Living Bibliography

Day 1: An Introductory Letter

Hello, and welcome to my research diary or “living bibliography”!

I am an academic, working on musicals and popular culture in America and Britain. My writing focuses mainly on how “identity” is represented and formed in musicals (on and off stage and screen). I am in the middle of three “substantial” projects and am often procrastinating on several other side hustles.

I have noticed that, as researchers, we hide away our thought processes and methods and resources from one another. This is partly because many academics are thieves and sharks who are unafraid to co-opt or profit from the works of others. As a person of mixed ethnic heritage, a queer, and a neurodivergent, I suppose my “positionality” – the way I sit in and see the world around me – makes me noticeably vulnerable here. My positionality is unusual and therefore, valuable for show. That said, I believe that the best research is not only open, but available for multiple interpretations.

I created this space to help track the layers of my research process and to acknowledge the multiplicity (complex and numerous layers) of how my thinking is formed. Some of this work will be personal and private or had in company that is not for public consumption. However, I really believe that a “living bibliography” or “map of thinking” is essential to the future of research if it is to prioritise everybody and not simply those who can access elite collections at the end of far flung travel.

For the time being, I will refer to the work I am developing as “the project”. It is, in fact, many things. However, the label is useful when writing reflectively. When I get further in, I am sure the language will become messier and I am excited to learn from that mess when it arrives.

So, the project begins with me, angry about the state of scholarship and knowledge sharing around me, and naïve about the work that my heroes put in to be who the writers and thinkers that they are. I was approached by a person I respect to produce a publication, and enthusiastically designed what I thought would be a modest project. It is neither modest, nor will the things I imagined be possible in such a small word count. However, it began my process of thinking about how we generate writing and what it is for. I want to produce a text that is “useful for teaching” but I also want to put something out that allows a conversation away from the closed classrooms of university seminars. This research diary is also the beginning of that process as I try and join up the different strands of my interests and ambitions as a writer, researcher, and person that thinks thoughts.

I hope you will enjoy it and find useful nuggets hidden in my confusion about how we share knowledge more fairly, allow new belonging, and continue to cherish the art and entertainment we love.

Love and solidarity,