The Troubling Narratives: Identity Mattersconference was held on the 19th and 20th of June, 2014, at the University of Huddersfield. The conference had two keynote speakers (Professor Ann Phoenix, University of London, and Professor Ken Plummer, University of Essex), 70 panel papers and 120 delegates.

The conference built on the University of Huddersfield’s long held tradition of hosting a bi-annual conference on narrative research. It sought to provide a fresh context for the development and dissemination of new research, ideas, perspectives and methodologies in the field of narrative research and enquiry and aimed to bring together scholars working in a range of disciplinary fields. ‘Narrative’ is well known for its looseness of definition, its multiplicity of approaches and its interdisciplinarity, which over the years has led to a richness and diversity of narrative work. Identities, both private and public and individual and collective, have long been a focus for narrative researchers, where the content, form and effects of identity story-telling have been explored in a range of areas and contexts. The focus of ‘Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters’ was to address the ‘troubles’ that now surround contemporary narratives of identity, and the ways in which previous work may simultaneously inform but also trouble and be ‘troubled’ by new narrative work in the broad area of ‘identities’.

The conference was organised by Dr Tracey Yeadon-Lee, Dr Gráinne McMahon, Dr Abigail Locke, Dr Jo Woodiwiss and Dr Sharon Wray (Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences, University of Huddersfield) and Dr Yvonne Downs (Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group, University of Huddersfield).

Talks from the conference (where available) are here.

The panel speakers were (in alphabetical order):


Muna Abdi (University of Sheffield) Being and becoming Muslim, Somali and British: Exploring the identity-related experiences of young Somali men through self-representing narratives
Nafhesa Ali (University of Huddersfield) “I’m too delicate to do rough, hard work”: Older South Asian migrant women, gender, age and resilience.


Clive   Baldwin (St Thomas University, Fredericton) The trouble with transableism: Narrative identity under threat
Sarah Bekaert (Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Relational poems – highlighting the polyphony within narrative; exploring influence on decision making in young women’s pregnancy stories.
Belinda Bluff (University of Huddersfield) A Pluralistic Approach to Care Leavers’ Transition to Higher Education: A Longitudinal Study
Claire Brewis, Anna van Wersch, Amanda McNamee and Christopher J Wilson (Teesside University) Photo-elicitation as a tool to enhance gathering narratives from people with brain injury
Sam Broadhead (Leeds College of Art) ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes: Mature students and horizontal discourse in the art and design studio’
Permtip Buaphet (University of York) Readers’ Narratives and the Construction of Women in Contemporary Women’s Magazines in the UK and Thailand: A Comparative Study
Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Coventry University) Festivals: Spaces of Exception. Reframing and re-presenting young people in the U.K.


Emma Casey (Kingston University) Troubled Identities in Mass Observers’ Accounts of Everyday Risk Taking Practices
Helen Colley and Viv Burr (University of Huddersfield) The impact of elder care on female academics: troubling narratives of private ills
Thomas Colley (King’s College London) How Strategic, Whose Narrative? Investigating British Public Attitudes Towards the Use of Force
Camelia Crisan (National University for Political Studies and Public Administration) and Mark Dunford (University of Brighton and DigiTales) Why do people choose to tell specific stories? Understanding the narrative impulse in digital storytelling workshops with elderly people across Romania


Jo Day (University of Exeter) and Andrew Sparkes (Leeds Metropolitian University) ‘When you stop you’ve got no identity’: The (re)construction of narrative identity and the implications for understanding desistance from crime
Hannah Dean (University of Leeds) Oral history narratives of female entrepreneurs
Zachari Duncalf (University of Strathclyde) Adult care leavers: narrative, (auto)biography and identity across the life course


Fern Elsdon-Baker (Coventry University) Creating Creationists: the influence of ‘issues framing’ on our understanding of public perceptions of clash narratives between evolutionary science and belief



Storato Giulia (University of Padua) Evoking narratives through artefacts: notes from a research with children
Jonathan Glazzard (University of Huddersfield) Translating the Rhetoric of Inclusion into Reality: A Life History Account of One Teacher’s Determination to Make Inclusion Work
Julian Grant (Flinders University) I stay strong for my children’: refugee single mothers claiming motherhood as identity, troubled society and troubling feminisms


Janet Hargreaves and Berenice Golding (University of Huddersfield) Nursing with attitude: being a Médecins Sans Frontières volunteer.
Justin Haroun and Helen Pokorny (University of Westminster) Troubling narratives of students in a neoliberal world of Higher Education: Belonging in troubled times.
Sally Hines (University of Leeds) Beyond Liberation and Loss: Retelling Sexual Stories through a Politics of Difference
Kimberley Horton (Cardiff University) Adults with dyslexia: Can narrative methods help us to understand their identities?
Saba Hussain and Nazia Hussein (University of Warwick) Interrogating the Narratives of Gender, Religion and Nationalism in the Representation of Muslim Women in Bollywood: Contexts of Change Sites of Continuity
Nazia Hussein (University of Warwick) Narratives of Gender, Class and Respectability: The New Women of Bangladesh



Deborah Jump (University College, Oldham) Fighting for Change: Narrative accounts on the appeal and desistance-potential of boxing.


