2023 ISAN

The 2023 International Symposium on Autoethnography and Narrative (ISAN) occurred via Zoom on January 3-5, 2023. The Symposium featured more than 130 prerecorded presentations of autoethnographic and narrative research. Several presentations are linked throughout the program (below). The Symposium also featured one keynote address, three workshops, and 16 spotlight sessions. More than 330 people registered for the symposium.

Below are recordings of several of the live sessions from the 2023 symposium. We were not able to record two workshops or the general sessions. The recordings are listed in the order they appeared in the program.

Keynote Address (Live Session)

On Precariousness and Acceptance

Carol Rambo, University of Memphis (USA) 


Carolyn Ellis, University of South Florida (USA)

The world is seemingly on fire. A sense of precariousness overlays my perceptions of my workplace, community, institutions, government, economy, and the wellbeing of the globe. Peter Berger spoke of precariousness and a phenomenon called “alternation,” a specific form of consciousness where there “is an overwhelming sense of the precariousness of social existence.” It emerges when an experience reveals “society to be something radically different from what had previously been taken for granted.” The taken for granted world has been breached. “When such a breach occurs the world is transformed, takes on new dimensions and colors. If the breach occurs suddenly, it marks the day after which life will never be the same again.”

Through autoethnography and other texts, this talk explores precariousness as a post-pandemic/postmodern way of being. News media, which claims to inform, is a hyperreal, amplified, simulacrum which conceals the truth that there is no truth. High speed, Wi-Fi enabled, crises, displacements, and contradictions assault my senses through news and social media, shaping my talk, my interactions, and my emotions. Drawing on concepts from critical theorists such as Marcuse and Habermas, I briefly sketch a contemporary account of global concerns I have regarding our ecological, international, and anthropological balances. Contradictions abound and the ability of authority figures to put aside self-interests and work for the common good appears impossible. Precarity, crisis, and the lack of legitimacy are the outcome. I also draw on recent events in my community—a murder of a female jogger on my campus on September 2, 2022, and a subsequent shooting spree nearby on September 7, 2022—to explore contradictions and precarity as a mezzo-level local experience. Finally, I explore precarity and contradictions in my professional and personal life. I conclude with thoughts about impermanence, suffering, anxiety, mortality, growth, and adaptability in the pandemic/post-pandemic age.


Exploring Our Inner Landscape:
Self-Inquiry and Discovery through Mindfulness, Breath, Sensation, and Meditation

Christine Kiesinger, CEK Communication, Coaching, Consulting (USA)

This is an experiential session that invites a deep exploration into our inner landscape through a variety of techniques. This “turning inward” allows for deep intrapersonal inquiry that reveals a knowing of self not easily attained. This session is inherently restorative and nurturing. Open to all levels, no previous experience of mindfulness-based practices are needed.

Special Notes: Please dress comfortably for this session. You may want to have a blanket nearby and space to recline and rest or access to comfortable, supportive seating.

Scholar Spotlight

Kim Etherington

University of Bristol (England)

Interviewed by

Kitrina Douglas, University of West London (England)

David Carless, University of the West of Scotland (Scotland)

Kim Etherington is Professor Emerita of Narrative and Life Story Research (University of Bristol, UK), Fellow of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and accredited EMDR practitioner in private practice. In 2020 she received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry, and in 2022 she received the ICAE Lifetime Contribution Award from the International Conference of Autoethnography.

Author Spotlight

Re/Invention: Methods of Social Fiction

Patricia Leavy, Independent Scholar, Paper Stars Press (USA)


Sandra Faulkner, Bowling Green State University (USA)

Re/Invention is the first comprehensive guide to what social fiction is and how to write it. In an engaging, personal tone, Leavy explores the unique contribution that creative writing— such as novels, series, and short stories—can make to addressing qualitative research questions. In-depth discussions of narrative models (such as the three-act structure) and elements (such as plot, metaphor, dialogue) are accompanied by excerpts from Leavy’s published fiction, reflections on the writing process, and technical suggestions. The book offers evaluation criteria for social fiction as well as practical publishing advice. Instructive features include “tip bubbles” with additional writing hints, end-of-chapter “Skill-Building” and “Rethink Your Research” exercises, and an appendix with suggested readings.

Honorary Memorial Spotlight

Remembering Kip Jones

Patricia Leavy, Independent Scholar, Paper Stars Press (USA)
Sally Chisholm, Keele University (England)
Nicky Genders, University of South Wales (Wales)
Pat Thomson, The University of Nottingham (England)

Kip Jones (BA, MSc, PhD), who passed away in November 2021, was a pioneer in performative social science. American by birth, he worked for more than twenty years as a Reader in Performative Social Science at Bournemouth University in the UK and was Director of the Centre for Qualitative Research. Among his many publications and films, he wrote and produced the award-winning, research-based short biopic, Rufus Stone. Most recently, he edited a book titled, Doing Performative Social Science, which was published shortly after his death.

Scholar Spotlight

Stacy Holman Jones

Monash University (Australia)

Interviewed by

Tony Adams, Bradley University (USA)

Stacy Holman Jones is a writer, director, researcher and educator in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance at Monash University, Australia. Her research focuses on performance as socially, culturally, and politically resistive and transformative activity. She has published more than 100 articles, book chapters, reviews, and editorials and has authored, co-authored and edited 13 books. Her writing, directing and performance work has been featured at international venues and events including the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, FEAST Festival in Adelaide, Australia and in conference venues in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Scotland.

Author Spotlight

Transformative Autoethnography for Practitioners: Change Processes and Practices for Individuals and Groups

Kathy-Ann C. Hernandez, Eastern University (USA)
Heewon Chang, Eastern University (USA)
Wendy A. Bilgen, Cleveland State University (USA)


Laura Ellingson, Santa Clara University (USA)

In Transformative Autoethnography for Practitioners, Hernandez, Chang and Bilgen turn the spotlight on autoethnography as a tool for practitioners where the primary goal is to solve real world problems by facilitating transformational change at the individual, group and/or organizational levels. They draw on existing scholarship as well as their collective work and expertise to provide a Transformative Autoethnographic Model (TAM) for use by practitioners who are intent on effecting such changes in their respective contexts.

Spotlight Session

The Reverberations of War:
Ukrainian and Polish Academics Perform a Collective Autoethnography of Experiencing War in Ukraine 

Moderator: Marcin Kafar, University of Lodz (Poland)


Andrii Melnikov, University of Kiev (Ukraine)
Oskar Szwabowski, Akademia Pomorska w Słupsku
Marcin Kafar, University of Lodz (Poland)
Krzysztof Konecki, University of Lodz (Poland)
Anna Kacperczyk, University of Lodz (Poland)
Colette Szczepaniak, Independent Scholar
Hanna Kroczak, University of Lodz (Poland)
Kala Dobosz, Independent Scholar

Author Spotlight

Narrating Estrangement: Autoethnographies of Writing Of(f) Family

Lisa P Spinazola, Western Governors University (USA)

David Purnell, Western Washington University (USA)


Tasha Dunn, University of Toledo (USA)

The contributors to Narrating Estrangement write about their experiences of betrayal, abuse, abandonment, death, resentment, sibling rivalry, divorce, remarriage, adoption, belonging, identity, religion, and more. The book is divided into four sections. The first gives insight into contemplations of estrangement stemming from abusive family relationships that are pervasive and continue well into adulthood. The second section exposes family secrets and sibling rivalry as authors reconcile evolving understandings of “family” and face the possibility of permanent estrangement. The third section focuses on how a sense of identity is tied to space and place; and how dislocation and relocation become catalysts for decisions to estrange. The final section gives insight from the bewildered perspective of the estrangee (the one others have estranged from) and family members who are peripherally impacted by others’ decisions to estrange.

Scholar Spotlight

Silvia Bénard Calva

Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (Mexico)


Tony Adams, Bradley University (USA)

Dr. Silvia Bénard Calva was born in Mexico City, where she lived for 25 years. There she studied sociology at the Universidad Autonóma Metropolitana. She then studied for her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin (1994). Currently, she is a researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes, where she has worked since 2003. For fifteen years, she has practiced autoethnography as a methodology and as a way of life. Living in Aguascaientes (México), she has learned to consider herself just one among the rest of ordinary people and has reconnected with nature.

Scholar Spotlight

Robert E. Rinehart

Lincoln University (New Zealand)


César A. Cisneros-Puebla, Universidad de Tarapacá (Chile)

Robert E. Rinehart is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Lincoln University, Aotearoa New Zealand. Trained as a sport sociologist at the University of Illinois, he has published Players All: Performances in Contemporary Sport, To the Extreme: Alternative Sports, Inside and Out (ed. with Synthia Sydnor), and five edited books based on ethnography. Retired from academic life in 2019, he is currently writing poetry and fiction, reading a lot of novels, and enjoying the quiet life in New Zealand.

Author Spotlight

Reimagining Narrative Therapy through Practice Stories and Autoethnography

Travis Heath, San Diego State University
Tom Carlson, Alliant International University San Diego
David Epston, Narrative Therapy Centre


Arthur P. Bochner, University of South Florida (USA)

Reimagining Narrative Therapy Through Practice Stories and Autoethnography takes a new pedagogical approach to teaching and learning in contemporary narrative therapy, based in autoethnography and storytelling. The aim of this book is to introduce narrative therapy and the value of integrating autoethnographic methods to students and new clinicians. It can also serve as a useful tool for advanced teachers of narrative practices. In addition, it will appeal to established clinicians who are curious about narrative therapy (who may be looking to add it to their practice), as well as students and scholars of autoethnography and qualitative inquiry and methods.

