Loveless, Natalie (2020) Knowings and Knots: Methodologies and Ecologies in Research-Creation. Alberta, University of Alberta Press. <>


Knowings and Knots itself offers few detailed discussions of actual knots, save for Caroline Cambre’s impeccable description of Inca khipu knots, which “exist at the juncture of memory, language, visual signs, and tactile processes” and could “be undone and re-done” (89). The titular knots are of course metaphorical, referring to Donna Haraway who writes in When Species Meet about how: “Figures are not representations or didactic illustrations, but rather material-semiotic nodes or knots in which diverse bodies and meanings co-shape one another” (2007:4).  Natalie Loveless’ Afterwords accordingly describes knots as that which “name[s] sites of productive dissent and dissonance” and an “invitation to join the debate” (303). A debate on research-creation is exactly what this curated collection offers. I am familiar with the metaphor of knots and knotting as a trope and find it an apposite metaphor for the sorts of work(s), performances, events, conversations and publications (making publics) that feature here.  Knots, then, are employed as a “principle of coherence” as the anthropologist Tim Ingold suggests they can be, because they can help describe how “contrary forces of tension and friction, as in pulling tight, are generative of new forms […] one can never determine what is on the inside or on the outside. Knots don’t have insides and outsides; they have interstices”. (Ingold 2016:6). This book opens up to the doing and undoing involved in the generation of research-creation, the makings of new forms of knowledge, and what it is to work at the interstices – the interstices of thinking-feeling, of bodies, human, nonhuman, entangling with places and other communities, ecologically. Doing so also means it asks urgent questions about what it means to make things, what it means to co-compose with the world (cf. Manning, 2014).

My own work has always been at the interstices of things, variously co-composing ‘between’ disciplines, research with art, and art, as art (and anthropology, literature, performance, philosophy), in forests in Scotland, and in Japan. In the recently completed ERC funded project called Knowing from the Inside: Anthropology, Art, Architecture and Design1 , led by the anthropologist Tim Ingold, our various sub-projects were enriched and held together by our collective, collaborative inquiries, diverse experiments with thinking-through-making in workshops, gatherings, symposia and exhibitions, all of which I now understand as a rare form of collaborative research-creation. My informal review is situated from a vantage point that incorporates shifting positions, being involved in utterly inter- (or even anti-) disciplinary collaborative projects, and working as a lecturer in an Art School where research – artistic research – is performed under a range of different guises. From here, for me the book throws up questions, but also answers. Indeed, it is an incredibly multifaceted, even dense, collection; ‘dense’ not because it is inaccessible, though it is highly theoretical, but because of its propositional nature, because research-creation itself is propositional.

The publication is a timely arrival in this audit year of the REF (Research Exercise Framework) in UK universities, currently postponed due to the crisis of coronavirus, and perhaps especially in Schools of Art and Design, where shared definitions of research may be difficult, when ‘units of assessment’ are mobilised, especially in contexts where art making can indeed be considered a separate activity to research. Knowings and Knots is a welcome intervention, which diffracts rather than reflects the issues. It offers multiple, related, contradictory ideas, presenting examples of projects that spread out, spilling over the edges of definitions – of research, theory and art; the ideas interfering with each other as they overlap, troubling boundaries, disciplinary and otherwise. Overall, it presents a challenge, but also working alternatives, to a range of distinctions that operate(d) within ‘scholarly’ discourses about art and research.

