Anna Johnson

Research project: Motherhood: A Ghost Story in Bits

Abstract

In February 2016 I began to write about my experience of early motherhood; an experience of such unexpected, powerful, immersive strangeness that I needed to find some way of placing it at a little distance, of beginning to analyse it or maybe just trace it, through writing. This writing has grown into a full-blown life-writing practice, centred on a recurring connection between my experience of motherhood and ideas of haunting, of presence and absence and repetition (daily and generational). This practice makes up the creative-writing side of my PhD.

The critical element of this PhD looks at how, through theories of the spectral, intersectionality, queerness, feminism, failure and anecdote, amongst others, we might aspire to transform and re-possess language in an attempt to express the ineffable. There is failure inherent in this project, but I hope a valuable, generative kind of failure.

Biography

My published work includes a creative life-writing contribution to maternal studies book Everyday World–Making: Towards an Understanding of Affect and Mothering, Demeter Press, 2018.

In 2019 I presented a paper on the role of ‘place' in my life-writing practice, at the Genos/Matter/Theory Conference, Kingston University.

I also presented a paper in 2018 at the Women in Transition Conference, Kings and Oxford Universities, dealing with motherhood, writing and neurodiversity.

I have two forthcoming essays awaiting publication in 2019 in volumes on maternal and women's studies.

Areas of research interest

  • Life-writing
  • Motherhood
  • Haunting
  • Intersectionality
  • Chronic illness
  • Queer studies
  • Feminism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Literature
  • Nature writing

Qualifications

  • MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins
  • BA Hons History and Theory of Art, University of Kent

Publications

Creative life-writing contribution, Objects of a Maternal Haunting, chapter in maternal studies book Everyday World–Making: Towards an Understanding of Affect and Mothering, Demeter Press, 2018.

Article for Mamsie (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities Identities and Ethics) blog, June 2016: http://mamsie.org/2016/06/29/a-maternal-haunting/

Conference papers

Place in a Temporal Haunting of Motherhood, Genos/Matter/Theory Conference, Kingston University, June 2019

Cascading Transitions, Women in Transition Conference, Kings and Oxford Universities, October 2018