Special Issue on Creative Ethnography: Open Call for Contributions

Irish Journal of Anthropology

Open Call for Contributions


Special Issue: Creative Ethnography: Epistemologies, Pedagogies, Possibilities


This special issue of the Irish Journal of Anthropology seeks to explore creative ethnography, in all its forms and possibilities, from a range of methodological perspectives within anthropology and beyond.

Contributions from and collaborations with the humanities, sciences, arts, medicine, law, architecture, and engineering, for example, are all encouraged. The issue will be peer-reviewed and will be published in Autumn/Winter 2019.

This open call seeks a wide range of contributions addressing the topic of creative ethnography, in an equally wide range of writing styles and approaches.


Special Issue Themes

The special issue will be divided into three sections, which seek to address three key rationales for creative practice in ethnography: epistemologies, pedagogies, and possibilities. The three terms are intentionally plural in the special issue, in order to indicate their complex, plural, and speculative natures, as well as the broad range of possibilities offered by each.

1) Epistemologies

Epistemologically, the rise of interest in creative ethnography coincides with a rise of ‘new’ and experimental methods in anthropology, such as sensory ethnography and participatory action research. Put simply, new modes of investigation call for new modes of communication in the expression of research outcomes. This section of the special issue seeks to address the new and emerging rationales, ethical approaches, and understandings of how knowledge is made that underscore the rise of creative ethnography across multiple disciplines.

2) Pedagogies

Just as new methodologies and ethical sensibilities require new forms of communication, so those new forms of communication require new pedagogies. This section seeks to address and share emerging creative modes of teaching ethnography, and new pedagogies arising for the teaching of creative ethnography.

3) Possibilities

Many academics and practitioners that we encounter are already engaged in creative practices, but may feel constrained in their scholarship by academic norms. This section, broadly speaking, seeks to probe the creative possibilities and potentials offered by alternative modes of ethnographic practice, both methodologically and in forms of dissemination (writing and other forms of communicating ethnographic data).


Contributors are encouraged to interpret these themes broadly, and to consider submitting works that address one theme individually, or span multiple themes in creative and innovative ways. When submitting your contribution, please indicate which of these theme(s) your piece addresses.


Types of Contributions Sought

Contributions may include:

1) Creative ethnographic works (up to 4,000 words;* no minimum word count)

This category of submission is open to a very wide range of creative forms, including, but not limited to, poetry, fiction, drama, and creative or narrative essay. When submitting a work in this category, please also include a brief (100-500 words) prose reflection on your reasons for writing up your data in this way, the circumstances under which the contribution was written, and so forth. The word count for the prose reflection is in addition to the 4,000-word limit. The tone of the prose reflection can be either conversational or academic, but must be accessible and understandable by readers from a variety of disciplines.

2) Practical and pedagogical reflections (2,000-4,000 words*)

This category opens up the possibility for practitioners, learners, and teachers of creative ethnography to reflect on their pedagogy and/or practice, for the benefit of others who may be interested in teaching or writing in this way. As with the first category, the tone of these pieces may vary (and may, in fact, be creative in and of themselves); however, contributors should aim to make their writing accessible, so should explain any discipline-specific language or concepts, etc.

3) Images and visual contributions

In the spirit of creativity and innovation, this special issue also welcomes visual contributions, either as part of a written work or as creative ethnographic contributions in their own right. These can include photos (either standalone images or photo essays of up to 12 images), drawings or paintings, or other visual works. The copyright to these images must be held by the contributor.

As the Irish Journal of Anthropology is also published online in gold open-access form, video contributions for publication on the journal website are also welcome. As with creative written contributions, when submitting a work in this category, please include a brief (minimum 100 words) prose reflection on your reasons for presenting your data in this way, the circumstances under which the images were created, and so forth.

4) More ‘traditional’ academic works (3,000-7,000 words*)

Academic journal articles on the topic of creative ethnography and creativity in ethnography are also welcomed and encouraged. While these can certainly provide more space for technical language, please bear in mind that the special issue’s readership will be drawn from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds, and will include readers from outside academia as well. As such, please strive to make your writing accessible for a wide readership.


*The word limits provided here are based on the Irish Journal of Anthropology’s typical article lengths, and the limitations of space imposed by the print publication. Word limits do not include bibliographic references. These are, however, negotiable; if you would like to contribute a longer piece that you think is suitable, please contact the editorial team as soon as possible to discuss.


We welcome contributions from students, academics, practitioners, teachers, and interested individuals or groups outside of academia. Contributors may submit multiple contributions for consideration, across multiple styles, themes, etc. However, in the final editorial process the number of works published per contributor may be limited to allow as many as possible to participate in this process.

Contributions should be submitted to creativeethno@gmail.com by 28 February 2019. Questions are welcomed, and may be directed to the same email address. We look forward to hearing from you.


The Irish Journal of Anthropology is the official, peer-reviewed journal of the Anthropological Association of Ireland. The journal is gold open-access, published both in print and online at http://anthropologyireland.org/ija/.

This special issue is supported by the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics and the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast.


Creative Ethnography Call for Contributions PDF