To illustrate this point: the index itself is over 40 pages long. It is a useful guide to this complex, conversational collection. A diversity of references and qualifications on ‘research-creation’ alone takes up one and a half pages, covering research-creation ‘as apparatus’, ‘as concept’; ‘as event’ ‘as generative’; relating it to disciplinary fields ‘research-creation, education’, and other significant agendas like ‘research-creation, funding’. The complexity and depth of deliberation that this suggests is appropriate. It really would be impossible to summarise every contribution in detail; what I will try to do, instead, after giving a brief outline, is open up two pertinent issues that resonate with me. Firstly, whether the contributors see research-creation as art or not, and if that matters. Clearly research-creation owes a ‘debt’ to contemporary art, and the conversations here speak to the overlaps – or boundaries, depending on how one approaches this – between art and research, by asking/stating whether research-creation is art, or not, what that means, and whether it matters, as well as the relationship, or ‘schism’ between writing and other forms. Secondly, I think it is useful to contextualise research-creation in relation to the plethora of terms related to artistic research, with regard to academic and institutional contexts, and to tease out some of the tensions. This book gives us some excellent examples and strong views, which are useful to think through now, in relation to how funding categories and audits such as the REF in the UK work to categorise and discipline ways of knowing and being. The contributors variously demonstrate how these questions or themes are affectively knotty, tied to complexities of funding, and the possibilities of various modes or models across forms, failures, collaborations and conversations.


Conversation and collaboration

The book consists of a series of conversations that explore research-creation, what it is and how it operates at the intersections of arts, humanities and social sciences. The book is in two halves, roughly; the first half a series of paired texts explicitly in dialogue, the second half a variety of forms of conversations. These are bookended by a Preface and ‘Afterwords’ by Natalie Loveless, the editor, and a Foreword by Owen Chapman. The dialogical structure does not unerringly repeat the event it was born from (with the aid of ‘debate Doulas’), in 2014. This, a Think Tank, addressed ‘methodologies and ecologies of research-creation’, the book’s subtitle, by asking how the politics of research-creation plays out, what practices look like, and if and how they either “unsettle” or “entrench” existing relations of knowledge and power (Chapman, xix). Chapman’s 2012 article on research-creation is acknowledged throughout as an important publication that defines the concept in relation to the form of tertiary degrees (and the weighting and way of thinking about writing versus other media). The main body of the book has, first, four ‘Pairings’: a ‘Provocation’ based on the contributor’s project and a ‘Response’, in order: Randy Lee Cutler and Petra Hroch; Paul Couillard and Carolina Cambre; Nastasha Myers and Sourayan Mookerjea; Glen Lowry and Rachelle Viader Knowles.

Cutler’s contribution reflects on a recent project that culminated with a collaboratively produced e-book, an artistic work that combines research, writing, collage and curating. Called Open Wide, it is about digestion as a figuration or metaphor, a way of engaging “emergent modes of knowing and not knowing”, inspired by Donna Haraway. Petra Hroch, a medic and sociologist by training, responds, attending to knowing and not knowing as she moves between reflections on earthworms and aerial views, to address perspective and politics, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s reading of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The second Pairing, Paul Couillard’s ‘From No-ing to Knowing, from Naughts to Knots’ and Carolina Cambra’s response, titled a ‘Crisis of Literacies, How Does the Orchid Cite the Bee?’, together aim to perform, poetically, how research-creation permits “multimodal,” contradictory subjectivities. Couillard emphasises how “doing”, “with an attention to how that doing is felt” (Couillard, 66), can be a useful tool for theory. He does this here by offering three sequential theoretical trajectories, which I refer to below. Cambra’s poetic, performed response likewise stresses the potential of multiple contrary registers. She engages us in a discussion about the politics of citation and techniques of selection, she sees as a form of “agential cutting” a practice that for her pushes research-creation beyond a study of what we “already know”. Rather it “acts, by bringing something new into the world” (81). I discuss the third pairing, between Myers and Mookerjea in more detail below. Essentially, Myers’ provocation addresses the arts of ethnography through her ‘parasite’ project adanceaday, an exploration of how researchers might become “attuned” to their fieldsites.  Her project draws on her experiences, with dance and biological research, and anthropology. Mookerjea locates his response in the field of intermedial research and in relation to postcolonial cultural studies. The final, fourth, pairing is between Lowry, whose background is in cultural theory, and Viader Knowles. Lowry works with artists and collectives dealing with social justice issues, including with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada. Viader Knowles is a Canadian “artist/academic” based between the UK and Canada, whose work explores dialogical art in a transnational context, as well as also working with Indigenous art and artists. Together, their pairing dives into the institutional conditions for research-creation, which I will address a little more, later.

