transmission interruption: hard drives fail

Hard drives fail.
They do.
This of course has nothing to do with practice-as-research but I’ve heard so many cases recently of people working in the academy who have lost hours, days, even weeks of work simply because they have the (very mistaken) belief that hard drives are infallible.
The worst thing about hard drive failure is that often you get no indication that it’s happening. One moment all is good, the next all is not good.
There is nothing you can really do to stop hard drives failing.
But, you can have a simple backup system that builds in redundancy in case of theft, fire, digital fuck-ups, document corruption[1] or of course hard drive failure.
Here are some backup basics courtesy of the NY Times:

Other thoughts/ideas:
– make a copy of the main document (or documents) you are working on (e.g. PhD thesis) every day and then archive the old version (which will get backed up using your awesome automated backup system), give the new version today’s date and get started
– use automated backup (e.g. Time Machine on Mac OS)
– use cloud based syncing software (e.g. Dropbox) as a fall-back backup system. Services like Dropbox are really for syncing, not backup
– use at least two external hard drives for different backups (i.e. external hard drives fail as well!)
– it will happen to you (some day)

Normal practice-as-research service will resume next week.

  1. Documents get corrupted all the time, but my experience is that it is more likely the more complex (and more precious) the document is (e.g. PhD thesis)!  ↩

call for submissions – jar

I can’t find any direct link to this call for submissions for the Journal for Artistic Research, but here are some basic details.

Call for Submissions: JAR Issue 14 – Autumn 2017

The deadline for consideration is 17 March 2017

To be considered for Peer Review, the editorial board considers:

1. Whether the exposition exposes artistic practice as research. This goes beyond simply documenting, describing, or writing about work. It engages with questions and claims about knowledge within practice. For a detailed articulation of this please read the editorial to JAR0.
2. The degree to which the exposition is conceptually and artistically strong, considered, and significant to the field.
3. Whether the multimedia and design capacities of the RC have been used effectively and meaningfully to support the argument or understanding of the research.

To submit an article, contributors are required to register for an account on the RC and use the online writing space to layout and expose their research. JAR provides editorial and technical guidance with these processes.

For our guidelines on submissions visit:

For submissions information, and advice on whether your research is suitable for JAR, contact the Managing Editor, Phoebe Stubbs, at

journal of embodied research

Journal of Embodied Research is the first peer-reviewed, open access, academic journal to focus specifically on the innovation and dissemination of embodied knowledge through the medium of video.

It will be very interesting to see how the journal pans out, and in particular what conversations emerge out of how we might understand embodiment in relation to screen-based performance and work.



intermedial praxis

Joanne Scott has had a book published called Intermedial Praxis and Practice as Research: ‘Doing-Thinking’ in Practice, which seems to be based on her practice-as-research doctoral research at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. There is also a companion website at

I still worry about how few examples of practice-as-research there are for current MA-level and PhD students so I’m delighted that Joanne has taken the time and care to make this happen.

The blurb on the publishing site says “Provides first hand observations of theory in action”. Is this what practice-as-research attempts to do?

Joanne’s personal site is at

future practice research blog

Blog about practiceresearch:

Here’s a sample:

Firstly, that I was not alone in wanting to move on from the defensive positions cultivated over the last 20 years. The proposal to focus on the future chimed with my own belief that the argument that ‘practice matters’ had been won (at least administratively). Secondly, the move away from the micro-politics of practice as/through/based/led was particularly welcome. I am therefore an out and out convert. ‘Practice Research’ works for me. It focuses on the wider issues related to how researchers share, apply and critique knowledge borne of practice.

— Rachel Hann,

citations in digital era

These ideas by Patrick Dunleavy are not at all limited to practice-as-research but seems pretty useful.

I like the idea of grey literature:

(that is, conference papers, working papers, reports, media sources, blogs and shorter or less formally published materials generally)

Academic references have stayed the same for too long, so that right across the world, and across most disciplines, students and academics are still solemnly recording useless citation information (e.g. place of publication for global publishers) and not recording vital information (e.g. where to access the open access version of the cited text).

View story at

Patrick Dunleavy has published a longer set of arguments for why citation practices need to change here:

You can follow Dunleavy on twitter at and on medium at

Ongoing sensitisation 

I think I use practice in different ways. It’s a daily thing, the practice of my body. The practice of reading and the practice of writing as things that are my ongoing sensitization. Being sharper, interested, available.

Thinking of my idea, or mind, as something that is already material and trying to make it into another material in order to handle it differently. To touch it, be able to work with it. I find that through practice you can produce a certain know-how that is so specific to the idea. That’s why I find it interesting with practice. The know-how is so embedded in the body more than on the paper.

— Rosalind Goldberg,

giving up on par

In 2013 I wrote and presented a paper at Roehampton Dance called “Giving up on practice-as-research”. I thought some of the ideas might be interesting, provocative or even just plain useful. A lot of the latter part of the paper (which is where it gets a little more interesting) came out of reading Issue 14 of TEXT.

Here’s an exercept:

One of the key questions in traditional practice-as-research is what it is that is known as a consequence of doing it. But what if this is the wrong problem? In other words, if artistic research is stripped of the assumption that we ought to be addressing questions, then perhaps we are freed from the container of knowledge-building and can get back to the work of doing what it is that artists do.


“If a concept can be captured clearly in academic writing as a question, what would be the point of making art with it?” – Lachlan MacDowall [1]


What if, in the context of artists developing and making work within the academy, we were to abandon (research) questions altogether as a flawed idea and inappropriate practice?


I find this hard to fathom or imagine. I’ve long used processes of questioning as a means not only to bolster my standing, but also as a means of delaying taking a stance on understanding. How could research be research if it didn’t involve research questions? What kinds of outcomes might be developed if they are not the result of some kind of questioning?


Writing about the art of the exegesis, Danny Butt, describes what he calls the worst situation of all as:


“interesting practices (de)formed into ‘research questions’ that the works are then supposed to answer. Duchamp did his best to dissuade such thinking, believing that ‘there is no solution, because there is no problem.’ Now the need to find problems to satisfy a demand for academic rigour seems to be the problem.” – Danny Butt[2]

Here’s a link to the entire paper: Giving Up on PaR

  1. MacDowall, Lachlan. 2012. “Art and Knowledge Systems: Teaching Research Methods.” Text. October.  ↩
  2. Butt, Danny. 2012. “The Art of the Exegesis.” Mute. April 10.  ↩