practice and research

On the same trip to Malta I also got to spend a couple of afternoons with the undergraduate dance cohort at University of Malta. One of the sesssions was about practice and research. Tough sell.

The session was an experiment really and throughout the session I started working on a whiteboard as they were working with tasks, feeding back, etc. This is what the board looked like at the end.

corporeal epistemics

I was in Malta last week for the Performance Knowledges conference. We got through the first day and then the conference folded as travel bans and quarantines were imposed. It was a shame — the first day was provocative and I was so looking forward to hearing more of people’s research.

My presentation explored ideas to do with epistemology, datafication and the things we can and can’t say about body-based practice. But, it never happened, so instead yesterday I made and published a desktop presentation version:

If you’d prefer you can download a PDF transcript of the presentation at

The project page is over on my personal site at

learning and knowing by doing

By adopting an explicitly apprentice-style method, or by actively engaging in the practices they study (see, e.g., Lee & Ingold 2006; Retsikas 2008), the contributors to this volume have developed their individual understandings about learning and knowing by ‘doing’ what they study. Cultivating such understanding, as they convincingly convey, demands long [p.S11] immersion, perceptual and kinaesthetic awareness, careful reflection, persistent questioning, and a constant probing of the complex and multiple factors that constitute any field of practice.

— Marchand, T.H.J., 2010. Making knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between minds, bodies, and environment. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16, S1–S21.

(Let me know if you can’t track down a copy of Marchand’s introduction).

scoping project on supervision

This is a scoping project around practice-based PhD supervision:

The project seems to have initially been a 6 month thing, but posts run from February 2010 to November 2018.

I haven’t had a good look (and not quite sure how I missed it) but it has a great range of contributors, and an enormous amount of material presented through the posts.

articulating process

I read this statement the other day:

In the spirit of practice-led research the artworks in this article articulate process.

— Anne Scott Wilson, 2016. Technology as collaborator in somatic photographic practice. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices 8, 11–19.

I’m curious about the extent to which ‘articulating process’ is merely a truism of practice-research. Who said that this is the spirit of practice-led research? Or is it simply an unquestioned convention?

In part I worry that we end up reifying process in the way that Barthes warns us about method:

Some people speak of method greedily, demandingly; what they want in work is method; to them it never seems rigorous enough, formal enough. Method becomes a Law …. The invariable fact is that a work which constantly proclaims its will-to-method is ultimately sterile: everything has been put into the method, nothing remains for the writing; the researcher insists that his text will be methodological, but this text never comes: no surer way to kill a piece of research and send it to join the great scrap heap of abandoned projects than Method.

— Roland Barthes, (1986). The Rustle of Language (R. Howard, Trans.). New York: Hill and Wang, p.318.