Sean Fitzgerald

PHd
WRITER
Film-Maker
PHOTOGRAPHER

Welcome to my website. I am a writer of contemporary speculative fiction and social science fiction. Like the proverbial moth, I'm often drawn to the bright and incandescent nature of empirical science and futures technology. These often form strong themes in the stories I write. Somewhere, there is always a consideration of scientific workings or research to underpin my tales.

I hold a creative-critical PhD in Creative Writing and Science Communication from the University of Winchester, England. My main research practice resulted in a linked collection of short stories, novelettes and novellas as contemporary speculative fiction, around a theme of genetic engineering. The critical work examined the place of contemporary speculative fiction and the processes of writing creatively about the business of doing science.

I am an experienced and fully qualified university lecturer in film and television production, along with creative writing.

My fiction collection, A Common Thread (2020), is now available through Troubador Publishing, under their Matador imprint.

I have been fortunate to have my short fiction published by Thursday Identity, Holdfast Magazine, The Honest Ulsterman (HU), Written Tales, Razur Cuts, Number Eleven and The Ham

Work of a scholarly nature and non-fiction articles have been published by Luna Press, The Ham, Writing in Practice, Anthropocenes and Razur Cuts.

 

I have images published in The Ham, Razur Cuts, The Phare, on twitter (@mollusc101) and on various music-related websites including Tenek, Moles, Tax the Heat, Knock Off, UK Subs and Department S.

For additional information: s.fitzgerald.13@unimail.winchester.ac.uk

  New Publication  

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Published by The Honest Ulsterman (October 2016), 'The Nature of Transitory Disappearance: Bella's Tale' is an eco-fiction set in the North Sea during the late nineteen-eighties. The narrative speculates on the unregulated environmental consequences posed by unscrupulous global operators, as witnessed first-hand by the eponymous protagonist.

This story co-exists with ‘TNOTD: Dom’s Tale’, a companion narrative set thirty-years hence. 'Dom's' Tale was published by Thursday Identity, in 2015.

Published by Holdfast Magazine  (#8, September 2016),  ‘NUCA: Beginnings in vivo’ is a contemporary speculative fiction in which a research scientist returns to his roots to complete an experiment which could change the nature of human-kind forever, in an imaginative leap for the homo sapiens’ genome.

Re-published by The Ham journal (#2, May 2017, p.65) as 'Another Place: A beginning in vivo'.

 

(This piece of work is an abridged version of one of the stories from my creative writing research.)

Published in Written Tales (April 2017), 'Sounds of Ages' is a flash fantasy that draws on the mystical and ethereal nature of the seas.

Published by Number Eleven Magazine (#10, July 2017), 'Expectations' unwinds the tale of a brief encounter at sea. A windswept, whirlwind romance in the North Sea between two lost souls: one looking for love, the other, to be loved.

Published by Thursday Identity  through Splendid Fred (15 February 2015), 'The Nature of Transitory Disappearance: Dom's Talefollows a government scientist as he witnesses a severe and unexpected storm on the North Yorkshire coast, The tempestuous weather results in a curious phenomenon: the instantaneous disappearance of an historic colony of nesting seabirds. As Dom discover, this is the not the only unusual happening as a result of the inclement weather system.

This story co-exists with ‘TNOTD: Bella’s Tale’, a companion narrative set thirty-years before. 'Dom's' Tale was published by The Honest Ulsterman , in 2016.

A Common Thread (2020) offers a collection of science-inspired contemporary tales that reside at the edge of speculation.

Step inside the life of Peter, an under-employed science graduate caught up in a covert experiment, or Bella, a former scientist turned journalist investigating an illicit trade on the oceans of the world. Pursue Conor, a biologist who conceives an experiment that could change the nature of humankind forever, or in the title novella, meet Judy, an anthropologist who realises her analytical skills are not the only attribute in demand. Travel into A Common Thread, a collection of science-inspired contemporary tales where strange things happen – when you least expect them.

