The Principle of Social Commitment and Public Good
  • The Principle of Attribution, Subjectivity and Ethical Good
  • The Principle of Impact and Aesthetic Good
  • The Principle of Translation to Scientific Good



Participants are encouraged to bring one page of writing to share with others in the workshop to apply our principles to best practice with humility, creativity, and care.

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