Kip Jones

KIP JONES, an American by birth, has been studying and working in the UK for more than 15 years.
Under the umbrella term of 'arts-based research', his main efforts have involved developing tools
from the arts and humanities for use by social scientists in research and its impact on a wider
public or a Perfomative Social Science.

Jones is Reader in Performative Social Science and Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research
at Bournemouth University. Kip has produced films and written many articles for academic
journals and authored chapters for books on topics such as masculinity, ageing and rurality,
and older LGBT citizens. His ground-breaking use of qualitative methods, including
biography and auto-ethnography, and the use of tools from the arts in social science research and
dissemination are well-known.

Jones acted as Author and Executive Producer of
the award-winning short film,
RUFUS STONE, funded by Research Councils UK.
The film is now available for
free viewing on the Internet and has been
viewed by more than 11,000 people in 150
countries over the past year alone.

Areas of expertise
• Close relationships, culture and ethnicity
• Social psychology, sociology
• Ageing, self and identity
• Interpersonal processes, personality,
individual differences,
social networks, prejudice and stereotyping
• Sexuality and sexual orientation
• Creativity and the use of the
arts in Social Science

Media experience
His work has been reported widely
in the media, including:
BBC Radio 4,BBC TV news,Times
Higher Education, Sunday New
York Times, International
and The Independent.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Words I Hate by Curmudgeonly Kip

Over-used scholarly words that I hate:

Gushy words used to describe serious work that I hate:

Made-up touchy-feely words that I hate:
Indepthness (Just saw this one in a title!)
[I once gave some Phenomenology Zealots a list of 2874 pre-existing perfectly fine words ending in –ness. They couldn’t be bothered.]

Some examples of usage of the words that I hate (totally made up):
“This report contains thick description”. 
Means: “There was so much data that I didn’t’ know what to do with it”.

“The project took a rigourous and robust approach”.
Means: “We couldn’t think of anything specific to describe our method”.

“However, the moon is made of cheese”.
Question: However, what? Where are we? What preceded this grand theory? Can you really bounce a meatball?

“Her statement was evocative of other states of mind as well”.
Means: “The interviewee really confused me, but I probably wasn’t listening”.
Words that I like:
Nonetheless (as a salve for ‘However’)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Monday, 13 March 2017

“Oxford Comma, 4 a.m.”


“Oxford Comma, 4 a.m.”

When I write, I.

When I write dreams, I write poetry.

When I write us, I write script.

When I write before, I write biography.

When I write sensation, I write philosophy.

When I write place, I write history.

When I write love, I write chances.

When I write truth, I write fiction.

When I write poetry, I write religion.

When I write, I.

When I write, I.

When I write.

Friday, 3 March 2017

"The sweat on their bodies” Redux

I was introduced to live musical theatre at the Valley Forge Music Fair. It was summer stock for New York actors, singers and dancers performed in a tent on the East coast of Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia.

I lived my simple, country boy life about 30 miles to the west. It was at Valley Forge that I saw shows like Pajama Game and Damn Yankees and, for the first time, fell in love with live musical theatre.

Theatre in the round and being so close to the sweat on the dancers’ bodies made me believe that there was a possibility of connecting somehow. As a teenager, these theatrical encounters were a part of my growing-up world of serious sexual awakening. I had put aside my childish desire to be Robin to Batman or follow Flash Gordon around in his lamé hot pants. These new experiences were comprised of all the senses; but mostly, it was the smell of the greasepaint mixed with the dancers’ sweat. I was breathless from the experience.

Every summer I would look forward to these performances under that tent, the actors in such intimate proximity, darting up and down the aisles, making their exits and entrances. The tension of wanting to reach out and touch them was palatable.

I would hang around the parking lot after the shows, hoping that one of the cast would come along and say hello. I lie. Come along and take me away with them. I wanted to join this musical circus; I wanted to fall in love and get laid. I still get these three things mixed up.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Three tales of sexual intrigue from Kip Jones

Just published for early viewing 


"True confessions: why I left a traditional liberal arts college for the sins of the Big City", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 17,1.

 A story, a reminiscence, and a filmscript

By means of several auto-ethnographic stories (including a scene from a working script for a proposed film), the author interrogates numerous ideas and misconceptions about gay youth, both past and present. A “bargain of silence” sometimes following gay sexual encounters in youth is described. The author recounts a sexual experience with a male college student in his past. This dissonance catapulted the author to move from his small liberal arts college to the city and begin his education again at an Art College.

Jones then describes his personal attraction to a sixteen-year-old boy who lived near his lodgings during one summer’s break from Art College.  This time, the relationship remained purely platonic, but that didn’t seem to matter where the boy’s parents were concerned.  The author’s social position and pretense coupled with his romantic outlook convinced him that anything was possible, even this platonic love. The painful lesson learned that summer was that this was not the case, and never would be. The boy’s parents threatened Jones, and he never saw the youth again.

