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Practice-as-Research Workshop

By Paniyiota Demetriou

On Friday 26th January, Dr Paul Geary and I facilitated a full-day intensive Practice-as-Research workshop at Corsham Court. This was organised and co-hosted by the Research Development office at BSU, together with the Centre for Culture and Creative Industries (CCCI). It was great to be able to discuss our research, share and exchange knowledge and creative approaches, and most importantly, our concerns about practice as research.

The workshop audience was a mix of postgraduate researchers, research support staff as well as faculty members, both lecturers and professors. When planning the workshop we didn’t envisage such a turnout, and so when the registrations started coming in it was a great surprise.

In reflecting on the actual structure of the workshop and content, I think that the number of participants combined with the many different levels of research experience made the content and engagement much richer, and provided for deeper and more thought-provoking discussions.

Workshop programme

Topics covered

Our workshop was divided into sections:

  • Introduction to PAR
  • Terminologies
  • Research questions (RQ)
  • RQ examples
  • Methodologies: convergence vs divergence
  • Research Methodology 1
  • Research Methodology 2: intuitive inquiry
  • Process vs output
  • Requirements of creative practice outputs
  • Mapping PAR
  • Reading list

“Experience is researched and expressed through creative process and intuitive inquiry researches the creative process.”

Half of the day was dedicated to introducing attendees to the historical, sociocultural and political trajectory of PAR, and encouraging discussions on the issues with practice as research.

After lunch, we recontextualised a research activity to find different perspectives on the work, focusing on methodologies of the creative process. These involved planned/structured work and activities that occur through creative fluidity and intuition, as well as unstructured work (intuitive inquiry), and considered diverse collaborative working styles.

At the end of the workshop we introduced a Mapping PAR exercise that encouraged attendees to use the conceptual tools delivered during the day (practice as research project and research question, methodology, process and outcomes).

We then collectively mapped synergies and associations, linking each person’s idea/project on the table, which were then presented to rest of the group. This fostered collaboration within the groups, mirroring the collaborative process of PAR outside the room.

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