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Professor Jane Speedy

Professor Jane Speedy

Professor Jane Speedy
B.A.(York), M.Sc.(Bristol), Ph.D.(Bristol), Dip.Counselling(Lond.)

Emeritus Professor

Office 2.20
Helen Wodehouse Building,
35 Berkeley Square, Clifton BS8 1JA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4401


Creative and critical research methodologies, particularly the blurring between the arts and social sciences. The formation of narrative identities and the representation of storied lives/lives at the margins.  Of particular interest are various forms of writing and textual production as inquiry, and the development of particular forms of ethical knowhow that accompany collaborative writing as inquiry. Arts-based and emergent research approaches that become transformative within the lives of both researchers and the researched are also of interest.  Previous projects have included inquiries into the lives of young men who have considered suicide; narratives of women whose lives have been touched by suicide; lives of young people in complex struggles with anorexia nervosa; lives of lesbians and lesbian parents; narratives of therapists entering the academy and of people using poetic writing; visual and digital images for both therapeutic and research purposes.


Jane Speedy has a longstanding personal commitment to feminist activism and professional experience and qualifications in teaching, counselling and narrative therapy.  She spent her early career in counselling/inclusive education and education management before moving into higher education.  More recently she has acquired an international reputation for developing innovative interdisciplinary qualitative research methodologies.  She is widely internationally published and lectures frequently in Australia, the United States and Europe. 

She teaches Narrative Inquiry and other research methods at the arts-social sciences interface particularly on the narrative inquiry EdD pathway.  She has a keen interest in the development of creative research training environments that reflect, extend and seem relevant to the lives of practitioner researchers and encourage and extend professional life writing as a legitimate contribution to the educational research canon.  Her own doctoral research, a narrative inquiry positioned within a feminist/poststructuralist discourse , explored the interrelationships between therapeutic and academic cultures.  Her latest book 'Narrative Inquiry and Psychotherapy' troubled the edges between therapy and research and between the arts and social sciences. 

Jane is interested in the development of methodologies that blur the genres between the arts and the social sciences such as fictionalised accounts, short stories, auto-ethnographies and poetic and visual narratives.  She has presented and published a range of work on the uses of magical realism as method in psychotherapeutic and educational research.

Her current focus is on collaborative writing and various forms of collaborative text production, including collective biography, writing as inquiry, and juxtapositions of various visual and written textual forms.  Her  current ESCalate project features a particular interest in web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and wikis as sites for radical collaborations and she is currently writing about the opportunities provided by 'twitter' as a site for developing auto-ethnographic and collaborative writing skills.  Of particular ongoing interest is the increase in published output and the particular forms of ethical know-how emerging amongst research students and early career researchers exposed to extensive collaborative writing processes and practices.

Jane is also co-ordinator of CeNTraL, the Centre for Narratives and Transformative Learning, a very lively research centre at the Graduate School of Education with a large interdisciplinary membership from across the university and elsewhere within the UK and beyond.  This centre runs regular seminar series, writing groups, reading groups and hosts visiting professorships and fellowships.  See the centre website for more details.  Jane also maintains and develops CeNTraL's collaborations with a number of other universities and organisations, including the International Qualitative Inquiry Congress.  For more about the 2009 Congress, see CeNTraL's website or read Jane's blog at QI 2011

Also linked with the Graduate School of Education is the newly active university research theme: Identities, which Jane co-leads.  This interdisciplinary theme explores and develops identity research across the university and has active members from five of the six university faculties.  For details of forthcoming events and projects, consult the identities theme blog.


Jane has a particular interest in critical, collaborative and narrative approaches to counselling and teacher education and research.  She has previously taught on postgraduate diploma and master's level programmes in counselling and narrative therapy as well as MEd/ MSc programmes in Counselling in Education and Educational Research.

She currently coordinates the Narrative pathway of the Doctor Of Education (EdD) programme.  This innovative doctorate is designed to suit practitioner researchers and links arts-based and social inquiry methods, including visual, literary, performative and ethnographic understandings of narrative inquiry.  The narrative inquiry community at Bristol has become an extremely dynamic interdisciplinary community and is pervaded by a strong collaborative and participative learning and teaching climate.

Units Currently taught at doctoral level:

  • Narrative Inquiry
  • Narrative Interviewing
  • Writing as inquiry
  • Auto-ethnography
  • collective biography
  • Visual Inquiry


  • narrative inquiry
  • narrative therapy
  • women's lives
  • lives at the margin
  • feminist and post-structuralist approaches
  • auto/biography
  • collaborative writing and writing as collaborative inquiry


  • Registered Practitioner of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); BACP accredited counselling trainer; Founder member of the International Association for Qualitative Inquiry and the United Kingdom Association for Psychotherapy Integration. *Editorial board member for Bristol Papers in Education *Member of the international editorial advisory boards of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal
  • the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work and the British Journal of Integrative psychotherapy. *Reviewer for Emotion
  • Space and Society
  • Creative approaches to Research and Qualitative Research
  • British Journal for Guidance and Counselling.


Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Longstanding research collaborations include the Bristol Collaborative Writing Group and the Bristol Women's Collective Biography group

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