Following on the heels of the Pairings are five ‘Dialogues’ that take various forms – conversations, between contributors and the Editor, and with other eminent voices on research-creation, together working to complicate the concept. First, an email exchange between Natalie Loveless and Erin Manning on ‘Research-Creation as Interdisciplinary Praxis’ addresses some ‘resistances’ to the concept that I find especially productive. Manning addresses the question of transdisciplinarity and questions the professionalization that has come with research-creation in Canada, and the debt that artists take on in North America, to gain a PhD. Loveless responds by also bringing into question the problematic linking of research-creation to new media and industry. Their conversation ranges over such institutional issues, as well as the value of slowness and the radical pedagogical potential of research-creation thought in the Canadian context. This is followed by a collective conversation roundtable with them, organised by Sarah E. Truman, a researcher in literary education and co-director of Walkinglab. They are joined by Stephanie Springgay, a scholar in research-creation who runs The Pedagogical Impulse, and Natasha Myers. The fourth and fifth dialogues are transcribed verbal conversations between Couillard and T.L. Cowan, a media studies academic, then Cutler and John Cussens, an artist and art educator whose work explores legacies of colonialism in art and cinema. Finally, there are “letters back and forth” between three people, Simon Pope, an artist invested in the question of the more-than-human, Lowry, and Viader Knowles that touch on ‘Creative Practice-Led Research’, a slightly different approach, at the end. These letters stuck with me, the intertwining of voices, places, ideas is very evocative, theirs a friendly but deeply reflective correspondence.

As indicated in my attention to the (post)colonial research and artistic activity pointed out above, it is imperative that I acknowledge that a critique of “Euro-Western” thinking is prevalent throughout the book (Truman, 238). It is also important to draw attention to how the Canadian context brings along with it urgent lessons about how artist/academics can and do relate their work to diverse Indigenous knowledges and practices, including through artistic collaborations as well as political positionings. This connects the politics of research to broader debates about (de)colonisation, especially given the increasingly neoliberal logic of Higher Education elsewhere, everywhere, and how this is tied, in perhaps more subtle but no less significant ways to neo-colonialism, the suppression or disregard of views from the Global South as well as Indigeneity, and non-neurotypical ways of thinking and being, or people with disabilities; in any case, there is much to learn from these sophisticated and careful discussions, especially now, I would suggest. They go further than arguing whether and how Indigenous practices or thought might be understood as theory, or equivalent to theory (I am thinking of provocations around the appropriation or lack of acknowledgement of Indigenous perspectives, as they may or may not influence the ‘ontological turn’ of recent years, for example).  Another reader, or me, reading at another moment, might well have chosen to focus on this knotty topic. I hope someone will, because this book is marked by the quality of its approach to this.

A particular vein of theory drives the conversation: processual, continental, ecological pragmatic, (new) materialist, speculative. It is useful to listen out for reverberations of Donna Haraway, who the volume is dedicated to, and her diverse bedfellows. Her physical being was present at the 2014 ‘Think Tank’ that was the basis for this book, and the epigraph is a quote from the book she edited with Adele E. Clarke, Making Kin Not Population offering something utopian, pointing towards the centrality of collaboration.  While not for readers opposed to ‘difficult’ theoretical text, I think arguments against its inaccessibility would, at least miss the point, given the variety of voices and forms enacted, here. For example, the performance artist Paul Couillard’s contribution begins with Hannah Arendt, before going on to in/cite the ‘speculative cartographies’ of Gilles Deleuzes and Felix Guatarri alongside the posthumanism of Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad’s agential realism. Caroline Cambre’s response to this is performative, poetic, visual. In the third of four pairings, Sourayan Mookerjea’s chapter ‘Intermedia Research-Creation and Hydrapolitics’ stands out, a deep engagement with similar theoretical references, in response to the dancer-biologist-anthropologist Natasha Myers’ Provocation ‘Anthropologist as Transducer in a Field of Affects’, which describes her adanceaday project, calling upon anthropological theory by way of George Marcus’ para-site to pose a series of questions about how ethnographers might become “better attuned” to their fieldsites.  Mookerjea’s references range from Silvia Federici to Rancière, Marx and Hegel to Guy Debord, with a detailed look at Harold Innis along the way, past a tangential reflection about the paradoxical nature of koān (something I have also done while contemplating disciplinary boundaries, cf. Clarke 2014). His argument is persuasive and culminates in a clear understanding of intermedia research-creation (152).