Available in paperback and as an e-Book from:

Troubador, Bookshop.org, Amazon, iBooks and other physical and online bookstores.

PUBLISHED Fiction
 
PUBLISHED CREATIVE NON-Fiction PROSE

Published by The Ham journal (#1, Dec 2016, p.56), 'A Night Before They Were Kings' is a creatively-realised first-hand memoir of the inaugural UK gig of a talent destined to become for a short while, the biggest band in the world.

Published in Razur Cuts III (July 2017), An evening with The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst: Lol describes his Cure’ offers a look at the launch of Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys.

Admiral Benbow in Lockdown_20.jpg

The virus has spread the message, 'This is your future: Welcome to the New Stone Age'. Welcome to the New Stone Age. Organized and run by the UK AHRC, University of Plymouth and Nottingham Trent University @poetryandcovid.

RESEARCH & SCHOLARSHIP
Publications
Luna COVER Evil Graphic Final19.jpeg

A Shadow Within: Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction (2019). Editor: Francesca T Barbini (Academia Lunare: Luna Press Publishing)

ISBN/SKU: 9781911143918. Launched at Edinburgh International Book Festival and Dublin World Fantasy Con (2019).

  My paper looks at one aspect of science-as-fiction in contemporary society. I address professional and amateur scientists as both altruistic and selfish, as they sometimes display elements of both ‘good’ and 'evil'. The context of the paper considers scientist characters in a range of texts, and how science and the process of science is shared with a reader, all framed against whether they would naturally empathise with a character if portrayed as evil or have evil intent.

  A Shadow Within was long-listed for the BSFA 2020 awards in the Best Non-Fiction category.

My research practice paper, ‘Encouraging Discussion of Science and Technology Futures Through Practice-Led Research’, is published in the inaugural issue of Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman, through the University of Westminster Press. I present an original speculative fiction that examines an imagined physical creation of a synthetic-organic hybrid that could signal the end of the Anthropocene. ‘NUCA: Beginnings in vivo’, is set against the environments of genetic manipulation, human endeavour and synthetic biology, and the ambition to design a non-natural gene-selecting intelligence to rival the four-billion-year experiment that has produced twenty-first century Homo sapiens. The context, ideas and practice-led research are delivered through the fiction and accompanying short film, "NUCA".

WiP_IMAGE%20Writing%20Science%20as%20Fic

In the paper, ‘Writing science-as-fiction to examine practice-led research in creative writing as science communication’, recently published in Volume 6 of the National Association of Writers in Education’s Writing in Practice: The Journal of Creative Writing Research, I consider the intersection between science communication and creative writing.

  This paper seeks to outline how practice-led research provided the methodological focus for a recently completed doctoral study in creative writing as science communication. A selection of the findings are presented within this review document to offer a flavour of the processes involved and the approaches taken, delivered together with excerpts of creative practice, to illustrate how the critical element combines with the creative to produce practice-led research.

phd research

Title: 'Writing genetic science-inspired fiction in contemporary society'

I was awarded my PhD in Creative Writing as Science Communication from the University of Winchester, in February 2019. My thesis, ‘Writing Genetic Science-Inspired Fiction in Contemporary Society’, concentrates jointly on the theory and contextualisation of writing fiction as science communication, and the practice of writing genetic fiction (under the term ‘science-as-fiction’). The creative practice (practice-as-research) undertaken for the doctorate produced a collection of original novelettes and novellas that explore and speculate through contemporary and near-future fiction, the possible impacts and consequences of manipulating genetic code.
  Through an informed exercise in creating and writing original fiction about characters and issues involved in contemporary and near-future science, this creative-critical practice-based thesis examines how the representation of scientific knowledge can be critically explored through creative writing and fiction grounded in science, specifically genetic science. The creative element of this research is presented as a themed or linked collection of genetic science-inspired speculative fiction in the form of two novelettes and one novella. These collected works present opportunities to explore scientific, ethical, and moral issues within the area of contemporary-facing genetic science through fiction. The activity of engaging with science and science-related characters via an empirical investigation is explored within each individual creative piece.
  As objects of creative production, these works offer both the experience of engaging with science-related characters as they pursue scientific (and personal) goals, and an opportunity to explore a variety of implications and possibilities of (genetic) science in contemporary society. This approach allows investigation through a range of methods to examine a creative process from a critical perspective using practice-as-research methodology. Individually, a close-examination and commentary is offered on the interaction between storyline, science elements, characters, and characterisations. Through this exploration a critical analysis is delivered on the influence of science in the design and writing of the fiction collection.
  With the completion of the creative and critical elements of this thesis, a research study rooted as much in process as on focused outcome is established. The creative practice is seen to critically inform how a factually inspired genetic science work of fiction is delivered and as such, the thesis introduces a model that can be applied by other academics and practitioners working within the fields of contemporary fiction and science.

PhD Abstract

UNIVERSITY OF WINCHESTER

 

ABSTRACT

 

Writing genetic science-inspired fiction in contemporary society

 

Sean Alfred Fitzgerald

ORCID Number: 0000-0003-4039-0050

 

Doctor of Philosophy

April 2018

 

Through an informed exercise in creating and writing original fiction about characters and issues involved in contemporary and near-future science, this practice-based thesis examines how the representation of scientific knowledge can be critically explored through creative writing and fiction grounded in science, specifically genetic science. The creative element of this research is presented as a themed or linked collection of genetic science-inspired speculative fiction in the form of two novelettes and one novella. These collected works present opportunities to explore scientific, ethical and moral issues within the area of contemporary-facing genetic science through fiction. The activity of engaging with science and science-related characters via an empirical investigation is explored within each individual creative piece.

     As objects of creative production, these works offer both the experience of engaging with science-related characters as they pursue scientific (and personal) goals, and an opportunity to explore a variety of implications and possibilities of (genetic) science in contemporary society. This approach allows investigation through a range of methods to examine a creative process from a critical perspective using practice-as-research (PaR) methodology. Individually, a close-examination and commentary is offered on the interaction between storyline, science elements, characters and characterisations. Through this exploration a critical analysis is delivered on the influence of science in the design and writing of the fiction collection.

     With the completion of the creative and critical elements of this thesis, a research study rooted as much in process as on focused outcome is established. The creative practice is seen to critically inform how a factually inspired genetic science work of fiction is delivered and as such, the thesis introduces a model that can be applied by other academics and practitioners working within the fields of contemporary fiction and science.

     

 Keywords: creative writing, fiction, speculative, genetic science, practice-based, PaR, intertextuality, science-as-fiction, science communication, two-cultures

CONFERENCE PAPERS
 Writing Between the Lines

Paper Title:

'Using the creation of genetic fiction to examine practice-based research in creative writing: a consideration of methodology'.

Presented at:

Writing Between the Lines. A Postgraduate Symposium Exploring Creative Writing as a Research Methodology. Cardiff School of Education, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales. Sept 2016.

Abstract
This paper aims to introduce a research study which sets out to explore scientific, ethical and moral perspectives, issues and discussions relating to genetic science in a twenty-first century context in the UK, through the writing of genetic science-inspired fiction.
   For this study, writing genetic science-inspired fiction is positioned within a creative practice-led approach, whilst framed against a cultural and communication context of science in society. A scholarly overview (in the context of academic and published literature) considers the nature of fictional scientists, their place in fiction, how science as fiction can be both represented and viewed from the context of a philosophical and socio-political perspective, the position of science in society and crucially, how this undertaking called science both generally in society, and specifically within narrative fiction, can often in equal measures, promote appreciation and mistrust in how scientific knowledge is understood. In relation to this project, aspects of science as a general term will be discussed, and where appropriate, this will be targeted specifically on areas of genetic science, which will be the focus of the creative writing practice.

