Affective digital presence: how to free online writing and drawing?

Gilbert, Francis and Matthews, Miranda. 2021. Affective digital presence: how to free online writing and drawing? Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 14(2), 29. ISSN 1753-5190 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Online learning can be an alienating experience; students can feel their emotions are disregarded, marginalized or even viewed as hindrances as they try to motivate themselves to learn, staring at the dancing pixels of their illuminated screens. They feel at a remove from other students, trapped in other rooms, far away from them. The closeness of bodies in a shared physical space is raised as an absence. And yet, we contend in this article that connecting with affect in online learning spaces could build connectivity that counteracts the alienation of social distancing. Raw creative affective discourses can be challenging, and uncomfortable for others to take in but they are necessary online. We show that using non-digital practices such as drawing and writing freely, without inhibitions, can immeasurably enhance the online experience, giving a space for affect to be expressed in a safe but emancipatory learning architecture.

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Additional Information:

© 2021 Intellect Ltd. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, Volume 14, Number 2, 2021, pp. 209-237,


Online learning, freewriting, drawing, affect, safe spaces, creativity

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


5 July 2021Accepted
1 September 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Sep 2021 11:45

Last Modified:

01 Sep 2022 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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