Narrative and Policy

Zoe Bulaitis 2MCRo

This panel explores contemporary thought and practice around the intersection of narrative and policy. The objective is to present current work taking place at this intersection in order to prompt collective discussion about the challenges and opportunities for English scholars and scholarship to interact with policy and policy-makers. The format will be three fifteen minute papers from scholars who are actively engaged in this intersection both theoretically and practically, followed by thirty minutes of open discussion with the audience.

Dr Bulaitis will discuss how and what literary methodologies can tell us about the value of the humanities within contemporary higher education policy. Her paper will perform a literary engagement with government debate and white papers surrounding the raising of tuition fees in 2009-10 (specifically the Browne Review, Students at the Heart of the System) from a humanities perspective. Placing higher education policy within a longer historical discourse of cultural public value, Zoe’s paper will question how unexpected the marketisation of the humanities within universities actually is, and reflect on what might be gained from a humanities-oriented engagement with political language and white papers.

Dr Liveley will present her current work with Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) 'translating' narratological principles and theories to help them develop stronger narrative competencies in order to enhance their skill-set as cyber-risk managers. Dr Dillon’s paper will move from a focus on what narrative analysis can reveal about and bring to policy documents and communications, to make the case for the role that narrative evidence can play in public discourse and decision-making. Drawing off her forthcoming book, co-authored with Claire Craig, Storylistening: Narrative Evidence and Public Reasoning (London: Routledge, autumn 2020), Dr Dillon will outline the case for the value of attention to stories, and the importance of understanding their functions and effects, in the context of high-level policy-making.

Dr Zoe Bulaitis (Research Associate, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester)

Dr Sarah Dillon (University Lecturer in Literature and Film, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge)

Sat 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm