culture of research

Long time between posts …

I went to Becky Hilton’s workshop at Independent Dance back in December. It was a rich and playful weekend.

At one stage we were each given a certain amount of time to ask something or do something (I forget now). The group was quite mixed – artists, people just starting out on PhDs, others working in academia – and I asked them a question:

What is this culture of research doing (or has done) to art, performance and dance?

Someone said that it had given them time and space to work (perhaps this was referring to doing a PhD?), another felt that it had made the climate more competitive (perhaps this was about academia?). My sense is that the academic climate has become more competitive in general (after all, competition and neoliberalism are old pals:, and that it would be hard to say that a culture of reseach has done this to the arts.

Another person mentioned that the Arts Council still thinks of research in terms of research and development. That research is the thing you do before you get to make the piece.

Becky described her sense of the “continuity of community” that the research culture has made possible. Reading between the lines I’d imagine that this – at least in part – has to do with the responsibility of engaging with communities of practice that is vital to research processes and practices.

And another person mentioned that they felt that research in the arts had become an antidote to R&D and projects. I like this, that research enables us to rethink the ways in which we pursue our curiosity and imaginations.

2 Replies to “culture of research”

  1. The more I do art as research the more I am assured art is research. And that means being in a state of research as a state of health based on being curious. I did work once where a group of us looked for definitions of healthiness, but could only find definitions of unhealth or illness. One of the few we found defining health, listed ‘curiosity’ as s sign of wellbeing.


  2. Thanks for your comment Chris and really great to hear your thoughts. I’m not so sure that *all* art is research (this comes from experiences of seeing people grapple with framing their artwork as research — but perhaps that’s a different more bureaucratic problem), but I so like what you say about curiosity as a sign of wellness. I wonder if people have written about the links between curiosity and asking questions …

    Thanks again.


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