The Author continues by discussing his award winning research-based film, RUFUS STONE, and the reactions and conversations following screenings, particularly with youth. This present generation seems to Jones to be a sexually ambivalent one, more comfortable with multiple choices or no choice at all.  Nonetheless, these young people do identify with the complexity of feelings and insecurities presented by youth within the film.

In a recent report on sexuality of American high school students by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), researchers found an ambivalence and ‘dissonance’ amongst youth regarding sexuality and choice. Jones acknowledges that there remains a contemporary problem of genuine acceptance by society, and that there still is work to be done. He also admits that present-day attitudes by youth regarding sexuality are one that he had previously assumed to be historical ones.

Next, a scene from a working script for a proposed film, Copacetica, set in the “swinging sixties”, is presented. The scene outlines a sexual encounter between the lead character, who remains confounded by his sexuality, and his girl friend. In the scene they have sex, after which they discuss sex itself and their relationship.

Being straight or being gay can be viewed within the wider culture’s need to set up a sexual binary and force sexual “choice” decision-making for the benefit of the majority culture. Through the device of the fleeting moment, this essay hopes to interrogate the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity by portraying sexuality in youth.

An earlier draft version of the article is also available on

Monday, 9 January 2017

Creative Writing Workshop for Academics with Kip Jones

Thursday 20 & Friday 21 April 2017 
Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth, UK

Workshop objectives:

  •  Have more of your work read by wider audiences; in other words, impact.

  •  By providing an intense two-day experience the playing field is levelled and opportunities for facilitated learning developed.

  •  By engaging in creative writing, it becomes possible for all to write more clearly, more simply, even more creatively, when writing not only for academic publications, but also for outlets previously unimagined.

The workshop will take place at the BU Executive Business Centre, 7th Floor. Thursday, 20 April and Friday, 21 April 2017Workshop Price: £175.  For two days of activities. The price includes lunch and refreshments and all class materials. Accommodation and travel costs are not included.

Register online:

This unique event isn’t a typical 'writing retreat' (with trees to hug and lots of time to ruminate), but a very active experience with exercises, suggestions and supportive feedback on participants’ work from Kip Jones and other participants.

Students and academics will be encouraged to include more creative writing in their outputs, particularly those whose writing includes reporting on narrative and other qualitative methods of research.

The workshop will also help with publishing in the wider world of blogs and online outlets, moving work to media and film, auto-ethnography and even fiction.

Methods: The workshop presents opportunities to work with academic material and expand its means of production and dissemination to new and creative levels through interfaces with techniques from the arts and humanities, including:
  •  Blog and magazine writing

  •  Film treatments and scripts

  •  Poetry and fictional exercises.

      Response from the Previous Workshop:

    ·      “I enjoyed the freedom that came from writing creatively, without prescriptions. Having no other goal than the story/ poem itself was intimidating initially, but then turned into an amazing experience”.
    ·      “It reminded me of how much I like to write creatively”
    ·      “It was wonderful to meet academics interested in creative writing”
    ·      “The psychological and physical space to write”
    ·      “I really liked the focus and mix of activities/exercises and writing time”
    ·      “The pace was gentle & focused, allowing & facilitating different approaches”

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ten Hyperlink Gifts I Love for You for Christmas

1. The Enduring Allure of Isabelle Huppert

"The French actress consistently chooses roles that  are morally complex and sometimes hard to watch. And yet we can’t bring ourselves to look away".
Watch her work the camera, even here in this short video. 

2. "A Summer Holiday, Three Books and a Story"

Nearly 13K of you have read this story on KIPWORLD. 

What was so surprising about this short story is that I wrote it on a holiday. I start off talking abou the holiday itself, then move to reporting on three holiday reads. The last book report leads to the story of Jason and the West Side loft. Because this story seems so popular now, I am thinking of including it in the script for the feature film,"'Copacetica" (See Gift 4).…/summer-holiday-three-boo…

3.  Jeff Buckley performs Grace on The Late Show

Jeff Buckley performs the powerful title track to his album Grace on The Late Show in 1995. The singer-songwriter who died in tragic circumstances two years later.
His singing and playing was 'other-worldly, one-of-a-kind' back then and strangely, even more so today.




4. Swimming Pool Mélologue

 The brief (from BU Media's Erik Knudsen who was with us much to briefly) was thus: "Each participant gives a maximum 5 minute ONE SLIDE presentation about their research aspirations for the coming years". I chose Scene 1. from "Copacetica", a feature-length film that I am writing. A 'mélologue' is a spoken declamation with musical accompaniment or a soundscape, developed by the composer, Berlioz. I liked this idea. I have also been thinking a lot about Michael Haneke's use of lingering shots and stillness past the action or dialogue of a scene, so wanted to play a bit with that here. Rewriting the script directions, etc. for a narration definitely helped in refining the script itself. Hopefully, with funding, the project and film will develop with research on Generation Z and concepts of sexual identity, ambiguity and dissonance.

5.  Anna Netrebko plays the title role in a glorious production live from New York's Met Opera

Live from the Met in New York, Puccini's first operatic triumph, Manon Lescaut, with Anna Netrebko in the title role as the irresistible courtesan and ultimately doomed heroine, and Marcelo Alvarez as her obsessive lover Des Grieux. And she really does sing the line, "Sola, perduta, abbandonata", which I frequently repeat to strangers when in Italy, as its one of the few things I can say in Italian.

