Storytelling Personal Collections: A Tool to Dismantle the Concept of the ‘Other Audience’
Year of enrolment: 2021
Email: To Follow.
This qualitative research project explores the relationships between women of colour and books. It examines the links to individual identities and challenges the concept of the ‘other audience’. This is a direct response to the predominantly white British book publishing industry which has positioned those who are not white as either uninterested in books, or as belonging to an audience with interests too niche to publish for.
Whilst newspaper articles and recent research criticise the industry for stereotyping, limiting and othering those from racially diverse backgrounds, there is a gap in knowledge regarding the identification and exploration of the meanings books hold to people of colour. Through textual analysis and autoethnographic, self-reflective workshopping, this project will provide important insights into the experiences of women of colour in relation to books as both cultural and personal objects. It will also result in a workshopping toolkit for future research with individuals categorised into othered audiences.
The project is interdisciplinary in nature and will incorporate elements from communication, publishing, and material culture studies framed by a decolonial studies approach. The project draws on theories of voice, paratexts, material culture, and the concept of othering. Textual analysis will be used to provide context regarding the term ‘other audiences’. Workshops with women of colour, using storytelling, autoethnographic and critical reflective methods to enable voicing of their relationships with books will provide more nuanced understandings of racial identity and its relevance in the context of interaction with books. This study aims to explore how to approach voicing these relationships, and how evidence of such could be used to potentially dismantle the concept of the ‘other audience’.