Melissa Kelly (University of the Free State, South Africa) Citizenship, Identity and Belonging: Narratives from Temporary Housing Settlements in South Africa
Jennifer Kettle (University of Sheffield) Women’s narrative identities in accounts of household work: Issues of memory
Anna Kurpaska (King’s College London) ‘Autobiography, narratives of aging and older women’s personal photographs on social media’


Julia Langley (University of Huddersfield) “Not that kind of girl”: Personal and public narratives of teenage pregnancy and relationship abuse.
Claire Largan (University College Birmingham) ‘Is success ever possible? The role of discourse within an exploration of women as non-traditional students
Emily LeRoux-Rutledge (London School of Economics) Media, narrative and women’s identities in South Sudan
Sue Lindsay (Leeds Metropolitian University) Heteronormativity – a gay girl’s false friend
Kelly Lockwood (University of Huddersfield) Listening to mum: narratives of mothers in prison
Dawn Lyon (University of Kent), Bethany Morgan Brett (University of East London) and Graham Crow (University of Edinburgh) Young People’s Imagined Futures: Narratives from the Isle of Sheppey, 1978 and 2010


Nicky Mason (University of Brighton) Women’s stories of planned Caesarean birth in their first pregnancy. (Oral presentation)
Nilam Ashra McGrath (University of Leeds) Are you in or out of the loop? The life of the communications manager
Grainne McMahon (University of Huddersfield) True story! The new world order and young offenders’ narratives of change.
Olga Michael (Independent Scholar) “The Butlerian Gender Trouble in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Case of Denaturalized Gender and Sexuality Performances in Contemporary Women’s Verbal/Visual Life Narratives.”
Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield) Narratives of bisexual people’s marginalisation, resistance, and activism
Charlotte Morris (University of Sussex) Narratives of shame and pride: Heterosexual single mothers’ negotiations of troubled identities, 20 minute oral presentation
Chrystie Myketiak and Paul Curzon (Queen Mary University of London) Medical Incident Reports, Narratives, and Institutional Discourse


Jelena Nolan Miljevic (University of Bristol) Master narratives and identity construction in search for missing parents


Pinar Oktem (Positive Living Association, Turkey) Challenges in the Reconstruction of HIV-positive Identities in Turkey: Narratives of Injustice and Neglect


Nigel Parton (University of Huddersfield) Social Work, Child Protection and the Media: Narratives of Blame and Failure
Shelley Piasecka and Karen Quigley (University of Chester) Narrative methodologies in theatre-based pedagogical practice.
Anna Piela (University of Leicester) ‘I just want to get in the library and learn stuff now which is really nerdy’: Access to HE students’ narratives of expectations and choices during transition to university
Emily Postan (University of Edinburgh ) Interpreting the body: bioinformation as a tool of narrative self-conception
Dina Poursanidou (University of Manchester) Negotiating unsettled and unsettling identities: How can we respond to this task creatively?
Mark Pulsford (University of Sheffield) Rupturing narratives: material-discursive entanglements and the becoming-other of male primary teachers



Susy Ridout (University of Birmingham) Narrating experience: the advantage of using mixed qualitative methods to bring autistic voices to the fore in discourse around their support requirements.
Deborah Rodriguez and Nollaig Frost (Middlesex University) The application of a qualitatively-driven multimethod approach to the reformulation of identity in mothers of children with and without disability.
Louise Ryan and Edina Kurdi (Middlesex University) ‘to untie a bit of yourself’: young Irish professional migrants narrating identities’


Joan Smith (University of Leicester) Student teacher mothers’ perceptions of their learning and experiences during initial teacher education: a pilot study
Mary Smith (University of Salford) The narratives of ‘Troubled Families’ – a troubling context
Kate Smith (University of Huddersfield) Making sense of stories: Narratives of women seeking asylum
Emma Spruce (London School of Economics) Challenging progress: LGBTQ stories of stasis and change
Ilona Suojanen and Edgar Rodríguez (University of Edinburgh) Gay Gays: Men’s Postmodern Narratives of Being Gay and Happy


Sylvia Theuri (University of Salford) ‘How did you get there?’ – Black African students and the art and design educational space
Donna Thomas-Nawaz (Director of Real Life Research LTD) Narrative and Identity in Citizen Engagement Processes
Rachel Thwaites (University of Birmingham) Troubling Feminist Selves? Negotiating the tensions between narratives of linear selfhood, gendered norms, and feminist action
Hilary Tierney (NUIM, Ireland) Times and Illuminating Journeys Crystallising Narratives and Conceptualising Metaphors in Narrative Inquiry
Karen Tobias-Green (Leeds College of Art) The trouble with voice




Jo Woodiwiss (University of Huddersfield) Contested stories, dominant narratives and narrative frameworks



Tracey Yeadon-Lee (University of Huddersfield) Exploring narratives of non-binary gender identities in the blogosphere






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