Transforming Data into Poems: Poetic Inquiry Practices for Social and Human Sciences


  • Heidi van Rooyen Human Sciences Research Council
  • Raphael d'Abdon Human Sciences Research Council



poetic inquiry; found poems; social sciences; human sciences; poetry; academic writing; decoloniality


This article argues that poetry is an act of meditation, improvisation and exploration, and urgency is what guides the writer into (and through) the poetic journey. In the light of this, this article illustrates the features of a workshop that was designed to guide social and human scientists in the delicate process of turning raw data into poems. One of the chief objectives of the decolonial project is to bridge the gap between Westernised academia (“The Ivory Tower”) and communities where research is conducted, and this article aims to show how poetic inquiry is a fitting research methodology that can serve this purpose. Through a description of the workshop process and specific poems that emerged from it, it suggests that poetic inquiry is an innovative and effective research methodology for social and human scientists engaged in the transformation of conventional knowledge production.


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How to Cite

van Rooyen, Heidi, and Raphael d’Abdon. 2020. “Transforming Data into Poems: Poetic Inquiry Practices for Social and Human Sciences”. Education As Change 24 (December):17 pages.



Themed Section 2
Received 2020-07-19
Accepted 2020-11-04
Published 2020-12-23