Research-creation = artistic research ? ≠  artistic research?

In the Dialogue roundtable ‘The Intimacies of Doing Research–Creation’ there is an extended presentation of diverse positions, this is where sometimes subtle, sometimes radical differences emerge most clearly, for me. For example, Erin Manning, whose work with the Senselab originally brought me to the concept, explicitly states that she is not interested in research-creation “as it moves toward institutionalisation”, developing the theme she raised in her email correspondence with Loveless, earlier. For her, it is possibly becoming entrenched in funding, and other models of research; she prefers to engage with “what does not ordinarily register as value”. (247).  Neither is Manning taken with what she describes as the ‘relegation’ of research-creation to art. For her, research-creation is about engaging with “other ways of activating knowledge” (247). This includes the process and practice of thought in the “so-called disciplines”, which clearly she values as particular ways of knowing. Her support for specific disciplinary methodologies, forms, and so on, is important, but does not negate the possibilities for co-composing with different disciplines (as she does in her wonderful book Thought in the Act). Research-creation then, cannot operate like a magic wand that waves away responsibilities and commitments entangled with disciplines and different forms of knowledge.

The anthropologist Natasha Myers began her career as a dancer, then was trained in biological sciences before anthropology. In my experience, anthropology is a very generous discipline, and so her assertion that research-creation activities or outcomes can look like art is not surprising (248). The difference she points to, that is evident in her own work, as well as her use of the term, have to do with intentionality: does it call itself art? The point is that for Myers, unlike for Manning, there is “no necessary divide between art and science, or between scholarly research and artistic practice” (227). The Myers/Mookerjea pairing I outline above directly addresses this, the question of whether research-creation is art.  But Myers' goal is “becoming an ethnologist of the affective ecologies of more-than-human life” (132), not making art. The artistic aspect of this project is theorised as a parasite to anthropological research, following George Marcus (2000). I have also drawn on this notion. Grounded in a simple observation about the shared nature of conversation, it is meant to highlight how a researcher actively creates a field of inquiry ‘and then follows it’; an experimental approach to ethnographic research, that ‘always involves a material dimension, a kind of labour, or a making of things out of the way they are supposedly or otherwise given […]  something different could happen” (Marcus 2000:8). Myers has specific training in dance and biology and it is due to the generosity of anthropology that it does not require a label. Here, this experiment presented here is about rendering anthropology akin to art. Myers describes this as:

a mode of inquiry – a way of getting interested and involved in the world – that takes seriously embodied knowledge, craft, creativity, aesthetics, and practices of making immanent to the processes of making knowledge and telling stories about both what is known and what remains unknown. (227).

However, unlike many forms of anthropological research, research-creation does not seek to describe, explain or solve problems, but is a speculative, eventful mode. Couillard (260) remarks that “…a form of practice whose analytical framework does not simply study what already exists, but acts by bringing something new into the world.”   Likewise, instructions set out by Springgay and Truman in 2016, point out:

The aim of research-creation is not to reflect on something that has passed […] it is an ‘event’ that creates concepts that problematize. Concepts are not pre-given or known in advance. As an event of problems research-creation brings something new into the world […] concepts proliferate… and with them ethico-political concerns emerge.

