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How We Talk About The Work Is The Work: Performing Critical Writing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Issue number2
Early online date2 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2018


King's Authors


Performance begins to have its effect long before the encounter with it, beginning with the first thing we read or hear about it, which may even be more memorable than the work itself; and its work continues in the thoughts and conversations that take place afterward: dialogues and exchanges that may be responding to written accounts as much as to experiences of the work themselves. Critical writing is part of this cycle of making and imagining. It can shape the contexts in which work is made and received, playing not just a responsive role but actively shaping how and what it is possible to make, see, do, and say. And critical writing is also shaped by the circumstances in which it is written, as part of systems of production and distribution.This article gives examples of a number of initiatives by individual writers, artist collectives, and festivals that test forms of critical writing that are as experimental as the practices to which they relate. Drawing on the author's experience running workshops in critical writing practice, it takes inspiration from the expanded field of writing as theorized and practiced in performance writing, placing these ideas in relation to a writing practice that conceives itself as ‘criticism’. It is intended as a practical guide that might be used by writers or workshop leaders to cultivate their own critical writing projects, and to inspire imaginative thinking about writing and conversation as creative practices in their own right.

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