6.  Styles of Good Sense” Ethics, Filmmaking and Scholarship

I finally attacked the subject of ethics in film-making for a chapter in The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History, recently published. Although quite a heavy topic (at least for me), it didn't stop me from including my usual amusing asides and tangential connections, as illustrated here. The Chapter even ends with a quote from Norma Desmond, thus the photo pictured here:
(to newsreel camera)
You see, this is my life! It
always will be! Nothing else!
Just us, the cameras, and those
wonderful people out there in
the dark!
(Wilder et al., 1950)

7. Why do I love this? Google Home talking to Amazon Echo 

Google and Amazon have the two best voice-enabled virtual home assistants in Google Home and Amazon Echo. Each of them should be a great addition to your smart home project. You don’t need to buy both gadgets because they’re both able to pull off basically the same stunts. But if you do get both of them, you can make them talk to each other. That’s what one user did, and of course, there was a camera present.

8.  Centre for Imaginative Ethnography features BU Creative Writing for Academics Workshop 

I loved presenting this earlier this year and the good news is that a second one will be happening at Bournemouth University in the Spring (stay tuned here, on FB or Twitter for further info and updates).  The experiment for me was not to be too instructive, but allow people the space and time to quickly feel confident to experiment with their writing through various exercises. I was fond of saying that it wasn't a lot of ruminating or 'tree hugging', but rather immediately getting started by taking some risks. On the other hand, there was time to assimilate what was happening. We were fortunate in having people from as far away as upstate New York and Ireland at the first workshop. Really look forward to what happens the next time! Stayed tuned for details of a repeat workshop next Spring!

9. A fjord is a fjord is a fjord. Wrong!

I booked a quick holiday away at the end of last summer, mostly to see Iceland which had captivated me in Sigar Ros' online adventure in a camper van around Route 1 for 24 hours. The booking included several stops in Norway first, to see 'Fjords'. I always though, "Seen a fjord, seen them all".
Coming into Geiranger one early morning, I looked at the ship's bow camera on my cabin TV to see a very potentially echanting place. I quickly went to a bow deck that was opened to passengers specifically for the anchoring in the harbor, but hardly anyone was on the deck with me. Just an incredible stillness and a quality of air that I haven't breathed in years. Then, of course, there was the view.

"Heaven on earth", I thought. Heaven on earth.

  10. Finally, a season-specific gift, especially for hipsters

If you’ve ever wondered what the very first family Christmas photo looked like, wonder no longer. Fresh off a Whole Foods shopping spree, Joseph is rocking his man bun and finest denim shirt, while Mary shows off her high cheek bones with her best duck face.

 It’s crazy to think that the Wisemen followed a star in the sky to find Jesus, rather than using Google Maps, but who are we to judge?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

What creative people do. (For Patricia)

Richard as figure in painting "Cafe America" displayed in Paris
I came back from my solo painting exhibition in Paris early. Something had seemed wrong, out of sorts. Just before I left for Paris, I had seen Richard silently crossing the street in front of the taxi that I was in. He seemed so lost, so thin. He had ended our relationship about a year before, but we were still close, often saw each other from time to time.

Then I got the phone call: Richard was in Pennsylvania hospital and probably had what we had all been whispering about, dreading, HIV as it was known initially.

I hate hospitals. I hate the smell of them. I always say that it’s the shiny floors that get to me. But I went quickly to the hospital and found the floor that he was on.

 It was a private room with an anteroom where you washed with disinfectant. There were robes that you could put on too, but I didn’t bother. I had heard that some of the nurses refused to enter his room, but I went in anyway.

Richard was asleep on the bed. So thin, so vulnerable, but peaceful. I stood and
stared at him for quite a while.

But what do creative people do when faced with unfathomable pain, unbelievable sorrow?

I picked up the pencil and hospital menu from the bedside tray and drew his picture on it.

I visited him every other day. Richard, just 25 years, died from Aids, four months later. Most of what I have done in my life since has been to make a mockery of his death.

I still have that sketch on a menu somewhere.

Even now, 30 years on, I dream of him often.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Chapter on Ethics in Film by Kip Jones published by Routledge

Written by leading international scholars from the main contributing perspectives and disciplines, The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History seeks to capture the range and scope as well as the considerable complexity of the field of narrative study and life history work by situating these fields of study within the historical and contemporary context.

Relishing the chance to cite not only C.E. Scott from The Question of Ethics Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, but also Norma Desmond from Sunset Strip, Jones said,” The Handbook was a welcomed chance, once and for all, to sort the subtleties of ethical considerations in arts-based research approaches such as film”.  Jones is joined in the Handbook‘s discussion on Ethics  by such luminaries as Arthur Frank, Laurel Richardson, Caroline Ellis, and Norman Denzin.



Jones’ Chapter is available on and the Handbook is sold on Amazon.