How the Narrative Network got started …

Signe and Ash both started working at the University of Melbourne in 2015 and, in the process of learning about their colleagues’ research, they discovered that many scholars were interested in narrative but that a forum for sharing these interests did not yet exist. In 2016 they organised an event to bring researchers together to talk about how they do narrative research in different disciplines. That was the beginning and, today, the Narrative Network comprises 70+ members from across the Faculty of Arts and beyond. After a series of smaller events, in 2018 the Network was officially launched by author and academic Tony Birch at a fancy reception at the Arts West Research Lounge. Since then, the Narrative Network has hosted two events per year, including members’ work-in-progress presentations and guest talks from scholars and artists.

The Narrative Network welcomes new members and is happy to facilitate contract research.

Meet the conveners

Signe Ravn is an Associate Professor in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Signe’s research explores processes of marginalisation and positions of marginality, with a focus on youth, gender, disadvantage and risk. Her current theoretical interests centre around temporality, futurity and subjectivity, alongside her ongoing interests in qualitative methodology, narrative, creative methods and research ethics. From 2017–2020 she was an ARC DECRA fellow, researching the everyday lives and imagined futures of young girls who have left the mainstream school system before finishing Year 12 in Victoria, Australia. This qualitative, longitudinal research project explored micro-processes of marginalisation, temporality and subjectivity with a particular focus on relations to place and belonging. Signe has published her research in a number of journals such as Sociology, Current Sociology, and British Journal of Sociology of Education, and has recently published the co-authored book Youth, Risk, Routine: A New Perspective on Risk-taking in Young Lives (with Tea Bengtsson; Routledge, 2019) and three co-edited books.

Ashley Barnwell is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Melbourne. She is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, and narrative, and the role of life writing, archives, and literature in sociological research. From 2019–2022, she was an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow working on the project ‘Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia’. This project aims to investigate the inherited family secrets, stories, and memories that inform Australians’ understandings of colonial history. Ashley is author of Critical Affect: The Politics of Method (Edinburgh UP 2020), co-author of Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (with Joseph Cummins, Routledge 2018) and co-editor of Research Methodologies for Auto/Biography Studies (with Kate Douglas, Routledge 2019). She was the Seymour Scholar for Biography and a Research Fellow at the National Library of Australia. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at The Morgan Centre, Manchester, the National Centre for Biography ANU; Srishti Institute of Art and Design, Bangalore, and Narrare Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies, Tampere.