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22 FEBRUARY 2012

Towards a critical discourse of practice as research

"A problem confronting many artistic researchers is related to the need for the artist to write about his or her own work in the research report or exegesis, The outcomes of such research are not easily quantifiable and it can be difficult to articulate objectively, methods processes, and conclusions that emerge from an alternative logic of practice and the intrinsically subjective dimension of artistic production. Moreover, conventional approaches and models of writing about art generally fall within the domain of criticism, a discourse that tends to focus on connoisieurial evaluation of the finished product. How then, might the artist as researcher avoid on one hand, what has been referred to as 'auto–connoisseurship', the undertaking of a thinly veiled labour of valorising what has been achieved in the creative work, or alternatively producing a research report that is mere description (Nelson 2004)?

In this paper, I suggest that a way of overcoming such a dilemma is for creative arts researchers to shift the critical focus away from the notion of the work as product, to an understanding of both studio enquiry and its outcomes as process. I will draw on Michel Foucault's essay 'What is An Author ' (Rabinow, 1991) to explore how we might move away from art criticism to the notion of a critical discourse of practice–led enquiry that involves viewing the artist as a researcher, and the artist/critic as a scholar who examines the value of artistic process as the production of knowledge. As I will demonstrate, in adopting such an approach, practitioner researchers need not ignore or negate the specificities and particularities of practice – including its subjective and emergent methodologies which I have argued elsewhere, constitute the generative strength that distinguishes artistic research from more traditional approaches Barrett, 2005). In elaborating the relationship between a these aspects and the more distanced focus made available through Foucault's elaboration of author function, I will draw on Donna Haraway's (1991, 1992) notion of 'situated knowledge' and her critique of social constructivism which reveals how the scientific method is implicated in social constructivist accounts of knowledge. It is this alignment, suggests Haraway,that results in the effacement of particularities of experience from which situated knowledges emerge. In order to ground and illustrate the arguments and ideas presented in this paper, I will also refer to Pablo Picasso's, Demioselles d''Avignon and a selection of critical commentaries on this work by Leo Steinberg (1988), William Rubin (1994) and Lisa Florman (2003)."

(Estelle Barrett, 2006)

Barrett, E. (2006) "Foucault's 'What is an Author': towards a critical discourse of practice as research". Working Papers in Art and Design Vol 4 Retrieved from URL http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol4/ebfull.html ISSN 1466–4917

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TAGS

2006academic writingart criticismartist • artist as researcher • artist as scholar • artistic processartistic research • auto-connoisseurship • connoisseur • connoisseurshipcontribution to knowledge • creative arts researchers • creative problem solvingcreative work • critic as scholar • design processDonna Haraway • emergent methodologies • established research strategiesEstelle Barrettexegesis • finished product • Leo Steinberg • Lisa Florman • Michel FoucaultPablo Picassopractitioner researcherproblem solving researchproduction of knowledge • research report • scientific methodsituated knowledgessocial constructivismstudio enquiry • subjective methodologies • traditional research • What is An Author • William Rubin • Working Papers in Art and Design • writing about creative work

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 SEPTEMBER 2011

Social Sciences Arts and Humanities Research Institute: research into practice

"Art and Design, History of Art, Architecture and Design, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Music"

(University of Hertfordshire, School of Creative Arts)

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TAGS

applied researchart and designartistic practicearts and humanitiescreative practicecritical theory • fine art practices • Hertfordshirejournalmakers of thingspractice as research • practice-as • practice-basedpractice-ledpractitionerproduction of knowledge • propositional knowledge • research • research cluster • research groups • research into practice • role of the university • scholarshipSchool of Creative Artssocial sciences • SSAHRI • studio-based • studio-led • theory building • UH journals • University of Hertfordshirevisual artsWorking Papers in Art and Design • Working Papers on Design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 SEPTEMBER 2011

Innovation and the Developing System of Knowledge Production

"The relevant contrast here is between problem solving which is carried out following the codes of practice relevant to a particular discipline and problem solving which is organised around a particular application. In the former, the context is defined in relation to the cognitive and social norms that govern basic research or academic science. Latterly, this has tended to imply knowledge production carried out in the absence of some practical goal. In Mode 2, by contrast, knowledge results from a broader range of considerations. Such knowledge is intended to be useful to someone whether in industry or government, or society more generally and this imperative is present from the beginning. Knowledge thus produced is always produced under an aspect of continuous negotiation, i.e. it will not be produced unless and until the interest of the various actors are included. Such is the context of application. Application, in this sense is not product development carried out for industry and the processes or markets that operate to determine what knowledge is produced are much broader than is normally implied when one speaks about taking ideas to the market place. Nonetheless, knowledge production in Mode 2 is the outcome of a process in which supply and demand factors can be said to operate, but the sources of supply are increasingly diverse, as are the demands for differentiated forms of specialist knowledge Such processes or markets specify what we mean by the context of application. Because they include much more than commercial considerations, it might be said that in Mode 2 science is both in the market but also gone beyond it! In the process, knowledge production becomes diffused throughout society. That is why we also speak of socially distributed knowledge. Research carried out in the context of application might be said to characterise a number of disciplines in the applied sciences and engineering – e.g. chemical engineering, aeronautical engineering or, more recently, computer science. Historically these sciences became established in universities but, strictly speaking, they cannot be called applied sciences, because it was precisely the lack of the relevant science that called them into being. They were genuinely new forms of knowledge though not necessarily of knowledge production because, they too, soon became the sites of disciplinary–based knowledge production in the style of Mode 1. These applied disciplines share with Mode 2 some aspects of the attribute of knowledge produced in the context of application. But, in Mode 2 the context is more complex. It is shaped by a more diverse set of intellectual and social demands than was the case in many applied sciences while it may give rise to genuine basic research."

(Michael Gibbons)

TAGS

academic disciplines • academic science • aeronautical engineering • applied disciplines • applied sciencesbasic researchchemical engineering • codes of practice • cognitive norms • computer science • diffused throughout society • disciplinary-based knowledge production • engineeringforms of knowledgeinnovationknowledgeknowledge production • Michael Gibbons • Mode 1Mode 2 • Mode 2 science • new forms of knowledge • problem-solvingproduction of knowledgescience • sciences • social demands • social norms • socially distributed knowledge • specialist knowledge • system of knowledge production

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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