Towards an inventive ethics of carefull risk: Unsettling research through DIY academic archiving

Niamh Moore*, Nikki Dunne, Martina Karels, Mary Hanlon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we call for an inventive ethics of care-full risk for qualitative research. While methodological experimentation is widely welcomed across the social sciences, there is little talk of innovation in ethical principles and practice. We argue that research ethics is an ‘invented tradition’ (Hobsbawm 2012), which has become unquestioned convention. We take up the archiving and reuse of qualitative research data as a challenging, yet compelling, site of methodological innovation, where ethical considerations often appear as an insurmountable barrier. Ethical concerns about informed consent and anonymity, given unknown future use of data, and commitments to destroying data to protect research participants, appear undone by calls to share data. We take up the work of community archives, feminist and queer archivists and archival theory, as generative sites for developing an archival imaginary for researchers. We recount how we came to unsettle ethical practice through creating a ‘DIY academic archive’, a digital open access research archive, Clayoquot Lives: An Ecofeminist Story Web ( Against a paternalistic research culture of risk avoidance, we argue that care always involves risk. An inventive feminist ethic of care-full risk can resource new ethical research, reimagining research by embracing the risk of caring for data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-199
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number108
Early online date27 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Dec 2021


  • care-full risk
  • DIY academic archiving
  • feminist ethic of care
  • inventive ethics
  • open data
  • research ethics
  • reuse of qualitative data


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