NEST (Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation) is a research network launched in July 2015 with the aim to foster the theory and practice of narrative as a field of study through interdisciplinary research and empirical investigations into questions of human experience, development and social change
Its members are drawn from the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as creative and community-based constituencies. The current configuration of the NEST network allows for an articulation between the Arts, Social Sciences and Socio-psychological work.
NEST is informed by the principle that narrative is one of the defining features of what it means to be human. Personal and collective senses of self, experience, desires, fears and hopes are developed in and through narrative meaning-making, providing recognition and validation, and deepening our sense of human dignity across lines of difference and existence.
The transformative possibilities of narrative lie in the ways in which it enables people to:
- Give coherence to their lives and the world around them;
- Develop forms of critical consciousness and thinking;
- Imagine possible alternative social realities and futures;
- And, ultimately, not only to read them-selves and their place in the world but also to be read by others.
It is people who make culture and culture that in turns remakes us, and this process is always political and potentially transformative.
NEST seeks to undertake research that traces ideologies, experiences and identities across time as constructed through inter / cross generational experience and storytelling; the reconstruction of (cultural memory); and transmission of unofficial histories and alternative narratives by ordinary people, particularly in families, communities, educational and creative contexts. Its research agenda incorporates a wide range of theoretical and critical conceptual and creative work that can be undertaken from multiple disciplinary perspectives and methodologies.
The following constitute the core thematic threads of NEST:
- The narrative formation of consciousness and subjectivities
- Marginality, the body, affect and narrative
- Narrative form and symbolic representations in multiple modalities: textual, visual, archival, aural and performative.
- Intergenerational narratives.
- Developing knowledge and praxis through empirical projects