Cara Berger, University of Glasgow

Claiming the Research in the Practice: A Presentation of Emergent Knowledge in Practice in fire into song

This practice demonstration will comprise a talk and a presentation of a performance. I will show a filmed extract from my recent practice instalment fire into song entitled fire/bird. This will be framed by a presentation that seeks to contextualise and explicate the research findings embodied within the practice.

My thesis argues that the postdramatic turn in theatre constitutes a shift towards Hélène Cixous’ “feminine”. The feminine in Cixous is characterised by a resistance to closure, borders and the Father’s Law. Instead it is limitless, debordering and excessive. Cixous has worked on the feminine in theory and writing practice. However, a model of the feminine in live theatre beyond the text is absent from her oeuvre. My practice seeks to derive a theatre practice from her ideas in order to identify the feminine in the postdramatic.

The filmed performance and lecture aim to raise questions and provide provisional answers to how “the research in the practice” might be communicated in the conference format. I understand the practice-as-research process as one determined by an “evolving state of emergence”(Haseman and Mafe, 2009.) This messy procedure necessitates robust reflection and contextualisation to render the research accessible. The explicating paper however should not be understood as a translation of the practice. Instead the practice and its exegesis will stand next to each other, informing each other, entering a dialogue.

Cara Broadley, Glasgow School of Art

Making and Using Design Probes: Exploring the Multiple Roles of the Designer

The wealth of participatory methods in human-centred design (HCD) corresponds with a democratic process and eventual solutions that respond to the experiences and needs of users and stakeholders. However, as HCD philosophies permeate the landscape of practice-led design education and research, the designer’s position as an observer, visualiser, facilitator and problem solver suggests their impact upon stages of insight gathering and interpretation (Inns, 2010). This paper advocates tools and techniques to support designers in initiating user engagement and data collection whilst simultaneously recognising and utilising their own subjective experiential knowledge. Drawing comparisons between two case studies undertaken in my current doctoral research, I discuss how an interactive activity package is used to gather high school pupils’ perceptions of life in a rural island community before examining how a collection of observational illustrations are employed to discuss museum visitors’ behaviours. In this, I consider how the creation and use of design probes can establish an empathic dialogue in participatory design exploration (Mattelmäki, 2006). I propose that the application of a reflexive methodology can strengthen design researchers’ critical awareness of sociocultural issues and promote rigour in practice-led HCD research.

Inns, Tom, ed. (2010) Designing for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Questions and Insights, Farnham: Gower
Mattelmäki, Tuuli (2006) Design Probes, Publication Series of the University of Art and Design Helsinki, available from <> accessed 30/05/12
Cara Broadley is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Peter Buwert, Gray’s School of Art

Adventures in Form and Content: Practice-as-Thesis

Can practice be presented as a research paper? This is a question I never set out to ask or answer until accidentally colliding with it by submitting a designed object as an academic thesis for a Masters of Research in 2011. The subject of the project was to be the potential socio-political use of defamiliarisation techniques (making the familiar seem strange) in visual communication design. Essentially the content of the thesis would make the case that form and content are inseparable (content always takes form, and form always delivers content) and that therefore manipulating form in order to defamiliarise, is a promising strategy for simultaneously seeking public engagement with socio-political content.

To present this research in the traditional academic format which maintains the illusion of separation of content and form, would have been self-contradictory if not hypocritical. To maintain the integrity of the research I chose to reject academic convention and actively embody and demonstrate the research physically by designing a thesis that would defamiliarise itself.
Creating such a thesis was easier said than done, as was submitting, defending and archiving it. Yet, despite breaking most of the university’s submission requirements, it held its own throughout the rigorous examination process, and has provided a solid foundation for further PhD research.

I propose a 20 minute presentation discussing both my research practice and my experience of the challenges of getting a practice-as-research thesis successfully through the academic institution without compromising either practice or research integrity.

Madeleine Campbell, University of Glasgow

Translating Mohammed Dib: Performance or Representation?

The objective of my PhD project is to translate a selection of Algerian poet Mohammed Dib’s francophone prose and poetry. This task raises a number of questions. The first concerns the choice, across some fifty years of output, of extracts for translation. The second question concerns translation choices in the target language: the rendering of sound, words, word order, register, tone. Underlying these issues is the challengeof rendering the ghost of Dib’s native Arabic language and culture in translation. A further question relates to presentation: how should the selections be assembled, annotated, reflected upon; what sort of virtual object should the resulting translations present to the reader? The practice of translating is both process and outcome, in the sense that it is only through the performance of translation that these questions can be addressed, while the approach taken, once documented and formalized, constitutes a research outcome. In this paper I will provide verses and prose passages from Dib’s work and describe how following up different intertextual, historical or biographical trails has assisted the translation process for different fragments of his work. Sources that have informed this research range from pre-Islamic Odes and twelfth-century ‘Attār Neyshābouri’s Conference of the birds to the works of Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf. The rhizomatic nature of this process has informed a theoretical approach that draws on Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s discourse on literature in Mille Plateaux, which licenses a conception of translation as a performative, rather than representational act.

Alastair Cole, The University of Edinburgh

Performing anthropological fieldwork, doing practice based research. A work in progress presentation of a documentary film based research project situated in linguistic anthropology

This presentation will address the conflicts, dilemmas and similarities of filming a practice based research project within a wider academic structure of anthropological fieldwork. The paper and presentation will relate to the creative documentary film based research project Hallo, How are you I’m Fine? (WT), filmed in Zambia over 10 months in 2011/2012 by the author. The film and project focus on the dilemmas of language and education in multilingual Zambia, a country with 72 languages, and only one official language - English, spoken at home by only 1.5% of the population. Through the window of a rural grade one primary school class and their embattled young urban teacher, the film aims to academically and creatively address the ideological and practical complexities that surround language use across multilingual Southern Africa.

The project is academically situated within linguistic anthropology, therefore the recently completed filming period also simultaneously acted as a period of anthropological fieldwork for the author. Through reflection on this period and contemporary academic theory this presentation will also discuss the practical and theoretic conflicts, differences and similarities between traditional ethnographic research methodologies and practice-based research. As the project is currently within an editing and ‘writing up’ stage, and will be completed in late 2013, this presentation will simultaneously act as a work in progress presentation and include sample clips from the film.

Alejandra Contreras, Glasgow School of Art

For my Master’s project at Glasgow School of Art, I designed a research methodology based on Ivan Illich’s idea of ‘conviviality’ (Illich, 1973) intended to fulfil academic demands while simultaneously question if the sources for achieving meaning can be intentionally produced ‘for research’ and ‘as practice’. As within the academy, I addressed ‘conviviality’ to different personal encounters as ‘situated learning’ (Lave & Wenger, 1999) for defining my framework of knowledge and creativity within intersubjectivity and renewable patterns of social interaction.
I focused on producing and/or participating in situations of: exchanges challenging capitalist’s structures; personal relationships questioning conventional roles; and forums allowing networks for identifying problems in common.

My study intends to give proof of the responsibility of its members as learners encountering other learners (Paulo Freire, 2000), and thus ‘taking care’ of the subjects’ vulnerability (bell hooks, 1994). I situate this research within a feminist perspective since I am interested in the production of meaning derived from affection and from solutions tackled with all the senses. Either as practice-based or as research-based, which is to say, either as manipulation of matter or as dialogical relations, my work intends to reflect on the ‘touch’ as a way of approaching these affections.

As a 20-minute research paper I would like to present the study I started during my Master on Research in Creative Practices -addressed to the ‘community’ defined by my peers during school- and which is now extending to other social organizations already involved in the quest for cohesion.

