Scoping the Research Field

From the last session, we were asked to reflect on how our creative work changes when we do it as research. For me, I am prone to do very little creative work as research and get sucked into the details of artist research and presentation, whilst doing very little practical work. This is a habit I’m working on changing now I have a sketchbook that I am eager to fill. What i have noticed in changing my approach to creative practice is that I can be more focused on what I want to achieve. I’ll have an idea, then experiment with materials and expand upon my original idea. Through experimentation, I have come to different outcomes that I initially thought I would have and have found other processes along the way that have changed the direction of what I’m doing.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the discussion in the morning due to illness, but it was discussed that there are often no changes in how creative work changes when it is done as research, depending on how you’re used to working. It also allows for more opportunities for conscious experimentation and challenge what you already assume about your practice.

They then moved on to looking at how to develop research questions based upon your practice, interests and intentions. It is perfectly normal to not quite know what these are, but that is a step to be taken in research development. We were introduced to a process of generating questions.

 

Sketchbook 29/10/17 (1) ©Hollie Woodward 2017
Sketchbook 29/10/17 (1) ©Hollie Woodward 2017

I managed to catch up with this process of generating questions this week and found the task really helpful. I was fairly confident that my research questions were relatively solid but I have noticed that during creative practice, other questions are popping up and wanted to address them. The first step of the generating questions process was to create a circle of words related to our area of interest, around 20-30 or more and from them, we can generate questions using some of those keywords. I started to ask the same question but written differently I think, but I then started to take different outlooks and really look at what words I had written to see what the connection between them are in a different light.

Sketchbook 29/10/17 (2) ©Hollie Woodward 2017
Sketchbook 29/10/17 (2) ©Hollie Woodward 2017

We were then asked to answer some of these questions using free writing (writing without consciously forming sentences) to see what other questions this process brings up. I noticed that my answers were pretty emotional and raw, particularly when looking at my relationship with my illness. This is where I have the most material and I think exploring that further (which I have already started to do) will be really beneficial for informing the direction of my practice. My questions also covered how my work will be presented and my audience. I have looked at this before and easily get hung up on what the final work will look like, but in my tutorials I have been encouraged to not focus on that yet. I want to make myself the audience for the time being (creating work for myself) but still sharing my processes online to get feedback. From there, I can see what translating I may have to do to make my work more accessible, if I want it to be.

Sketchbook 29/10/17 (3) ©Hollie Woodward 2017
Sketchbook 29/10/17 (3) ©Hollie Woodward 2017

 

From this process, I then had new questions and created this page in my sketchbook that I can keep referring back to. This time I questions were asking different things, all of which I feel are relevant to my research project. I am interested not only in the invisibility of this condition, but the unnecessarily long winded process of getting diagnosed as well as it being misunderstood by health professionals; not all medical professionals “believe” in the condition. This process was incredibly helpful on realising and articulating clearly what I am interested in.

Presentation of research Questions

We also worked in groups to discuss each others research questions. This was a really interesting process as all of our projects were different but the connections between them were there. We also came from different backgrounds and are on different courses on the MA so getting different work styles into the mix of answering these research questions was enlightening. I was very lucky to have a group that are incredibly knowledgeable and open to work with me and chip in ideas. It also became apparent that through discussion some group members could relate to my illness as they know people with the same condition or suffer with a similar condition themselves. There seems to largely be a foundation of some understanding in my project with the people I have discussed it with so far, so it isn’t entirely alien to everyone. This was encouraging, knowing I’m not in my own little bubble and have to try to interpret this for others.

After we heard every group’s presentation, we were able to make connections with other students as we were looking at similar things or we felt our research crosses over in places. I have since created a database accessible to every MA student, where they can fill in their details such as social media links, contact details and research sites, so new collaborations can be built. Overall, this was an incredibly helpful and useful process and has helped me direct my future practice.

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