Thank you for your expression of interest in publishing your writing with Dulwich Centre Publications.
If you are interesting in publishing your writing with us, it is most likely that you will be wishing to publish in The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work journal. Four issues are produced each year. Most issues are orientated around a particular theme and we place information about these themes in advance up on our web site.
Throughout the course of a year, we receive many more manuscripts that we can hope to publish and while this is lovely (we like receiving manuscripts from people!), it also means that unfortunately we have to turn away many people’s writings. We always try to assist prospective authors to find other publishing avenues or other ways in which to distribute the ideas about which they are writing to the people who would most benefit from them.
Publishing is in many ways about distributing ideas, making links, and building a sense of community through the written word. Even if we cannot publish someone’s writing in our journal or books, we try to find ways in which ideas can be distributed and further links made. We seek to ensure that authors who submit their work for publication have a positive experience of the process, even if we are unable to publish their writing.
General publishing principles
The following principles guide our publishing:
1. Opening space for conversations
We aim to publish writings which open space for conversation. The emphasis is on the sharing of story rather than polemics or statements of fact. We hope with each publication to engage readers’ own thoughtfulness and to contribute to discussions within the field.
2. The person / community is not the problem
We aim to publish writings which are consistent with the principle that the ‘person is not the problem, the problem is the problem’. In other words, we publish papers which are written from a non-pathologising stance and that are broadly congruent with the ideas of narrative practice.
3. Care with the politics of representation
We want people to have a chance to represent their own experience in the writings rather than authors representing the experiences of others. At the very least this means that, wherever appropriate, anyone referred to in the writings has a chance to read and reflect on the ways in which they have been represented. We also aim to take care with the politics of representation in relation to issues of gender, class, race, sexual preference, culture, ability, and age.
4. Direct relevance to practitioners
We aim for our publications to offer writings of direct relevance to practitioners. We prioritise descriptions of hopeful and helpful work which will provide practical ideas to those working in the field.
5. Seeking new authors
As much as is possible, we are always seeking to publish a significant amount of work from new authors, those who have not published their work before. Many good practitioners don’t have a sense that they could write up their work for publication, and we see it as part of our role to offer support, encouragement, and collaboration. We are particularly interested in generating opportunities for young authors and authors from perspectives/communities/cultures whose work and ideas are generally under-represented in the written word.
6. Collective processes of review to forecast possible effects of each paper
Publishing is a collective process. Prior to publication, each piece is read by a significant number of people: to try to forecast the possible effects of the paper on a range of different readers, to check accuracy, to receive feedback on how it could be improved, to address issues relating to the politics of representation, and so on. This is always invigorating. There is a sense of anticipation that is associated with receiving this initial feedback prior to the publication because people’s responses are impossible to predict. What is often most interesting are the differences in response depending upon the cultural background, gender, class, or sexuality of the reader. We wish to encourage practitioners to write about their work and so try to make their experience of submitting their work a good one. Developing a constructive formal review process for The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work has been a key part of this. Importantly, these collective processes of review also generate connections between practitioners, further enriching relationships within a community of ideas.
7. Expanding the thinking and parameters of narrative practice
Another principle involves publishing new work which expands our thinking and the parameters of narrative practice. We do not want to be simply confirming what is already familiar. Sometimes manuscripts are sent to us that introduce new therapeutic practices and ways of thinking about therapy and/or community work. At other times, one person’s dedication to a particular topic breaks new ground. This was particularly true in relation to the special issue of the Dulwich Centre Newsletter on sexual abuse by priests, therapists, and other professionals. Ann Epston (1993) was committed to raising this issue in professional networks before many others were discussing it.
We also put significant effort into researching and seeking out challenging perspectives from outside the field which will contribute to invigorating narrative practice. In recent years, the work of Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad on bi-gender, transgender perspectives (2001), and the work of America Bracho on community work approaches (2000) have significantly influenced discussions in the field through the publication of their work and their presentations at conferences. Publishing interviews with Paul Freire (1999), with leaders of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Boraine 1998), with Joan Nestle about her work with the Lesbian Herstory Archives (2003), with Noam Chomsky (1995), and others, has had the effect of stretching our thinking and inviting new conversations.
Similar challenges have also come from publishing the work of various community groups. A considerable percentage of the papers we publish are not written from the standpoint of ‘professional knowledge’ but instead contain the stories, perspectives, and ideas of those who have sought counselling, or are involved in community organising. These perspectives from ‘outside’ the professional realm make a significant contribution to refreshing and reconceptualising therapeutic practice.