Scholar Spotlight

Pat Sikes

University of Sheffield (England)

Interviewed by

Arthur P. Bochner, University of South Florida (USA)

Dr Pat Sikes is Professor Emeritus of Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Sheffield. Dr. Sikes’s research career began in 1978. From the start she was convinced by C. Wright Mill’s exhortation to employ the “sociological imagination” to study personal troubles as public concerns in a way that could prompt transformational change. This conviction underpins her use, development and writing about ethical auto/biographical narrative approaches, including autoethnography. Initially her work focused on educators’ lives and careers: more recently, she has studied the perceptions and experiences of children and young people whose parent has/d Young Onset Dementia.

Author Spotlight

Mindful Activism:
Autoethnographies of Social Justice Communication for Campus and Community Transformation

Lisa M. Tillmann, Rollins College (USA)
Kathryn Norsworthy, Rollins College (USA)
and Steven Schoen, Rollins College (USA)


Patricia Geist-Martin Professor San Diego State University (USA)

Mindful Activism chronicles the authors’ experiences as activist academics challenging and seeking to remedy injustices on campus and in local and global communities. Those experiences range from engaging in a single activist act to collaborating over many years with oppressed communities and social change groups. Building upon communication activism research and following a liberation-based transformative learning model, the book shows both activism in action and deep reflection on that activism. The authors re-experience activist experiences, draw out lessons, and invite readers to apply those to their own social justice endeavors. Mindful Activism demonstrates how mindfulness supports activists in deepening their awareness and understanding of themselves, others, and social systems.


Do Unto Others: Ethical Autoethnography

Jillian Tullis, University of San Diego (USA)

Autoethnography is not free from ethical dilemmas found in other methods. This session will focus on the nature of these dilemmas and offer strategies and techniques for creating ethical autoethnographic scholarship. A portion of the session will allow participants the opportunity to troubleshoot ethical challenges they may face when engaging in life writing.

Special Session

The Omnipresence of Black Joy


Chris Omni, Kujima Health, Florida State University (USA)


Chris Omni, Kujima Health, Florida State University (USA)
Teya C. Moseley, Florida State University (USA)
Michelle S. Gunn, Florida State University (USA)
Ashley E. Powell, Florida State University (USA)
Simone M. Eloi, Florida State University (USA)
Yara B. Abbiyyah, Florida State University (USA)

The Omnipresence of Black Joy panel discussion was created by a Black woman and is co-facilitated by Black women. This conversation is for my Sista Queens, my Brothers and all the beautiful souls of Love and Light who are tired of hearing the typical deficit narrative that is associated with Black people.

To all of us…to all of you…Welcome to a space of Black Joy that encourages Black women to remove the metaphorical cape associated with being the Strong Black Woman. Welcome to a space that unapologetically showers love upon Black men. Welcome to a space that honors the lived experiences of the Black LGBTQ+ community. Welcome to a space where all the Black non-binary souls are cherished. The Omnipresence of Black Joy provides an open invitation to be authentically and unapologetically you! Authentically and unapologetically us! This is a space of WE!

Scholar Spotlight

Ahmet Atay

The College of Wooster (USA)

Interviewed by

Keith Berry, University of South Florida (USA)

Ahmet Atay (Ph.D. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale) is a Professor of Global Media and Communication at the College of Wooster. His research focuses on diasporic experiences and cultural identity formations; political and social complexities of city life, such as immigrant and queer experiences; the usage of new media technologies in different settings; and the notion of home; representation of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in media; queer and immigrant experiences in cyberspace. He mainly uses decolonizing autoethnography and cyber autoethnography as his research methods. He is the author of Globalization’s Impact on Identity Formation: Queer Diasporic Males in Cyberspace (2015) and the co-editor of several books.

Honorary Scholar Spotlight

Laurel Richardson

The Ohio State University (USA)

Interviewed by

Carolyn Ellis, University of South Florida (USA)

Arthur Bochner, University of South Florida (USA)

Laurel Richardson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology at The Ohio State University. She has published extensively in qualitative methods, gender, social stratification, culture, and autoethnography. She has been honored by multiple awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Her most recent books are Seven Minutes from Home, Lone Twin, and The Story of a Marriage through Dementia and Beyond: Love in a Whirlwind. For the past year, she has been working on autoethnographic poetry, a collection (in process) called For Better or Worse.