Frankenstein Unbound

Paper Title:

'Looking at the process of writing genetic fiction as practice-based research illustrated through an original novella, ‘A Common Thread’.

Presented at:

The Frankenstein Unbound International Conference. Arts University Bournemouth, Dorset. Oct/Nov 2018.

Abstract

This paper seeks to present a research study that offers one possible methodology of how practice-based creative writing research can explore scientific, ethical and moral perspectives, through the writing of genetic science-inspired fiction. 

   Using a practice-based approach I have created a collection of genetic science-inspired fiction in a mix of narrative forms, brought together in a body of creative work. This consists of four novelettes and one novella. For presentation purposes, I have chosen the novella, ‘A Common Thread’, to help illustrate my approach to creative writing practice as research.

   The writing of the genetic science-inspired collection is framed against a context of science in society and accompanied by a critical rationale. This provides an opportunity to examine the representation of scientific knowledge through creative discourse.


 

Speculative Fiction Futures
NUCA Graphic.jpg

Paper Title:

'Encouraging discussion of science and technology futures through practice-led fiction, production and research'.

Presented at:

The 2020 Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) Conference: Media Interactions and Environments. University of Brighton. Jan 2020.

Abstract
As an approach of imaginative practice, I use the framework of an original speculative story adapted to create an audio-visual immersive commentary on Homo sapiens limitations (and possibly, the curtailment of the Anthropocene). Thus, the place of science and technological communication is considered within media culture and creative practice in progressively more complex media environments. This is delivered through a combination of a shortened paper and a short experimental film. The paper contains a mix of critical content and discrete readings of original fiction (as dialogue to science to environment interaction) as illustrations of context. The critical content considers a science-environment-media approach as an illustration of enquiring through practice-led research. The creative practice of writing speculative fiction and developing associated media and film is one way to encourage discussion and engagement without the immediate real-world concerns that may be encountered when producing documentary, journalism, reportage or politically engaged social media.

   The story of ‘NUCA: Beginnings in vivo’, is set against the environments of genetic manipulation, human endeavour and synthetic biology, and the ambition to design a non-natural gene-selecting intelligence to rival the four-billion-year experiment that has produced twenty-first century Homo sapiens. The purpose of our meteoric rise to existence may yet prove to be just a significant but small part in that journey. Homo sapiens’ function may only be fulfilled when a new species is created (by our own hands) to supersede us. Like the flightless dinosaurs who evolved feathery appendages, selfish genetic code drives the way forward, eventually abandoning its hosts for the improved model. In our present incarnation our species may merely be along for the ride, waiting to be dropped off and forgotten as the genetic express moves relentlessly forward, with ne’er a meaningful glance back.

A trailer for the short experimental digital film/media piece, "NUCA: Next Universal Common Ancestor", can be viewed from this LINK.

   The film is an audio-led immersive speculative fiction and is based on an original eponymously published fiction story written as part of a practice-led research study.

   The story of ‘NUCA: Beginnings in vivo’, is set against the environments of genetic manipulation, human endeavour and synthetic biology.

   The original published short story can be found in Holdfast magazine and The Ham Literary magazine.

 
 
MEDIA: FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY
PUBLISHED IMAGES

Published by The Ham journal (#1, Dec 2016, p.59), 'ABEREIDDI' is an image which conjures up feelings of wrapping up in warm layers against biting cold and savage winds of winter beach-walks in south-west Wales, of isolation, of  family, of friends, of being free in the wet and the wild.

Published in Razur Cuts III (July 2017), 'PARISIAN ELLIPSIS' captures the playful visual deception of geometry.

Published in Razur Cuts III (July 2017), 'TEUFELSBERG, BERLIN' represents an augmented slice of reality-viewing of the once-secretive NATO listening post from the Cold War. The  Devil's Mountain is located in the north of  Grunewald Forest, on the outskirts of (West) Berlin.

A selection from this portfolio is additionally published in The Phare magazine (Oct 2020), under the proposition that the ex-NATO base at Teufelsberg and its architecture, keeps the past alive and feeds the imagination for a new generation.