8. The effects of the process of publishing
Many narrative therapists are interested in the significant effects that documentation can have within a therapeutic process. While the publications we create are by no means primarily ‘therapeutic’, we try to make the process of publication a rewarding one for authors. This is most relevant when we are documenting the stories and insider knowledges of individuals and groups who have experienced significant trauma and/or abuse. It is our experience that when care is taken around these processes, documents can be created which richly describe the skills and knowledges of the particular individual or group and that offer a great deal to therapists and community workers, while simultaneously contributing to a further reduction in the effects of trauma or abuse in the lives of the author(s) (see WOWSAFE 2002, Silent Too Long 2000, Cecily 1998).
9. Archiving history
While our primary focus remains on looking ahead and the development of new ideas, practices, and conversations, we are aware that the written word also serves as a key forum for the documentation of history. The field of narrative therapy and community work is relatively young and yet it is developing very quickly. In differing ways, our publications seek to document the history of this field. Perhaps the most obvious examples of archiving history have been Cheryl White’s A memory book for the field of narrative practice and the book Family therapy: Exploring the field’s past, present and possible futures (Denborough, 2001). We are interested in documenting the history of therapeutic and community work ideas and practices in ways that assist practitioners.
10. Responding to social issues: Comment
Finally, we also use the written word as a way to respond to current social issues. See our informal publication dedicated to this, Comment.
Many of the papers that end up being published in The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work are the result of collaborative processes between the author(s) and Dulwich Centre Publications. Many papers originate as interviews, and considerable collaboration often takes place in relation to drafts and re-writes. We greatly value the process of these collaborations and believe that these processes are as important as the final outcome.
We have a formal review process for all papers for The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. Once we are seriously considering a paper for publication we send it off for peer review by at least two members of the International Advisory Group.
This Advisory group consists of members from Mexico, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, Israel, UK, and USA.
A transparent review process
We have taken care to develop an alternative review process to the ‘blind review process’ that characterises the publication of many journals. We do not believe that anonymity is necessary in order to offer clear, honest feedback. At the same time we wish to provide reviewers with a context to be direct with us as publishers, about our publishing responsibilities.
The process we have developed is as follows:
- A couple of members of the Advisory Group are approached to formally review each major paper.
- Authors are informed as to who we have approached to formally review their paper.
- We ask reviewers a series of questions (see below) that are related to our responsibilities as publishers. The answers to these will only be read by those at Dulwich Centre Publications.
- We also ask reviewers to write a paragraph directly to the author summarising their response to the paper
- If the paper is accepted for publication, a small number of other members of the Advisory Group and/or others are asked to offer reflections on the paper. These reflections are passed directly to the author.
It is our hope that this alternative review process addresses both our responsibilities as publishers as well as trying to ensure a good experience for authors.
We don’t have strict word limits although most of the papers we publish are less than 5000 words. We believe that these matters can be negotiated in collaboration with authors down the track.
Instructions to authors and style sheet
Before submitting your manuscript, please refer to our detailed instructions to authors and style sheet. This contains everything you need to know to prepare your work to meet our publishing standards.
With all this in mind, we look forward to receiving your manuscript. This can either be posted to us: Hutt St PO Box 7192 Adelaide, SA, Australia 5000 or email us.
We look forward to reading your writing and getting back to you as soon as we can.
Cheryl White and David Denborough
Dulwich Centre Publications
Formal review questions:
These are the questions we send to reviewers to inform the peer review process.
We would appreciate your responses to the following questions. If you cannot respond to each of these questions, then please use them as a guide to your review.
- Do you think this article makes an original contribution to the field of narrative therapy and community work and/or contributes to the application of narrative ideas in unique ways?
- If so, what sort of contribution do you think it makes?
- Were there aspects of the paper that were particularly meaningful to you as a reader? If so, which sections and why?
- Were there any aspects of the paper that you either didn’t understand and/or did not agree with? If so, which sections and why?
- Are there any particular themes that the paper currently does not address that you think deserve attention?
- Do you have any concerns about the publication of this article? If so, please explain your concerns and what steps (if any) could be taken to address them.
- Do you have any reflections in relation to the writing style, clarity, organisation of the piece?
- Do you have any concerns about the accuracy of any part of the paper?
- Is there any relevant literature that is not cited that you believe would be important to cite?
- After reading this paper, are you thinking differently about any aspect of your own practice as a therapist? If so, how? What difference, if any, will the reading of this paper make to your work?
Your response to this final question will be forwarded to the author:
- If you were to convey to the author your response to this paper in a short paragraph, what would you say?
If you require editing assistance on developing or editing your paper, there is a freelance editor we recommend: Claire Nettle
Claire is an experienced writer and editor and is very familiar with narrative ideas. Please feel free to contact her. Claire is available to provide editorial assistance and can be paid directly.