Art as Research

If we engage in artmaking as research we use art to explore and express our experience of the world. It is personal research, not quantitative research. But, like scientific research, it makes knowledge available which can be understood.

This image below is immediately known to us. The art making is the research subject and object, but the meaning of the research varies from person to person. The experience is subjective because art is subjective. Art is good at researching subjective things.

A very good video about art as research. At the beginning, Andrew talks about his research living in the liminal spaces between things, here, between art and science.

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Art as Research

Exploring Our World with Art

Making art as a way to explore and express experience of the world shifts the emphasis from viewing art to doing art. Art is made but the art maker becomes consciously aware of the process of making art as much as the product, the artform they create.

All art making has an element of research. Children experiment with making marks. In the privacy of the shower we may explore how we sound when we sing when nobody can hear us. A painter will seek information from paint makers about the time it takes for paint to dry or how it may work on different media. All artists are researchers. They research the form and content of their art, be they writing a novel or painting a portrait. Artists ask questions. But usually the research is done to make an finished artwork.

As a way of working, art as exploration or art as research has roots in the arts therapies, in formal post-gradute arts based research and in theatre and performance used educationally and developmentally. Art is made but each artwork becomes a token or image of an ongoing journey of exploration, or the findings of personal research.

And whilst, as ever with art, there are no clear boundaries between things, and no clear cut definitions of things, art as exploration or research has a lot to offer individuals interested in exploration and discovery. In particular, art as exploration and research has a lot to offer outdoor and experiential learning. Moving Space and movingspace.blog can, hopefully, contribute to seeking new ways of working with art indoors and outdoors.

In Practice as Research – Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, Estelle Barrett talks about art as research being a thing of doing and the senses. It’s findings are subjective, emergent, situational, changeable and ambiguous in their nature, because art is these things. Outdoor experiences are the same. Art as research could offer ways of gaining insight into outdoor experiences, personally and academically.

Through movingspace.blog and Moving Space Productions it is hoped new dialogues, collaborations and direct work may emerge.