Though it may not matter if research-creation looks like art for Myers, for Loveless, and me, ‘artification’ can be knotty and problematic if the researcher has “not taken the time to be attentive enough to artistic disciplinary literacy” (229). Literacy is not only about aesthetics, media and form, of course. For Springgay, art is a means of “figuring out” a concept: “Art helps me get inside a concept rather than approaching it from outside” (226). Springgay works in education and her pedagogical and artistic work are intimately connected, and deeply theoretically informed practices. From this position, forms of contemporary art can work to “instantiate” theory: “they are theoretical in and of themselves. They are not metaphors, nor representations of theoretical concepts; rather, some works of art event concepts” (226, my emphasis).

In a different direction, Glen Lowry reworks his argument from an excellent 2015 essay called ‘Props to Bad Artists’, reflecting on a disappointing project, which is brave and difficult to do in my experience. Through this, he explains how the concept of research-creation as implemented by SSHRC owes a ‘debt’ to contemporary art, particularly the kinds of work that fall within socially engaged or relational art, or what in North America is called community-based art.

Despite the varieties of approaches, what emerges as a shared value is a sense of how research-creation remains open to the unknown. Randy Lee Cutler writes it is a “methodology of thinking through doing coupled with making space for not knowing” (21). Hroch responds: “unknowing [is] necessary for the pursuit of any kind of knowing or method, inevitable outcome, and generative and desirable!” (31). Cutler returns to the idea again in her dialogue, a ‘special investigation’ with John Cussans, towards the end of the book. Their musings extend thinking about not knowing to how these connect with creativity specifically (268), bringing some of the vibrancy of new materialist thinking as well as counter-colonial ethnographic and artistic work into the picture. The multiple emphases on unknowability serve to persuade the reader that conventional understandings of methodology and method are knots that should be ‘undone’. The book demonstrates how the term can be used to create a new category, starting in the middle of practice, activating thought, eventing concepts, perhaps even working out how we might get to know “what we don’t yet know how to know” as the curator Irit Rogoff writes (2006:6). It is vital for research-creation that the ‘creation’ part happens within research, so that projects never function as mere illustrations of theory. In this, I think it is akin to art too, in the sense that research-creation projects, like art, should speak for themselves.


Knots & knotty Definitions

The definition of research-creation in Canada has been and still is “fiercely debated, with high stakes” (Chapman, xviii). SSRCH, the main funder for humanities research, offer a definition2 . Having piloted the category in 2003 it was only made permanent in 2010, aimed at encouraging hybrid forms of research activity; nevertheless, some scholars resist the institutionalisation of the concept, wary of how the neoliberal knowledge economy is driving research culture. As a relatively new term there are few publications and fewer fixed definitions, as has probably already become clear. Those that have been influential have been authored primarily by the contributors to this book, which is exciting despite the fact that, or perhaps precisely because, it does not offer a single clear definition. This gives the concept potential – perhaps as an umbrella term to name experimental approaches to artistic, interdisciplinary research that combine artistic and ‘scholarly’ research methodologies that aim to trouble what counts as knowledge.

Research-creation has also recently emerged as a popular alternative term to practice-led artistic research in Australia (Cohen 2015), defined as both the work of art as a form of research and the process of discovering research insights through the creation of a work of art (Smith and Dean 2009). Here is where it may be seen to operate most closely as another term for artistic research, rather than being rooted in the humanities. In the UK and the US, the terms practice-based research and arts based research have more often been used within academia. Specifically, these are used to describe the kind of degree that includes creative work as well as a written component, which is how ‘research-creation’ degrees are described and evaluated in Canada (by Owen Chapman in the foreword to this book, and elsewhere).

