Research reflections

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This is the current state of the piles of books in my little studio room.  I have a structure for my dissertation, an alphabetically listed Bibliography of ~80 references, and the same list arranged by subject.  I still need to do more detailed secondary searching into the source material but I now feel that I have a solid framework to support the actual writing of the text.  So far I have about 1000 words (aim is 6-8,000).  The piles of books are arranged by subject/chapter in the order they come in the essay.  Not sure if it’s too much (or too little)?!

Either way the walking/wandering metaphor for my research and practice development continues to be the best descriptor for the process.  There’s so much information out there, easily available, so many artists doing so many things- the more I look the more there is.  The issue is setting some limits, knowing that I don’t have to put everything in, and that I will need to keep on researching, reading and experimenting right through this year.

I thought I’d got the subject down to a suitable size- three chapters:

  • Human relationship to the earth, especially in times of environmental crisis- theory, philosophy, humanistic geography, how art sits in this terrain
  • Art and walking, mostly contemporary practice, kicked off with a short section on W G Sebald
  • My own walking project- its purpose/s, feminist aspects, and my methodology for ‘catching’ the experience

In terms of research the material I have gathered has come to me in many, many ways.  Very hard to apply academic concepts of research methodology, except (as usual, retrospectively)- my best description is wandering, seemingly lost, in the forest.  Of course, where I go and what I look for is not accidental, but many of the outcomes seem accidental/subtle/just under the surface of consciousness.  Some of the material introduced to us in Karen Tobias-Green’s lectures theorise this very usefully, and I do feel the ‘mystery’ of research as creative exploration, in many disciplines, not just the arts.

So… I need to present this research journey alongside the dissertation.  I can see a number of distinct elements.  To be continued……..

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