What is arts-based research?

In praise of interdisciplinary indigenous intelligence…

In the previous article (re: art influencing science) I championed the efficacy and appropriateness of interdisciplinary arts-based research and practice, as opposed to merely quantitative or empirical scientific methodology, as a means towards a more holistic appreciation and application of our relationship with the animate earth. However, such a statement prompted clarification of just what that means, of what arts-based research is and how such practice might better manifest deeper understanding and more responsible behaviour among those of us in a position to chose. It further demanded that artists who wish to work in such a manner find it imperative to define, for themselves at least, what this means in an effort to impress upon others, potential collaborators and audiences alike, just what such contemporary practice offers within our globally threatened ecology.

The following aims to explore such questions not through definitive analysis or empirical qualification but through a poetic embodiment of the investigation apparent in such a reciprocal process of communication. In the spirit of such process-thought methodology it hopes to raise more questions than it answers while providing a framework within which to catalyse further thought relevant to the particular circumstance within which we each find ourselves. While enjoying imaginative escapism as much as anyone, I personally believe that any intellectual theory may best (or only) be appreciated in relation to our individual ‘material’ existence or through the practicality of personal application. Maybe such belief may best be indentified within indigenous culture and intelligence throughout our history around the world, and maybe it is simply the ways things are…

TO DRAW
(i) listen
look at
(am looked at)
touch
smell
hear
break
bend
shape
burn
wet
weigh (in my hands)
CUT
TALK
WALK
 .
where
when
with
drop
gather
carry
convey
float
throw away
throw AT
put beside
on top
beneath
away from
 
ONE
many
few
some
more
less
PATTERN
relationship
remember
share
sing
dance
make
MARK
give
take
care (for)
empathise
shake
stir
count
compute
corrupt
fight
caress
EQUATE
heavy
light
small
big
between
better
worse
judge
discriminate
evaluate
REMEMBER
(forget)
record
use
discard
keep
treasure
store
reproduce
represent
renounce
romance
relish
refuse
ACCEPT
true
false
unsure
the same
opposite
different
similar
  
commonplace
scarce
diverse
remnant
REST
able
(ignore)
disable
construct
help
shelter
feed
warmth
FIRE
heat
cold
ICE
transpiration
death
entropy
TRANSITION
tidy
order
dishevel
EXPAND
withdraw
breathe
the sun
the moon
the sea
the land
the sky
the earth
a bridge
a river
a stone
a fish
a bird
a SPIDER
a squirrel
a horse
a friend
FAMILY
 .
remorse
of course
not quite
respite
 
with thanks
 .
light
dark
day
night
seasoning
suitability
adaptability
resilience
movement
(apathy)
reassurance
fire
energy
hope
LOVE
wonder
dreams
pathway
(drawing)
REPEAT
recall
act
retreat
traces
 .
appropriate
timely
within
present
predict
aware(ness)
MIND
full
empty
 .
(ABOUT TIME)

.

All these things we do. This is how we learn about the world in which we live, from which we take, to which we give. We may call them drawing or measuring or observing or evaluating depending on what use we wish to make of them. Without physical and sensual engagement with this world how can we assess the means and sense of our relationships, the patterns of which we are an integral part? Without us the world would be a different place (but I shall feel no guilt for the part that I play). I do not deny the entity that we have become as a whole but I do not expect myself to make things better or right, to overestimate my power, nor to hinder the transition from one time to the next. I am simply learning how to respond, how to flow and weave within what is at hand, how to keep moving and growing according to my own form. Beyond which I may not react. Beyond which I may not remember your response.

What is science? What is art? Simply ways to explore and express this ongoing interaction with the world that surrounds me, that supports me, that is so much more than me (in time)…

(PS This is a work in progress and is subject to momentary and constant mutation and change…)

(PW2012)

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2 Comments on “What is arts-based research?”

  1. tarapappas says:

    Wonderful post! I look forward to reading more 🙂 Cheers!


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