Chapter 1. Short Film as Performative Social Science: The Story Behind "Princess Margaret"

Kip Jones

Older now, I finally realize that certain moments in my life

were pinnacles, not predictors of things to come.

Kip Jones is Reader in Qualitative Research, at Bournemouth University (BU) in the UK. His brief at BU straddles both Health and Social Care and Media. Jones’s research interests are concerned with crossing the boundaries between disciplines and using tools from the arts and humanities in social science research and dissemination. His work is currently moving into film production. He is leader of the Performative Social Science Group at BU and keynotes on this subject both nationally and internationally. His website can be found at  

Publish or perish drives much of academic life. It has its origins in hard science where the first to get an experiment, finding, or theory into publication won the prize. Other academic disciplines followed suit by imitating this system. Other academic disciplines followed suit by imitating this system. This structure led to the development of an academic writing style and a vetting process that are both now antiquated and suspect. However, we’re all frequently caught up in this bind, me included.

Qikipedia recently cautioned us on Twitter that “about 200,000 academic journals are published in English. The average number of readers per article is five” (Qikipedia, 2010). Funders are now looking for outcomes from their investments that demonstrate how we will affect change in the wider world; in other words, the world beyond the very few other academics who happen to read a journal article. Fortunately, publishing is evolving and, more and more, supplementary multimedia are requested as part of the publication process. This climate of change presents opportunities to get the products of our alternative methods of dissemination of social-science data to wider audiences—to popularize research.