I thought it might be useful to drop in the module learning outcomes here – just fyi, but also to help give you a sense (now that we are almost done) of the various foci of this module:
- Developed an awareness of recent debate within the field of practice as research
- Acquired the skills with which to question the nature of research in relation to performance and creative practice
- Demonstrated ability in the articulation and documentation of process towards the creation of choreography and performance
- Developed their ability to embody ideas and research questions in performance and/or choreographic practice
Here’s a kind of review of some of the key aspects of practice-as-research as we’ve been discussing (or will be discussing). They are written off the top of my head so maybe you can consider (and comment on) some things you think I might have missed?
- emergence: the research emerges from the activity and actions of practice.
- modes of practice: practice can take many forms, modes and ways (it isn’t necessarily studio-based). But, any kind of practice (including writing, or simply thinking) involves degrees of corporeality.
- iteration: the process involves cycles of doing/practice, reflection, enquiry. Questioning and building on the substantiality, materiality and ‘traces’ of your work (remember, forget, alter, transition)
- relational: in the work we identify different relationships with other ideas, people, practices, scholarship and artistic work. The work we do is always in relation to others, and the terms of those relationships are part of how you understand the value of what we do. This might also be thought of how you frame or position your work in relation to others, and how their work influences or infects/affects your practice/thinking
- practice-theory: how might this not be a binary? Where can practice-theory occur and what are the limits, surprises, assumptions and possibilities of these terms? How can practice-as-research contribute to and test the temptation to isolate or simplify the conditions under which these terms are understood, articulated and worked?
- inquisitive: questioning and challenging ourselves, our peers, our contemporaries, our histories, our assumptions
- writing: open approach to writing (in many forms, including scholarly thinking/discourse), and how writing is another form of practice and is interdependent with physical practice
- adaptation: openness to change (adaptation) and recognising what is ‘in front’ of you
- ways of knowing: the epistemological terrain of practice-as-research has more to do with understandings than findings. What might we understand differently as as consequence of ongoing practice, and how might these understandings feed back into (and build) the development of practices, ideas, and the edges of performance?
- remembering: what are the ways we might remember/document/archive and make available our practices to the world at large (or at small), and which ways are most appropriate to the work we are doing? What are the limits and possibilities of modes of documentation, and how do we give others access to our work?
- attention: on what emerges from practice, and recognising what is important or significant. It is somewhere between relaxation and desperation
Any thoughts or responses? Anything I’ve missed out that has been important for your understanding and work?
I understand that processes of research (and indeed learning) are fundamentally tied to how we reflect on, recognise, and challenge our assumptions.
If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.
– Miguel Ruiz
I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.
— Abraham Maslow
This is a definition of practice-as-research that I wrote a while back (and that I posted in class on Monday). What makes sense to you? What is less certain? What have I missed? How might it be more clear?
Practice as research is a hybrid research method that artists (who are often — but not necessarily — working in Universities) use to develop understanding of the role and significance of their artistic practices. It places artistic work at the centre of research, during which artists examine their practice in relation to the work of other practitioners and philosophical and critical thinking. This balance — between deep internal reflection and engaging ‘outwardly’ with the world as artists and humans — is vital. Practice as research generates projects that challenge our assumptions about the nature of artistic processes and work. Its outcomes are often multi-modal including moving and still images, web-based formats, and alternative forms of writing.
— Simon Ellis