Susan Fallouh, The University of Edinburgh

Fashioning the Space: Issues Between Modeling and Making

In garment making process, “some garment patterns, particularly in couture design, are constructed by draping on the dress stand. However, pattern cutting from blocks or adaption of existing patterns is now widely used by the dress trade because of its accuracy of sizing and speed with which ranges can be developed." (Winifred Aldrich, 2008, p.4).
Starting to make a garment involves notions of block pattern, toile (full scale garment prototype) and grading; and methods such as draping, fabric manipulation, stitching, pleating and ribbing. In Interior Architecture - due to its big scale – we start abstractly with architectural drawings of plan, section, elevation, and scale model. We use these to understand and communicate form. In respect of detail, the differences between modelling and built work are critical and an inherent part of the design process.

This paper presents a productive dialogue between textile/garment making and interior architectural design. This is through a case study in which practical investigations aim to transfer tailoring strategy and textile handling methods known to garment making into the process of design and fabrication of a textile-based interior space (eca exhibition stand for graduate fashion students 2012). In other words, how a space may be made in a similar way a garment is. The Investigation’s questions and discussions promoted an understanding of fusion between process and practice.

Lauren Hayes and Christos Michalakos, University of Edinburgh


Můstek is the ongoing collaboration between composer/performers Lauren Sarah Hayes and Christos Michalakos. As PhD candidates in Creative Music Practice at the University of Edinburgh, their research explores methods of augmenting their given acoustic instruments whilst investigating strategies for real-time live electronic performance. Můstek are practitioners of extended instrumental techniques and bespoke digital signal processing, and strive to achieve a mastery over their own individual approaches to augmented instrumental performance.

This concert will feature a performance of Node/Antinode, an improvisation-based collaboration, which uses NeVIS (Networked Vibrotactile Improvisation System) (Hayes & Michalakos, 2012), a system that they have developed to suggest cues to the performers, and allow communication over a local network via the haptic channels (through the skin). The concert will focus on the augmented drum kit (Michalakos), hybrid analogue-digital electronics (Hayes), and the interaction between both performers.

While communication through visual cues continues to exist between performers working with augmented, electronic or digital instruments, the often intricate and distributed nature of these systems has led to this search for new strategies for improvisation. Dislocation of the sound source and the loudspeakers means that stage layouts become complex and often confused, and so
 in itself. 
 instruments often leads 
a performance.

Node/Antinode demonstrates the use of NeVIS within a performance context, making use of the vibrotactile
 communication system between the individual
as well as between laptop and performers. By introducing NeVIS as a third, unpredictable agent into the musical collaboration, one is able to consider its role in the construction of the sound and musical form.

This research has been supported by STEIM (the studio for electro-instrumental music), Amsterdam.

Hayes, L and Michalakos, C. 2012. Imposing a Networked Vibrotactile Communication System for Improvisational Suggestion. Organised Sound, 17(1). 36-44.

Birthe Jorgensen, Glasgow School of Art

Proposal for a research paper and a presentation of practice

As an installation artist, I am interested in exploring questions of how sacred and secular spaces are created in materialist times. I try to resist irony as a tactic and instead explore how methods of ‘cutting up’ and improvising may help uncover mechanisms of story formation, thereby opening up/laying bare new territories of action.

My current work is rooted in my experiences as a member of the experimental, multi-disciplinarycompany Apocryphal Theatre, with whom I worked as a Live Visual Artist between 2005-11.The company consisted of actors from a wide variety of backgrounds, performance artists, dancers, an improvisational musician/vocal artist and an experimental lighting designer.

Improvising from scores and using theatrical tools and concepts collectively created in our weekly lab, I would produce a stream of quick sketch-like sculptural elements live on stage. Sharing the creative process with fellow performers and an audience (often engaging actively), rather than showing finished static products, raised important questions for me about how a work can exist and the possibility of artists 'practicing' philosophies. I also began to question my authority as an artist and how to resist ironic positions and instead engage critically through risk, improvisation and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Since 2011 I have been researching these questions through an installation-based practise. It is this work that I wish to contribute to the discussion about practice as research.

