Writing From Below

Writing from Below co-editors Stephen Ablitt and Karina Quinn.

QUEER academic and creative writing has found a home in Writing From Below, a new peer-reviewed journal from La Trobe University’s Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies program. The journal casts a wide net across academic research from a range of disciplines as well as non-academic creative and non-fiction writing.

One of its editors Stephen Ablitt told the Star Observer the journal aimed to bring queer thinking outside the often-cloistered university environment and make academic work on queer issues relevant to people’s lives.

“I think that’s definitely a primary concern of our journal, bridging that divide, giving a space for these different types of queerness, to start that conversation,” Ablitt said.

“It is an academic peer-reviewed journal and we have gone through this very vigorous process but what we’ve also done is attempt to pull in creative writers and other artists outside the academy who can contribute.”

Founding editor Karina Quinn said the journal had been started as a way to address the invisibility of queer writing in the academic sphere. With gender studies programs being dismantled at universities across Australia, research in the area has increasingly been housed in disciplines like sociology, literature and philosophy.

“It was a positive response to that dismantling process where we wanted to say, here is a space for these voices, here is a place for this research and this engagement with gender, sexuality and diversity,” she said.

Quinn also argued the journal being an interdisciplinary space for writing in queer studies encouraged researchers to find links across disciplines.

“We get some really interesting submissions from people who go, ‘I haven’t known where to put this. I can’t put it in a scholarly journal’, they say it’s too creative, creative people say it’s too theoretical,” she said.

While such an approach has created some challenges for the editors working with diverse content, Quinn said she hoped the publication was one where everyone would be able to find something to connect with.

“There’s stuff in there for everyone… The beauty of it is it’s not purely academic, it’s not purely creative, it’s somewhere in-between. And most of us in this community know how that feels.”

INFO: Visit www.writingfrombelow.org.au

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