The study of international relations has predominantly focused on supposedly ‘official’ actors, sites and practices. But what about ‘ordinary’ individuals? What about their ‘mundane’ practices and quotidian behaviours? How do their everyday lives fit into IR?
In the University of St Andrews School of International Relations, students enrolled in Dr Laura Mills’ masters and undergraduate modules – IR5066 ‘The Global Politics of Everyday Life’ and IR4570 ‘Everyday Life and Global Politics’ – creatively explore these questions to reveal how everyday life and global politics are co-constitutive. An award-winning educator in innovative pedagogies, Dr Mills encourages students to develop their critical thinking at the cutting edge of creative and innovative practice in IR by both exploring how scholars ‘do’ IR through, for instance, film, narrative, and performance, and then doing so themselves in their own creative explorations of how everyday life mutually constitutes global politics.
While more ‘traditional’ forms of scholarship remain important, creative forms offer potentially more immediate, affective and potent modes to explore global politics, opening up other ways of knowing, being and doing in the world and the rich possibilities this holds. Since 2018, students have produced artwork, poetry, (auto)ethnography, narrative, film, collage, performance, photography, visual analysis and video remix that have powerfully explored pressing issues as diverse as the nefarious media representation of the refugee crisis, the body as a violent site of racialised and gendered politics, fashion as a vehicle of pinkwashing and homonationalism. Students have gone on to publish pieces developed within the context of these modules in publications such as Medium and Contemporary Voices: A St Andrews Journal of International Relations. This website features their creative work. Please enjoy exploring it.
Dr Mills wishes to acknowledge and thank the generous support of the University of St Andrews’ Entrepreneurial Education Fund through which this website was made possible. This project was coordinated by Dr Laura Mills and research assistance was provided by Matt Warren.
This creative work is indebted to the ground-breaking interdisciplinary (IR) scholars and the paths they have forged before us but in particular, Dr Mills wishes to thank Dr Shine Choi and Dr Saara Särmä for their generosity and friendship in sharing their creative pedagogical practice and shaping her own.