Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry

The Centre is a joint initiative between the Department of Adult and Community Education and the Education Department, Maynooth University
Narrative Inquiry Stories have become the focus for interest in many sectors of the academic world and particularly in the area of research (Speedy 2008). They are valued not just for themselves but, among other things, as a rich social repository constituting windows on how individuals and groups experience themselves, attribute meaning to events and make sense of their world. As such they are a valuable research tool. By emphasising certain facts and by ignoring others, stories both reveal and conceal a wealth of information which relates to how individuals, organisations and societies construct their identity, as well as how they perceive and deal with threat, power, conflict and marginalisation. The central preoccupations of the emerging discipline are informed by phenomenology’s emphasis on seeking to understand lived experience.
Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry The Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth explores the role of narrative inquiry in creating a transformative space of learning. It is an interdisciplinary research group drawn from the Departments of Education and Adult and Community Education.
Narrative Inquiry is concerned with researching lives and the stories people tell about them. Narrative methods have claimed an increasing place in academic research and are alive and well (if sometimes marginalised and contested) in various academic disciplines such as literature, history, sociology, anthropology, social policy and education as well as feminist and minority studies.


""What has stand-up ever done for autoethnography?""

Workshop by Dr Jonathan Wyatt

On the 28th April Department staff and PhD students enjoyed a lively and creative workshop by narrative inquirer, Dr Jonathan Wyatt, senior lecturer, Edinburgh University. The title What has stand-up ever done for autoethnography? provoked a hugely engaging discussion followed by writing exercises and claims that explored the place of affect in autoethnography; our expectations of truth, ethics; repetition; the task in each to move, teach, critique, politicise. Drawing on insights from Deleuze and Guattari, new materialism and affect theory Jonathan’s work “attend[s] to the here-and-now, flesh-to-flesh presence of bodies in rooms, the ebbs and flows of energy, how tension builds and is released, and how affect – humour, sadness, anger, more – happens. How it erupts” (Wyatt, 2017). The workshop’s attention to affect, and materiality -sweat, heat, stage, lights, noise – in stand-up, sensitised all present to how these elements can both challenge and extend autoethnography as a relational methodology.

Jonathan Wyatt is Director of the new Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry.

Centre Conferences

  • 20163rd International Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference Maynooth University, IT Sligo and NUIG, 10/11th March  http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=450
  • 2014, 2nd International Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference, Field in the Making, Maynooth University, IT Sligo and NUIG, 19/20th March, * 2nd International Conference on Narrative Inquiry, Maynooth University, 2015
  • 2013, 1st International Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference, Researching and Writing Irish Storyscapes, Sligo IT, Maynooth University and NUIG, 10th April, * 1st International Conference on Narrative Inquiry, Institute of Technology, Sligo, 2014
  • 2010, Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry. Prof. Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary, Canada. ‘Spirit in a Place of Strangers’, 10th June.
  • 2010, Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry.    Prof. Bronwyn Davies, University of New South Wales, Australia. ‘Collective Biography’, 24/25th February.
  • 2009,   Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry. Dr. Jane Speedy, Bristol Univeristy. ‘Narrative Inquiry and Transformation’, 9th October.
  • 2009,   Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry. Dr. Linden West, ‘Narrative Research as transitional space for learning’, 20th February.
  • 2009,  Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry. Gillie Bolton ‘Writing as Reflective Practice for Adult Educators’, 9th September.
  • 2009,  Centre for Transformative Narrative Inquiry. Prof. Kim Etherington, Btistol University. ‘Reflexivity in Narrative Research’, 22nd May.

Centre Masterclasses

  • 2012, “Steps in Narrative Supervision” a masterclass presented by Dr Malcolm Reid, Bristol University, 30th
  • 2011, “Supervising Narrative Inquiry” a masterclass presented by Professor Kim Etherington, Bristol University. 2nd December.

 Other Narrative Conferences/Events

  • 2017, Workshop by Dr Jonathan Wyatt, University of Edinburgh "What has stand-up ever done for autoethnography ?" April 28th 
  • 2011, “Memory and Transformation: Transforming the Past”, Guest Speaker: Poet, Paula Meehan Counselling Studies Conference, 3rd December
  • 2008, Maynooth University Counselling Studies Conference ‘Seeing in the Dark: Owning Mental Health in Difficult Times.’ Dr. Tony Bates, 6th December
  • 2007, Counselling Studies Conference “Telling Tales”, Mary B. Ryan, 1st December
  • 2006, Counselling Studies Conference: “Inner Treasure and Outer Wealth – Investing Wisely for Life”, Speaker – Jarlath Benson, 2nd December
  • 2005, Counselling Studies Conference : ‘Something Understood - Creative Encounters with Everyday Mysteries’, Speaker – Prof. Brian Thorne and Paula Meehan 3rd December

Founding Directors:

Dr David McCormack, Dr Mary Ryan, Dr Tony Walsh   (Adult and Community Education Department)
Dr Grace O’ Grady   (Education Department)