Making Sense of My Creativity

Reflecting On Digital Autoethnography


  • George Musgrave Goldsmiths, University of London


autoethnography, music, creativity, research methods, qualitative


By examining specific data-sets used in my research into my own career as a musician, this paper presents an argument for the use of digital data-trails in the construction of creative career-based autoethnographies. The paper is driven by a desire to assist researchers, notably students but practitioner academics too, interested in using their own creative lives as an object of research by reflecting on my own experiences of conducting a four-year research project which traced my artistic career from unknown rapper to a songwriter signed to Sony/EMI/ATV. It doing so, I hope to offer educators working in the creative arts a helping starting point for our research students. It is suggested that key to the autoethnographic approach is the generation of data, and that for contemporary musicians – and others in creative fields – the way our careers are digitally self-documented online presents interesting possibilities for reconsidering data sources. This paper critically considers the practice of autoethnography, contributing towards literature which both evaluates this methodology and seeks to offer a perspective which might help other researchers interested in the suitability and applicability of autoethnography to investigate their own creative careers and experiences.