Wendy Kirkup, University of Edinburgh

Reflections on the 'Place' of Drawing

The research I am undertaking is a practice based PhD using drawing and film making as methods to explore ideas of ‘place’. Particularly, referencing the disciplines of geography, visual art and film, the research asks the question ‘if single screen moving image work is considered a spatial practice, then, through its movement, how might it be considered to produce ‘place’ as a sort of spatial and temporal ‘event’, while also retaining the capacity to document material sites’. The extended temporality of the drawing process, along with its literal retracing of the photographic event form the subject of this work.

The drawings are derived from two consecutive film frames taken from experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr's work Reverberation (1969), the grainy surface of which was created from the repeated re- photographing of the original 8mm film stock.

Filmed at and around the World Trade Center's construction site, Gehr's mysterious film follows a nameless young couple (Canadian actress Margaret Lamarre and experimental filmmaker Andrew Noren) as they drift either in or out of love’.
Ernie Gehr’s Marvelous Cinema Harvard Film Archive 2008

The activity of tracing the pencil across the surface of the paper draws a ‘place’ of research, and through its extended method, enables space for further questions regarding the processes of making and its interrelationship with filmmaking generated from visual arts and experimental film practices to emerge. Questions of time and duration, and of site and place, which have underpinned the histories of moving image practices, are revisited through the making of the drawings. As two frames within an implied series, the drawings form part of an unfolding research process rather than a conclusion.

Kirsten MacLeod, University of the West of Scotland

What do you know? Collaborative Documentary Production as an Epistemological Social Process.
This paper explores the use of a practice led approach to interrogate issues of participation and knowledge in collaborative documentary production. Drawing on a practice-led, ethnographically informed methodology the paper advocates the documentary production process as a site of critique. The paper argues that a practice-led methodology enhances the research’s aims to locate the form and content of media production in a social space.

The paper is based on examples from the production and production process of a collaborative documentary project from the author’s PhD research, You Play Your Part, about women’s history in the Govan area of Glasgow. Drawing on experience, knowledge and networks, the film focuses on women’s roles as campaigners, from the Govan Rent Strikes of 1915 to the campaign for Equal pay and women’s involvement in the Trade Union movement and the UCS work-in of 1971.

The research is informed by the author’s practice as a filmmaker, and acknowledges the researcher/filmmaker as participant in the process of production of both film and research enquiry. This paper seeks to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach, using the symposium forum to stimulate feedback and further discussion.

Maureen K Michael, University of Stirling

Reflecting on an exploratory study conducted for the PhD project, ‘Precarious Practices: A Visual Study of Artists’ Work’ this paper explores ideas of visual methodology and practice theory. There is more to the work of an artist than the making of art but the work practices of artists are an under-researched area within sociological and educational literature. Little is known about the micro-practices of creative work and their relationships with artists’ education and professional development. A corollary to this is that it is an exciting space for the development of theory and methodology in a practice context. The exploratory study explores how theory and methodology might be pictured through a drawing of practice. It captures a moment of work practice through a digital photograph and explores researcher-created drawings as a means of analysis. This exploratory study is not a mini or trial ethnography but a tightly focused exploration of a visual methodology. Its purpose is to inform subsequent fieldwork and analysis.

Structured in three sections, the paper first describes the overarching PhD and the topic of artists’ work. Then, combining images from the exploratory study with the work of Schatzki and Knorr Cetina, a theoretical framework is explored. Finally, the usefulness of such a visual methodology is considered in terms of its limitations and possibilities.

Exploring issues of practice in the generation of theory, and drawing attention to questions of epistemology in practice-as-research, this paper addresses core themes at the heart of the POPP symposium.

Bethan Parks, University of Glasgow

As Spheres Ebb and Flow

As Spheres Ebb and Flow is an acousmatic work presented in complete darkness. Out of the darkness, new spatialities are created, articulated by purely auditory means – emerging and receding, opening and closing, masking and revealing – exploring the visual “nothingness” as a space of sonic possibility rather than visual deprivation.

