“Practice as research, in any disciplinary area, privileges action as a methodological imperative. In the arts, practice as research involves artist-researchers exploring, testing and extending a diverse range of creative methodologies and working across diverse contexts – exploring the relationship of creative interventions to both making and understanding the world” (Hughes, J. & Sjoberg, J., 2010).
As an artist across the performing and visual arts, I am drawing on my own practice as a research method to discover new information. In conjunction with the interviews and focus groups, I led three arts-based “interventions” as a way to continue exploring the inquiry into the role of the arts for the charity.
"The story so far..."
Grants Committee Meeting,
A book-making exercise with grants committee members to gather and disseminate my findings from January-October 2016
Folding & Unfolding
Inspired from a class I was taking at the time called 'Print, paint and draw,' I adapted a book-making exercise I learned that makes a new piece of art work out of the initially intended one, by turning it into a book.
Participants had a chance to admire each others' books and ask me additional questions.
A request for more arts-based sessions like this was unanimous.
Drawing & Questions
Grants committee members were invited to draw the award-winning gardens at either of the charity's housing schemes.
Participants then wrote answers to the following questions wherever they liked in their garden:
• Which art form do you think reaches the widest range of people?
• When is the last time you listened to music?
• When is the last time you went to a live performance?
• Name an art work that has been memorable or inspiring in your life
• What do you need most?
"Art & Food"
Communal Lunch, April 2017
After leading four separate focus groups, members from each one were invited to come together for a complimentary lunch provided by the charity.
Participants were asked to share a piece of art that held meaning for them-- either a picture, music, poem, etc. Afterwards, we worked in small groups to answer some 'enveloped' questions around art, communities and need.
"The envelope please"
Trustee Dinner, May 2017
I was scheduled to speak and share my findings at the annual trustee dinner. Rather than talk at people, or directly ask for their answers to the questions I had been asking in the focus groups, I wanted to construct a game.
During dessert each trustee was given an envelope and when it was their turn to open it (as determined by a number on the front) they either read out information about a currently running HUC supported arts initiative, or they were instructed to ask someone else at the table a question related to their experiences with art, their needs, or how the arts provide them with relief to their needs.
The test revealed:
The mystery of what is inside each envelope creates a fun and engaging atmosphere
Asking someone else the question, rather than being put on the spot oneself, shares the responsibility of research (especially useful if that responsibility is (playfully) shared with those who asked for the research in the first place).
Discovering the relationship between art and need for those ‘with means’ is not so different for those who are considered to be ‘marginalised’.
Listen to an audio recording of the dinner...