What Is Your Methodology?
How would you define your practice in relation to the notion of practice as research, practice-based and practice-led research?
My current MA Practice is drawing on both practice-based research and practice-led research.
The final output of my practice will be an animated film which will be shaped by the research I have gathered. Because my research results in a new creative artifact it can be defined as practice-based research. The animated film that draws on my extensive research is a contribution to new knowledge in the illustration industry. Because I have engaged with a reflective research process in tandem with developing the film I will be able to clearly write about it in the context of the history, cultures and theories of my discipline, making the artifact available for academic criticism.
A knowledge artefact is a special kind of representation meeting the following additional conditions: it is intended by a subject to inform an audience and an audience can recognise that it is intended to inform. (Scrivener, 2002)
At the same time one of my key research questions involves looking at the practical techniques employed by mid-century illustrators, identifying commonality and examining the resurgence of their distinctive style in contemporary illustration. Another question looks at how designers integrate folk influences into their practice. Another looks at how contemporary illustrators are using their work as a platform to promote environmental conservation. My findings from this research will not result in an artistic artifact but will further my understanding of my area of interest within the discipline. By recording my findings in an academic way I will be able to share them with my peers in order to have them critiqued, analysed and hopefully, ultimately contribute new knowledge to the discipline.
It is believed that artistic research processes are often iterative or cyclic. Do you agree? What is your understanding of the iterative cyclic web model illustrated in the introduction to ‘Smith, H. & Dean, R. (2009) Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts’?
I agree that artistic research processes are often iterative. My understanding of the iterative cyclic web diagram is that when striving to produce innovative work that there isn’t a hard distinction between research and practice. Instead the two elements work in tandem. It reminds me of the process of prototyping ideas in the interaction design discipline. There is a constant back and forth between research and action, analysing findings and reflecting on the best next course of action at each junction. In this way more developed learnings can be integrated into practice as the project progresses. Equally the creative output of practice can be reexamined and its context reappraised on a regular basis, ensuring that the practitioner retains clarity of their objectives.
How is a given methodology relevant to your own research proposal?
Experimental Studies in the form of studio research where I will look at the printing processes employed by Mid-Century designers and analyse how the warmth and human qualities of their work can be replicated in a digital environment.
One methodology or more methodologies? Would you use multiple methodologies in your research? Why?
I am open to using more methodologies if it is appropriate to do so. I am conscious of being a beginner in research terms and would rather employ one appropriate methodology well to begin with and then re-examine the appropriateness of others as I progress. I can see the benefit in collecting research using multiple methods as it is more likely to provide me with a broader view and understanding of a research subject than I could extract from a singular source and lessen the likelihood of overlooking key pieces of information.
Scrivener, S. (2002) ‘The art object does not embody a form of knowledge.’ Working Papers in Art and Design 2. [Online] Available from – https://www.herts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/12311/WPIAAD_vol2_scrivener.pdf [Accessed: 23rd April]
FRAYLING, C. (1993) ‘Research in Art and Design.’ Royal College of Art Research Papers [Online] Vol. 1/ No. 1 Available from – http://www.transart.org/wp-content/uploads/group-documents/79/1372332724-Frayling_Research-in-Art-and-Design.pdf [Accessed on 23rd April 2017]
Sullivan, G. (2010) Art practice as research: Inquiry in visual arts. Second Edition. Pennsylvania State University, USA: Sage Publishing.