Sounds articulate these spaces, not through representation of particular environmental archetypes or allusion to recognisable places, but through their own dimensionality. This challenges the way in which sound is often conceived of as a sign for its source (the sound OF something), absorbing its inherent spatiality and ephemerality into the confines and comparative stability of an object, and thus familiarising, standardising, and distancing the present encounter with sound. As Spheres Ebb and Flow aims instead to foreground a listening as such, not listening to something*, through exploring the intrinsic dimensionality of sound as immersive attribute, re-orientating the visually disorientated listener not in relation to certain sounding objects, but through an aural “being-here” – presence.

The production of a sonic component to my research output is necessary as it serves as both an outcome and a generator of some of the fundamental questions underlining my research – questions concerned with what listening as such may contribute to the notion of sonic environment and our understanding of the relationship between this environment and human states; what this way of hearing may offer us as listeners, not only in the context of sonic artworks, but also in our broader, everyday sonic experience; and finally what role sonic artworks may play in addressing these ecological questions.

*Böhme, Acoustic Atmospheres, 2000.

Roman Sebastyański, University of the West of Scotland

Transformative Arts-based Engagement in Urban Regeneration: Photography-based documenting as a source of knowledge in the urban and architectural design

In 1995 the Gdansk Shipyard went bankrupted and in 1999 its oldest sections were bought by the Synergia 99, the US-American developer with an aim to transform its land into ‘a new mix-use waterfront district, the “Young City”’. The most challenging socio-cultural aspect of the shipyard’s urban regeneration is associated with protection of its historical industrial and political heritage. In 2002, a group of artists was invited to take part in this process.

My practice involves photography-based documenting and generating archives as well as researching specific elements of the shipyard’s infrastructure which could serve as a source of inspiration at the planning stages of transformation, including the processes of projecting and visualizing as well as subsequent constructing of the Young City district.

My PhD project research question is:
In what ways historically-specific elements of the shipyard’s infrastructure (and its representation) could be preserved while being transformed into the new structures of the future Young City?

I intend to analyse the three-phase process of the transformation-related meaning making: 1. researching the shipyard’s identity, 2. translating meanings through art production, and finally, 3. transmitting emerging meanings to the wider public.
I will also analyse the process of consultation during the planning and transformation phases of the Young City’s Board of Stakeholders, established in 2012 by the Mayor of Gdansk and representing diverse interests and views of landowners, city administration, social and cultural organizations as well as the artists involved. I proposed to use my “inspiring archive” as a framework for discussions on tangible and intangible values of the shipyard’s infrastructure, which will be subsequently catalogued and published. This publication would be a valuable source of information about heritage value of the place for architects, designers and artists who may come to be involved in the regeneration process.

During my presentation, I intend to showcase my documented archive of the Gdansk Shipyard. It is also possible to exhibit up to about 20 pictures (90cm x 140cm) in the form of prints.

Gerry Smith, University of Edinburgh

Reductive Forms

I am a text-based intermedia artist, currently looking at the potential uses of participatory art forms within an endotic research process. Whilst exploring reductive forms, I developed my own punctuation poetry. The main influence on these poems was the work of François Le Lionnais, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Fluxus period Yoko Ono. This poetry emerged out of an on-going process of formal experimentation which played a generative role in my current research.

My paper will outline the development of my punctuation poetry, relating it to the artists mentioned above. I will talk about initial experiments with reductive forms which responded to challenges presented by Lionnais’ work on reductive forms. I will show how a variation on Ono’s instruction format enabled me to pursue a form of endotics (George Perec’s term for the critical study of the “infraordinary”, i.e. the quotidian). As the instruction pieces developed they brought me to further experiments with punctuation poetry, resulting in the Some Lines* series which referenced Ono’s koàn-like works. Employing a mundane literalism, my poems deliberately challenged viewers / readers expectations by simply depicting the poems’ title. Many viewers find them incomprehensible: functioning as items of exchange, the poems’ political impact arises from their refusal of commodification.