However, it is not possible to make a clearer comparison with other terms within artistic research, such as practice-based or practice-led, since the ultimate ‘outcome’ for research-creation could be variously text or artwork or artlike work, or event. Other articles conflate research-creation with ‘practice-led’ research in the arts, even when they may set out not to (Cohen 2015). The volume is thought-provoking for those who straddle disciplines and professional identities, especially if that includes art and artists in the context of developments within Higher Education. It is pertinent that in the UK, and more broadly in Europe, changes to research degree regulations in recent decades have allowed submissions for postgraduate research to contain practical elements, just as they have in Canada. Concurrently, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) makes art and design eligible for research funding under its own category, art and design works –­­ ­artefacts, images, designs, performances ­ – therefore constitute artistic research. In a previously published ‘polemic’, Loveless (2015) argues that government funded research-creation grants should not be for “any and all” artists working in the university, but be specifically for artists whose work reaches into the social sciences and humanities (and, I presume, vice versa), while art historical research should be funded by a standard research grant. Moreover “If the final product takes artistic form alone, and is meant to circulate in galleries, museums, art journals, etc., it is ‘art’ and thus should be funded as such”. For Loveless research-creation embraces interdisciplinarity; hybridising artistic and scholarly methodologies and, importantly, legitimising “hybrid outputs”.

This is the subject of the conversations between Glen Lowry and Rachelle Viader Knowles, who is familiar with both, suggesting that artistic research is the term used in Europe. Her absorbing contribution describes how “tensions pull toward the metrics obsessions” in the UK, in a critique of new forms of academic, research-based art and institutional culture change that is familiar to me. To be clear, for me, research-creation is not simply another term for artistic research. I wonder if it is useful if the latter is understood as research activity aimed at creating knowledge in and for art? However, as this journal’s definition outlines, this is a “developing field where research and art are positioned as mutually influential”. Owen Chapman (and Kim Sawchuk) details four different “modalities” in which research and creation are linked within current academic educational practices in Canada that I think are useful pedagogically 1) Research-for-creation: 2) Research-from-creation’: 3) Creative presentations of research 4) “Creation-as-research”. For me, Randy Lee Cutler’s provocation Open and Wide. Figuring Digestion as Research-Creation gives a clear model for what research-creation as a method looks like in her project Open Wide ‘abcedarium’ (Latin for a book designed to teach the alphabet). Her figuration of digestion becomes an absorbing “method of research and art making”, an envisioning of multiple new forms of embodiment and performative image making explicitly from a broad range of disciplines, a strategy she acknowledges as “elusive and slippery”; an effort to locate a concept “in a representation of (or alongside) the body” (5). But it also illustrates what Chapman argues, how research-creation is a method “but not only a method”. It is “a method and a practice and a site of debate and a vast experiment in what counts as knowledge in the academy today” (Chapman xviii ,xix).

Perhaps this is one reason why research-creation is not being taken up as a concept in more art schools? There are many exciting research projects funded in the UK and and Europe analogous to research-creation. However, perhaps the language of inter- and trans-disciplinarity have more value, here, perhaps because it does not require a fundamental shift in thinking about disciplines. (If a project can commission an artist, or work with an applied anthropologist, archivist, curator or publisher, the ongoing specialisation of individuals and disciplines may or may not be desirable, for different reasons.)

A crucial distinction appears, repeatedly, in Knowings and Knots around the form of knowledge and the role of the ‘output’ - the artefact, performance or text that is produced - and many different approaches are elucidated; attempts to understand creative work as part of the research process. The contributions here are useful because  they confront tensions, the ‘schism’ between writing and making, theory versus practice, and give us a language; a concept that is hybrid. The contributors regularly reiterate how this, the ‘schism’ is partly the problem (see also Chapman and Sawchuck 2012; Loveless 2015). Research-creation addresses this, following Haraway and others into forms of material semiosis, reminding us that, of course, we make arguments as we make ‘works’. Hroch refers us to the excellent work of Vicki Kirby, Quantum Anthropology, reminding us how writing, metaphors, are always already material (37). But it is not just about making writing material. On the flip side, the book shows us how attention to practice, to creation, valuing of tacit knowledge, experiential knowledge, matters. This is not just about “giving art the status of research”, as Loveless argues, cogently, here and elsewhere. For Loveless, form and content must be “imbricated” (301). Attention to form is one way, the contributors seem to agree, research-creation can “trouble” mainstream research and publication methods. We must consider, in each event or instance of research-creation, what choices we can make regarding form and format (essay, book, performance, installation, something hybrid?). Ultimately, “what sorts of scholarship and research do we want to invent?” (Chapman, xx).