Moving Image
PRODUCTION CV & LINKS

IMDB Profile LINK       

 

“Labour 4” (experimental narrative) (1987). (16mm).

Writer, Director, Producer, Lighting Camera, Camera Rig Designer, Film and Audio Editor.

 

“Help is Nearer…” (documentary on MS patients and treatment) (1988). (Betamax Pro)

Writer/Researcher, Producer, Lighting Camera and Joint Editor.

 

“Orchard School” (documentary on SEN and excluded pupils) (1988). (Betamax Pro)

Writer/Researcher, Producer, Lighting Camera and Joint Editor.

 

Graduation film, “The Machine Shop” (experimental narrative) (1989). (16mm)

Writer, Director, Producer, Lighting Camera, Camera Rig Designer, Film and Audio Editor.

 

“Merry-Go-Round” (narrative) (1989). (16mm) FujiFilm Competition Entry for University. (Placed 8/23)

Writer, Co-Producer, Lighting Camera, Joint Film Editor.

 

“Object” (narrative) (1989). (16mm)

Lighting Camera.

 

Museum of London Education co-production, "Two Thousand Years of London Life" (1991). (Betacam SP)

Writer/Researcher, Co-Producer, Lighting Camera and Joint VT Editor.

 

Independent arts exhibition video record, "In Two Minds: Angela Edmonds" (1996). (SVHS Pro)

Director, Producer, Lighting Camera, VT Editor.

 

Independent documentary production, "Hooligan Element: A Profile of Eddy and Dougie Brimson" (1996). (SVHS Pro)

Writer/Researcher, Director, Producer, Lighting Camera, Camera Rig Designer and VT Editor.

 

Provisional design and production work in creating an interactive website for the London Borough of Harrow, Libraries Department (1998).

 

Collaboration project with live music act Jarna170, which involved a mix of original pre-recorded media, digitally manipulated images and live projections of music-driven interactive visual image backdrops (see http://www.mollusc101.co.uk).

Designer, Director, Lighting Camera, Technical Animator and Digital Editor.

Website Designer/Builder.

 

Production of VJ performance technology-driven digital video pieces and installations (see http://www.mollusc101.co.uk).

Designer, Director, Lighting Camera, Technical Animator and Digital Editor.

 

Screening of "China Farm", short documentary produced for Channel Four 'Four Docs' strand. (Taster for a longer anthropological documentary film, currently in production and post-production stage.) (2004)

http://www.channel4.com/fourdocs/film/film-detail.jsp?id=1003  

http://www.cannedfilm.com/experimental_screening_rm.html   

Co-Writer, Director, Co-Producer, Lighting Camera, Film Camera, Audio Editor. Film and Digital Editor.

 

Production and design of Conference DVD for the 8th Annual “BCUC (BNU) Arts

And Media Conference”, 2006. See: http://www.mollusc101.co.uk.

Designer, Director, Technical Animator and Digital Editor.

 

A fictional comedy drama training film, "Reader Says Returned", aimed at addressing customer service issues within the public sector. RSR is currently being sold to an international market across a wide range of public, governmental and educational sectors (2007+). See: http://www.westgatefilms.co.uk.

Co-Writer, Director, Co-Producer, Lighting Camera, Audio and Digital Editor.

 

Website Designer/Builder for http://www.westgatefilms.co.uk.

 

Installation of digital video work, "10x10", exhibited at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Accessories Exhibition, Milan Fairgrounds, housed within the BNU Furniture Design exhibition (2009). See: http://www.mollusc101.co.uk.

Designer, Director, Technical Animator and Digital Editor.

 

Experimental short film adaptation, “NUCA: Next Universal Common Ancestor”, produced for and to be screened at, MeCCSA Conference, University of Brighton, Jan 2020. (Independent production.) (SD Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl1r-QSRjXc)

 

For any further inquiries, please contact Sean and leave a message

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