Affective digital presence: how to free online writing and drawing?

19 March 2024
Academic articles

Abstract or Description

Online learning can be an alienating experience; students can feel their emotions are disregarded, marginalized or even viewed as hindrances as they try to motivate themselves to learn, staring at the dancing pixels of their illuminated screens. They feel at a remove from other students, trapped in other rooms, far away from them. The closeness of bodies in a shared physical space is raised as an absence. And yet, we contend in this article that connecting with affect in online learning spaces could build connectivity that counteracts the alienation of social distancing. Raw creative affective discourses can be challenging, and uncomfortable for others to take in but they are necessary online. We show that using non-digital practices such as drawing and writing freely, without inhibitions, can immeasurably enhance the online experience, giving a space for affect to be expressed in a safe but emancipatory learning architecture.


Gilbert, Francis and Matthews, Miranda. 2021. Affective digital presence: how to free online writing and drawing? Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 14(2), 29. ISSN 1753-5190 [Article]

Gilbert_main article addressing peer reviewer comments FGMM final version July 2021.pdf – Accepted Version
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