Indeed, fields and disciplines are generated and upheld in the debating of methods, processes and the forms of knowledge to which they give rise.  Research-creation as it is presented here brings attention to the lived materialities, temporalities, and feelings of writing and art making and, through this, brings a political and ethical mode of attention:

“speaking across and with uncomfortable differences… a practice of always opening oneself up as the one who does not know. The one who does not fit. The one whose grammar is denied. It is in the care and curiosity of that risk that I see the most interesting feminist possibilities emerging from this institutional crossroads in the academy.” (Loveless 2012)

The book is about what research-creation can do, while attending to a sense of respons-ability – How do we understand the context we are embedded in as we are embedded in it? Loveless settles on the argument that research-creation is not a method, thus, it cannot be appropriated. To repeat a point I made earlier, research-creation does not describe, explain or represent. It’s about creating concepts and problematising them in the same move. It’s about thinking-in-movement, “thinking saturated with affect” (Springgay and Truman 2016). This book offers lots of metaphors and methodologies, ravelling and unravelling knotty assumptions about knowledge, and about how writing and research are always already material: transduction, promiscuity, ecologies; figures knowing/no-ing; knots. Doing and undoing. As Randy Lee Cutler identifies (276) something about it is always changing; perhaps that’s what people mean when they describe its ‘eventness’. Knowings and Knots explores how things overlap, privileging conversation, and through this, ambiguity. Concepts are extended, debated, kaleidoscopically “trying for an understanding that happens through making, through action, through feeling” (Cowan, 263). For me, research-creation does not offer a theory or definition of art because it is art and it is theory, practicetheory. The point is the unravelling of knots, doing and undoing ideas about what knowledge is, how it is made and who makes it. In alignment with feminist and queer-thinking it asks us to pay attention to who participates, whose labour counts and which modes of address are given scholarly credence.



Bath, J. 2019. Artistic Research Creation for Publicly Engaged Scholarship. In: KULA: knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation studies, 3(1), p.6.

Bishop, C. 2012. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso.

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Lowry, G. 2015. Props to Bad Artists: On Research-Creation and a Cultural Politics of University-Based Art In: RACAR: revue d'art canadienne / Canadian Art Review Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 42-46. AAUC/UAAC (Association des universités d’art du Canada / Universities Art Association of Canada)

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Jennifer Clarke is an anthropologist and practicing artist. She is a Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies in Gray’s School of Art, RGU, Aberdeen, with a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Aberdeen, and a PG Masters in Visual Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Her research, teaching and public work combine and explore the borders of art anthropology, and philosophy in practice and theory from a feminist perspective. She works in Japan and Europe doing research and public work responding to urgent ecological and social issues.  She is also the Chair of the Board for the Scottish Sculpture Workshop.

  • 1[Internet] Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2020]
  • 2An approach to research that combines creative and academic research practices, and supports the development of knowledge and innovation through artistic expression, scholarly investigation, and experimentation. The creation process is situated within the research activity and produces critically informed work in a variety of media (art forms). Research-creation cannot be limited to the interpretation or analysis of a creator’s work, conventional works of technological development, or work that focuses on the creation of curricula. The research-creation process and the resulting artistic work are judged according to SSHRC’s established merit review criteria. Fields that may involve research-creation may include, but are not limited to: architecture, design, creative writing, visual arts (e.g., painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles), performing arts (e.g., dance, music, theatre), film, video, performance art, interdisciplinary arts, media and electronic arts, and new artistic practices. [Internet] Available at:… [Accessed 14 May 2020]