Workshop 2

7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
University of Helsinki, 10-12 January 2024, Helsinki, Finland
Creative-relational inquiry workshop: Playing with Concepts

The Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry (CCRI or, better, Sea~Cry) is based at the University of Edinburgh. It fosters innovative qualitative research that places the relational at its heart. Key to the vision for the Centre is that it develops the ‘creative-relational’ as a dynamic conceptual frame for vibrant, incisive research.  It is a conceptual frame that draws on theory and philosophy as alternative approaches to traditional methodologies.

‘Creative-relational inquiry’ might include:

  • detailed, close-up explorations of, for example, therapeutic and pedagogical relationships;
  • the use of the arts and performance as a methodological approach;
  • inquiries that put concepts and theories to work;
  • and research that engages practitioners and the wider public – creatively, relationally – in and with such research.

These possibilities are illustrative, not exhaustive.

CCRI makes space for and develops a capacity for debate, thinking and activity that argues for and contributes to the future of such interdisciplinary research, fostering collaborations and conversations within the University of Edinburgh, nationally and internationally.

Despite this attempt to explain and define creative-relational inquiry, there is nobody there to say what creative-relational inquiry can or cannot do before experimentation. For Deleuze and Guattari (1994), to sense the concept as an experimental tool is to suggest that concepts “are not pieces of a jigsaw puzzle but rather the outcome of throws of the dice” (p. 35).  Therefore creative-relational inquiry is necessarily experimental. Through its experimentation, it nurtures all processes by nudging them along, with flailing arms, creating movement in the writing process. It can provide momentum in collusion with practices other than writing, with a valuing of them as legitimate ways of thinking and knowing.

This workshop experiments with three techniques for thinking playfully with concepts in a way that aims to provide movement in the creative process. During the workshop participants are encouraged to put these techniques to work within their own current projects to see how this might create movement or sparks.

Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1994). What is philosophy? Columbia University Press

Workshop Facilitators

Fiona Murray is a co-director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry and a lecturer in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her current research interest is in the development of creating Preformative Writing as an approach to writing together in the process. A recent publication is From Post-qualitative Inquiry towards Creative-Relational Inquiry in (and beyond) the Education/Training of Therapists in Qualitative Research Approaches for Psychotherapy: Reflexivity, Methodology, and Criticality, edited by Keith Tudor and Jonathan Wyatt.


Jonathan Wyatt is a Professor of Qualitative Inquiry and co-director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry at the University of Edinburgh. His book, Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry, published by Routledge, won the 2020 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry book award. He is working on a new book, provisionally titled, Writing, the Everyday, and Creative-Relational Inquiry.