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“Practice as research submission is comprised of multiple modes of evidence reflecting a multi – mode research enquiry. It is likely to include a product; documentation of process; complimentary writing which includes localising practice and a lineage of influences and a conceptual framework for the research.  The practice, whatever it may be, is at the heart of the methodology of the project and is presented as a substantial evidence of new insights. Where work is ephemeral it is ideal if the practice can be experienced directly in any assessment process. In the context of UK PhD is it is now firmly established that the examiners experience the practice at first hand, typically making an additional visit prior to viva voce examination for [this] purpose.”  --- Robin Nelson


"Within the context of knowledge-production, social relations are after all, implicated in almost every disciplinary field. How to fully realise and exploit, rather than apologise for this ineluctable interdisciplinary dimension of creative arts research, is a question that needs to be repeatedly fore-grounded in practice as research discourse and training. Roland Barthes’ view that interdisciplinary study or enquiry creates a new object that belongs to no one (Newell 1988) provides a rationale for acknowledging the innovative potential of the fluid location and application of creative arts research approaches and outcomes. The juxtaposing of disparate objects and ideas has, after all, often been viewed as an intrinsic aspect of creativity. The interplay of ideas from disparate areas of knowledge in creative arts research creates conditions for the emergence of new analogies, metaphors and models for understanding objects of enquiry. Hence the capacity of artistic research for illuminating subject matter of both the artistic domain as well as that belonging to other domains and disciplines of knowledge." ---  Estelle Barrett (Introduction)


"In his recent book Art Practice as Research (2005), Graeme Sullivan notes that for those who argue that art making is research, the explanatory exegesis is redundant (Sullivan 2005: 92). Whilst I have concerns with the descriptive and explanatory exegesis, I would suggest that practice-only postgraduate research can disable practice-led research by confusing practice with praxical knowledge and severing the link between the artwork and the work of art. It is my contention that it is art as a mode of revealing and as a material productivity, not just the artwork that constitutes creative arts research. It is not, as Carter maintains, about ‘mastering the rhetorical game of theorising what artists do’ (Carter 2004: xiii). Rather it is much more concerned with articulating what has emerged or what has been realised through the process of handling materials and ideas, and what this emergent knowledge brings to bear on the discipline." --- Barbara Bolt (Chapter 2, The Magic is in the Handling)


 

“The main argument I make in this book is that within institutional settings and higher education, the art studio can be seen as a site for research. Furthermore, art practice and all its various forms can be cognitively argued to be a form of research that can stand up to academic and art while scrutiny. Within the current professional, vocational, and educational demands there is an increasing expectation that visual arts and arts education faculty and students are able to undertake research, grounded in the studio, that is credible and sustainable. Therefore, approaches to visual arts research needs to be positioned relative to existing frameworks but not be overshadowed by them. The thesis presented in ‘Art Practice as Research’ is that visual research methods can be foregrounded within the practices of the studios and that these are robust enough to satisfy rigorous institutional benchmarks and demanding artworld expectations.” --- Graeme Sullivan, 2010

Practice as Research (PaR) involves a research project in which practice is a key method of inquiry and where, in respect of the arts, a practice is submitted as substantial evidence of research enquiry. Practice as research arises only where an insightful practice is submitted as a substantial part of the evidence of a research enquiry. Practice as Research is not just a matter for arts practitioner – researchers; educational, ethnographic and many other disciplinary practices may equally follow the Practice as Research model to be proposed.  


 

Drawn from Drawn from ‘Art as Research’ section of James Bulley & Özden Şahin (eds.) Practice Research - Report 1: What is practice research? and Report 2: How can practice research be shared?. (London: PRAG-UK, 2021); Mick Wilson and Schelte van Ruiten, eds. SHARE handbook for artistic research education. ELIA European League of Institutes of the Arts, 2013 and  Robin Nelson’s Practice as Research in the Arts, 2013

PRACTICE AS RESEARCH

Bibliography/links

 

Robin Nelson,  Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. (Springer, 2013)


Estelle Barrett, and Barbara Bolt, eds. Practice as research. (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014)


Graeme Sullivan, "Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts" (Sage, 2010, 2nd edition)