The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs


Having sorted our threads it is time to weave; or, towards a theory of praxis

This edition completes six years of TEXT: six years of debate where, perhaps at first brazenly but now more cautiously, scholars and teachers working in the emerging field of writing in the teriary sector have honed the field's discourse.

Our concerns have been various but certain topics, possibly those of the more pressing kind, have appeared again and again. There has been, over the years, considerable debate about the idea of research in the creative arts and in writing in particular, about the nature of the exegesis and the emergence of research training in the field. Debates as to the relationship between practice and theory - and which kind of theory - have occured with a tentative nodding of the head to praxis, as yet, and comfortably, undefined. There have been discussions on assessment and the particular issues of assessing a piece of creative writing. Similarly issues relating to pedagogy have been aired. The issue of the dual career of writer and teacher of writing have recieved attention along with papers on how new writers develop and form their career paths and how the more experienced survive. The teaching of writing in new technology environments, and other specific contexts, have been focussed on.

This current issue is no exception. Its topics include: the relationship of literary studies to creative writing; investigation of alternative assessment online and in audio form; and analysis of mentorship from various perspectives.

Much of the discourse in TEXT developed from necessity. The foundation of the journal itself derived from a necessity for academics in the field to publish (for promotion and job security) in peer reviewed journals. A necessity to develop and maintain the creative PhD and other higher degrees generated an extensive and contining discourse on the exegesis. Necessities to carry out assessment across universities, for benchmarking, for excellence in teaching, for developing the relationship between TAFEs and universities have all propelled their own discussions. In the last six years, we have come a long way from simply generating an initial list of questions germaine to the field. While the questions themselves may not yet be answered, at least they are well rehearsed with their strands of nuances combed out.

We are reminded of the weaver who sits with the delicate threads, all shades of colour neatly organsied and waiting. In front is the loom, bare and ready. The weaver, imagining the cloth, picks up the first thread and begins.

But what do we weave?

We have learnt from our communication with other parts of the world and from AAWP particpation in conferences in the US, in discussions with leading educators in New Zealand, England, Canada, India and other countries that Australia, through TEXT, is the eminent international pioneer in the search for a contemporary theory of creative writing and for a complex understanding of praxis. We at TEXT want now to develop that pioneering work much further, and ply that shuttle.

Recognizing that TEXT has so far simply opened the door on a variety of debates, we look forward to contributors who will walk right in, study the strands of discourse surrounding praxis that have begun to develop in the journal, and contribute to furthering the depth and complexity of analysis. The strength of the fabric woven here will reflect, and protect, the status of the discipline in the tertiary sector in the future.

Tess Brady
Nigel Krauth


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Vol 6 No 2 October 2002
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Tess Brady