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The Arts of Living in a More-than-human World

The Arts of Living in a More-than-human World is about affect, about stopping, listening, and feeling the vibrant matter of this world, and of our selves embedded in it. The title refers both to the arts, (specifically to painting, photography, fiction and poetry), and to daily life as an art form that might be lived differently—a difference that emerges in relation to more-than-human life—the life of the world that we collectively depend on and are symbiotically attached to. This astonishing and lively work brings new materialist concepts to play, as it explores the poetics of embodied living in everyday life. It brings arts-based methodologies together with current research in the natural and biological sciences, moving well beyond many old, familiar, well-established disciplinary boundaries. The poetics of living-as- and of writing-as-inquiry draws inspiration from “the fleeting, viscous, lively, embodied, material, more-than-human, precognitive, non-discursive dimensions of spatially and temporally complex lifeworlds” (Vannini, 2015: 318). It is informed by an ethics that dismantles the centuries-old assumption of human dominance and ascendance over the material world. It engages in an exploration of our human selves in motion, as emergent, and as embedded in the complex, interwoven materiality of the world--a world that is always in motion. This book pushes at the edges of our understanding, and of our capacity to communicate, offering a bridge between the thinking and the doing of new materialist inquiry. 




With a wild grace, Bronwyn and Jane move us through the entanglements of life with more-than-human beings.  Their work embodies the intra-action of art, philosophy, and a creative relational methodology for living response-ably with water and sky and stone and soil.  Theirs is a book we want to live in as our body is pulled into the ink, the paper, the ipad, the rock pool, the flower, and their fields of existence, creating a more-than-human empathy.  Merge with the pages of The Arts of Living in a More-than-Human World.  You’ll be glad you did. 


Tami Spry, author of Body, Paper, Stage: Writing and Performing Autoethnography.



The Arts of Living in a More-than-human World, Bronwyn and Jane write, is “about affect, about stopping, listening and feeling the vibrant matter of the becoming of this world.” We stop, listen and feel with them throughout, their writing and their images bringing us close, irresistibly drawing us in. They take us into and immerse us in their exchanges. We travel between them, from the west of England and Wales to eastern Australia and back, and back and forth, in their encounters with each other and with the more-than-human—the holly oak, the horse chestnut, the granite, the sandstone, the lichen. Davies and Speedy's text is theoretical and artful, playful and serious, intimate and political: a profound, delightful, elegant creative-relational inquiry.

Jonathan Wyatt, Professor of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Edinburgh



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Bronwyn Davies is an Adjunct Professor at Melbourne University, and Emeritus Professor at Western Sydney University.  Her PhD was from The University of New England 1980. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at University of Uppsala, 2008. She has published 20 books and more than 100 papers. 


Jane Speedy maintains an international reputation for developing innovative interdisciplinary qualitative research methodologies. Professor Emeritus in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. Her current focus is on collaborative writing and various forms of collaborative text production, including collective biography, writing as inquiry, and juxtapositions of various visual and written textual forms.

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