This comment was written by Sara Penrhyn Jones on 22 Aug 2016.

Creative Practice as Research: Discourse on Methodology

At what point does the research question emerge?

This whole discussion is extremely useful and interesting (thanks). Speaking from personal experience, the interdisciplinary project that I have worked on that felt most coherent and grounded in 'the real world' was encountered through activist/digital media practice. This predated my employment as a research-active university lecturer, but grew into a funded AHRC project. I think that it is significant that the practice/encounter came first. It was a few years later that research questions were formulated (to secure funding for more filming etc). For the questions to be relevant and important to all participants (especially when working with individuals and partners in the community) I would really recommend 'practice first'. Encounter a situation or problem first (or whatever analogy is suitable for your own artistic medium. e.g.: through a lens, or as a writing experiment) experience this and 'listen', then let the questions follow, before upscaling your creative activity. To force research questions first, before any such experience or encounter means that they are not arising from the practice. In some ways, inventing research questions first can again be an overly defensive strategy to 'justify' creative research as valid. It also seems to close off potentially unexplored, more important or resonant areas of focus.

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