These poems present the obvious in an unobvious way and are intended to make the viewer question what they are looking at. This paper demonstrates the ways in which the formal experimentation which produced these works continues to have a generative role in my current research.

Lost In Translation – P.V.C. wall text (242cm X 10cm)

How this example of practice is situated in relation to my research:
My use of a mundane literalism is a strategy in an endotic enterprise. In the instruction pieces it was intended to show how behaviour changes, and how technologies shape us and are shaped by us. In Some Lines, the literalism was intended to obfuscate; to establish an ostranenie, a “making strange” of the artwork that stands before the viewer (Hawkes, 1977, pp.69-72). The literalism of these poems can be just as confusing as Ono’s kōan-like utterances. It is a provocation, a challenge to the audience to think about the work that stands before them. My Lost in Translation is a more recent use of this technique, perhaps more extreme. Its text reads “Was kommt zwischen Furcht und Geschlecht? Five!” and is an inversion of the question and punchline of a joke: “What comes between fear and sex? Funf!” The title refers to the non-transparency of language – the joke is Lost in Translation. It also indicates that the text has been translated, and thus offers up a potential strategy for recovering the joke’s meaning (i.e. undo the translation). Like the punctuation poems before it, this piece is deliberately confusing, but it does offer something at the end of it. Like the punctuation poems, it challenges the viewer to think about what stands before them.
(Gerry Smith, extract from Reductive Forms)
In my studies into the potential use of participatory artworks within an endotic research process, one of problems that arose was how to draw attention to situations that are so ordinary that they tend to go unnoticed. One solution is the strategy of ostranenie – the “making strange” of that object / situation. Lost in Translation was an exercise in making strange.

Bryony Stocker, University of Strathclyde

Scholars and Scribblers: Practice-led Research and the Potential for Community Engagement

Scholars focussing on practice led research have the opportunity to exchange knowledge in forums which encourage academic exchange but do not exclude the public. This paper will present a case study of how practice led research can reach a broader audience through collaboration with arts organisations.

In 2012 Write Now, a creative writing conference organised by the postgraduate students at the University of Strathclyde, formed a partnership with Aye Write (Glasgow’s Book Festival) to bring academics and the writing community together.
The event was aimed at a broad audience interested in reflecting seriously about writing and developing new skills. It brought together writers and academics in workshops, conference panels and readings, giving participants the chance to exchange ideas about creative writing, learn useful techniques and simply enjoy readings of work by established and new writers.

Practice led research presented creatively offers the opportunity for researchers, non-academic practitioners and the public to share in knowledge exchange activities and break down barriers. This paper will present some of the possibilities and pitfalls of the partnership approach.

Nuala Watt, University of Glasgow

Embodied Perception and Poetic From: Visual Impairment as an Aesthetic in Poetry

Although there is a long history of representing visual impairment in poetry, lived experiences of blindness and partial sight have been insufficiently imagined. Blind figures are often the objects of a non-disabled writer’s gaze. As such they can represent not a unique embodied perspective but social anxiety about bodily difference. This practice can occlude the perspectives of people with visual impairments.
My research reimagines visual impairment as an aesthetic in poetry. Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s theory of embodied perspective, I examine the influence of partial sight on poetic form. My work casts people with visual impairments as the subjects of poetic thought and practice, questioning cultural links between vision and knowledge, s between biological and artistic vision. My 20 minute practice presentation will be a reading of poems designed to embody aspects of visual impairment. I will produce texts in print, and Braille. To work solely in print, a medium designed for a sighted audience, seems an inadequate response to the tradition of visual disability as spectacle with which I want to engage. Rosemarie Garland Thomson suggests that people with disabilities are often the object of stares, but that experienced starees learn to craft encounters so as to extend their starers’ knowledge of embodiment and humanity. My project – and my practice presentation within it - can be seen as a carefully crafted staring encounter encouraging the audience to reimagine visual impairment as a valuable creative and human perspective.