The purpose of reading the literatures is to ascertain what is known about a particular topic. We read to see the categories that are used by others to sort, sift, foreground and background the field. We look to see what previous work has been mobilized and what has been ignored. We evaluate the methods used to generate the data and the argument; we might ask, for example, who are the research participants – how many, when, where and how were they involved? We also look to see what view of knowledge underpins each text. Taken together, these and similar questions allow us to compare and contrast, and to develop a view of the ‘clumps’ of literatures which share common characteristics or approaches.
– Pat Thomson, http://patthomson.net/2015/08/21/working-with-literatures-phdknowhow/
In practice-as-research the same goes for placing one’s creative work within an appropriate field (or fields) of practice. The literature review is instead a field review which in itself might include various forms of practice: writing, text, installation, film, performance, etc.
What is clear is that many more PhDs are being undertaken through practice, and many of these students are being supervised by academics who undertook their own doctoral studies through practice. The landscape is slowly shifting as confidence in the value of practice as a means to generate knowledge grows.
Lee Miller reports back on the Talking about Practice Symposium at Plymouth University in February 2016.
I was given a little book called La Danza Del Futuro by Jaime Conde-Salazar and in it he writes:
The dance of the future has to do with the idea of the ‘project’, i.e. a research that is conducted throughout time and that assumes the typical uncertainty of any process of knowledge production. it is built as a net of entangled events, questions, experiences and contexts that form a kind of living organism that is constantly transforming. This is why it increasingly refers to and feeds off the specific circumstances in which it takes place and the ways in which life and the work crystallize in a specific time throughout a given time. In this way, dance expands its limits beyond the typical performance settings, beyond the authorized work contexts, and beyond the spaces that the bourgeois capitalist cultures have assigned to art and culture.
This blog isn’t about dance per se, but if you were to trade the word dance with whatever it is that is at the heart of your practice (theatre, dramaturgy, reading, whatever) then Jaime’s thinking (inadvertently) does a pretty good job of describing the possibilities and limitations of practice-as-research.
Other related reading that is possibily related, both by Bojana Kunst: