Savage Clarity. An emergent arts-based inquiry. 

Lowen Clarke
Doctoral Dissertation,


This thesis records an emergent arts-based inquiry into my lived experience as an author and illustrator. The impetus for this inquiry was the creation of a fictional picturebook and animation, which show a tight interweaving of writing-art and visual-art. This research has been a painful and traumaticexperience, where I have deeply explored my creative expression alongside a real time reconciliation of my difficult past and its many manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative tendencies. It has also become an expression of my creative challenges and successes.
This arts-based project, primarily in writing and visual artmaking, was influenced and informed in practice in an autoethnographic bricolage of theresonant methods of creative writing research, narrative inquiry, the inquiry methods undertaken at The Miecat Institute in Melbourne, and my own method. The Miecat Inquiry method, an arts-based, practice-led method, centred on lived experience, has been adapted as a lens to make my writing process visible.

This methodological approach has enabled me to reflect on and articulate my developing understanding of the experiences of PTSD, as well as showing how experiments in creative writing can transform lived experience. This research also demonstrates how I have generated a new form of reading script that may be of help to psycho-traumatological victims as part of a balanced treatment protocol.

This thesis shows that the creation of a fictional story or metaphor in a multi-modal progressive oscillation between words and illustration, as a self-directed and reflective process, may also be a useful addition to the processes of creativewriting and artmaking as practice, research and therapy.

Words that best describe my research method are ‘savage clarity’. The method is ‘savage’ in its rigour to delve deep and to bring ‘clarity’ to ‘savage’ material.


Artefact. Animation: Sam the Tram’s Dance Club Series Pilot.  


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