I’ve been in the college printmaking workshop this week. I finally got round to making some artwork after a long time of writing and reading and worrying. I remembered that making artwork is extremely important to my research. Not knowing what methodology I am using or philosophical principles I mediate is perhaps, a secondary thing. Because I do know it; I just don’t know I know it – I can’t put words to it. Hence, my practical research project exists to make the unconscious matrix of ideas informing my work conscious. But still, I can’t help thinking that there is too much emphasis when examining practical research. There is more rigour invested in methodological approaches to practical research and not enough on the process of making for the purpose it is for – expression. Too much on words; not enough on decoding the images.
Practice is research but data too. Practice inevitably generates data, but the practice of a practice is research, because you’re trying something out every time – to reach a goal. But it always leads onto a new idea, a slightly different way of viewing what you did, what your craft is and it’s meaning to you and the wider world. That means you can continually ask questions and have an urge to try things slightly differently. That is what motivates a practitioner and is creativity at play.
Perhaps that is why it is hard to frame practice as research in an academic sense, because it is and isn’t, at the same time, research.