The matter of mattering

by Debbie Kidd | 1 April 2014

In a Deleuzian frame … futures are always possible and present.

Taken from ‘A Matter of Action’ in ‘The Matter of Mattering’: Edgework in Education – Doctoral thesis

When Sally asked me if I would share an extract of my doctoral thesis, I was reminded of the many times when, sitting with those most terrifying of a writer’s companions, the blinking cursor and a blank mind, I would calm myself with the mantra of ‘It’s like an ISTA festival. It will come.’ We ISTA artists and teachers all know the hidden terror of facing your ensemble for the first time and thinking ‘What the hell am I going to do?’ and the same is true of the doctoral student. I think, like writing, creativity or the act of making meaning, is an iterative process – one which emerges from and in response to that which goes before. And like a creative process, it’s sometimes better not to plan too carefully where you want to end up. Just in case you miss a lovely alternative route.

It was this tendency to wander (and wonder) that drove the thesis forward and it was not a straightforward research project – in many ways the thesis argued that we should avoid traditional research; resist the temptation to fix meaning, to search for certainty. It made the case for ‘amorphodology’ rather than methodology, for attending to the unspoken as well as the spoken – what I called the ‘gutterances’ of children. It argued that life is just, well, quite complicated.

ISTA made its way into my thesis in this way.

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