'The Mermaid's Curse': Case Study of a Multimodal Work-in-Progress

Richardson, Heather (2022). 'The Mermaid's Curse': Case Study of a Multimodal Work-in-Progress. Writing in Practice, 7 pp. 18–29.

URL: https://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/current-wip-edition-2/ar...


“The Mermaid’s Curse” is a creative and critical experiment which draws on both the “combinational” approach to creativity described by Boden (2010: 32) and the idea of the author as “bricoleur-as-bowerbird” (Webb & Brien 2010: 199). Beginning in early May 2020, the author of “The Mermaid’s Curse” used Instagram as the primary “synaptic technology” (Harper 2015: 7) to share their work-in-progress, which combines short prose pieces (fiction and creative nonfiction) with images of their textile and digital art. The inclusion of visual art – a recently rediscovered part of the author’s creative practice - speaks to Barnard’s proposition that “multimodal practice” is a means to reclaim creativity that has been forgotten or suppressed (2019: 72). Multimodal writing is an opportunity to reach back and draw in previous practice which is then applied in new contexts, and a means of embracing the affordances and facing the challenges presented by digital platforms. This article is a multimodal account of a multimodal project. It combines analysis, reflection, creative writing and visual art as a means of examining multimodal practice in action. It is hoped that a close focus on a project that energised one practitioner’s approach may be helpful for other practitioners, serving as an encouragement to experiment with “code-switching” between different form or genres of creative expression within one overarching creative project.

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