Life History and Life Writing Research: Critical and Creative Approaches

The 9th annual Brighton-Sussex postgraduate conference is co-organised by the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research (CLHLWR, University of Sussex) and the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories (CRMNH, University of Brighton).


Hosted at the University of Sussex, 16th June, 2017. 10.00-4.00.


Keynote Speakers:


Clare Best and Professor Lyn Thomas. Life-writing, photography and the resilient body: Clare Best’s Self-portrait without Breasts and Annie Ernaux’s L’Usage de la Photo. 

Clare Best is the author of Treasure Ground (Happenstance 2009), Excisions, Waterloo Press, 2011), Breastless (Pighog, 2011), Cell (Frogmore Press, 2015), Springlines (Little Toller, 2017).

Professor Lyn Thomas, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex and author of Clothes Pegs: A Woman’s Life in 30 Outfits


Dr Deborah Madden. Victorian Cultures of Life Writing: Perspectives on Gender, Temporality and Empire.

Deborah Madden is a Lecturer in Social History, University of Brighton. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has published on Richard Brothers and John Wesley alongside collaborative research that examines social and intellectual histories across a number of projects.


Call for Papers:

Life history and life writing have opened the door to creativity in universities across disciplines – politically, poetically, philosophically, playfully.

Questioning impersonal and dislocated theory by radical scholars of gender, sexuality, race and class has created a space for academics in the Humanities to bring their own histories into their work, or even become life writers. Simultaneously creative life writers are increasingly speaking to academic concerns with representation and the self. This conference aims to reflect and respond to this convergence. We particularly welcome papers addressing the following areas:

  • creative and critical approaches to research on life histories and life writing
  • writing the lives of others creatively
  • the practice of ‘speaking personally, academically’
  • life writing as project; innovations in approaches to life writing
  • the impact of academic research and approaches on life writing and life writers
  • practice-based or multimedia approaches to lives
  • workshops or teaching exercises that use creative life history/writing

Postgraduate and early career researchers are warmly invited to present at this conference. This is a free event, refreshments and organic vegetarian lunch is provided by CRMNH and CLHLWR.


Please send a 300-word abstract, a brief biography (including your name, degree, year and research interests), five keywords, and your contact details by 24th April 2017 to: Dr Sam Carroll at