D.5 ROUNDTABLE Research-Creation Caucus: How to be Artist-Scholars In and Outside of the Academy

Thu Oct 21 / 11:30 – 13:00 PDT
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  • Stéphanie (STÉFY) McKnight, Carleton University

Can research-creation happen outside of academic institutions? This year, the Research-Creation Caucus will address current questions related to the methodology of research-creation and its connection to academic institutions. More specifically, how these institutions define research-creationists, and who may practice research-creation. There are opposing positions from artists-scholars that see research-creation as primarily an academic and institutional practice, while others argue that creative knowledges can happen outside of academia and perhaps have done this before the formalization of research-creation in Canada. We as a collective will speak to the following questions: can research-creation disrupt traditional academic knowledge mobilizations if research-creation being produced and defined by academic institutions? What happens to artist-scholars who change their career trajectories to work outside of academia? How does research-creation in institutions uphold and participate in colonial structures of knowledge production and dissemination? This session invites artist-scholars, curators, independent artists and producers to share their work and give perspective on these competing debates.

Stéphanie McKnight (STÉFY) is queer femme of centre white settler artist-scholar based in Katarokwi/Kingston, Ontario. Her creative practice and research focus are policy, activism, governance, and surveillance trends in Canada and North America. Within her research, she explores research-creation as a methodology and the ways that events and objects produce knowledge and activate their audience. STÉFY is a co-collaborator with Dr. Julia Chan on the research-creation project titled CAM HUNTERS. Her research-creation has been exhibited across Ontario. Recent exhibitions include …does it make a sound at Gallery Stratford; Park Life at MalloryTown Landing and Thousand Islands for LandMarks 2017/Repères 2017, Traces at Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre, ORGANIC SURVEILLANCE: Security & Myth in the Rural at the Centre for Indigenous Research-Creation and Hawk Eye View at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. STÉFY is an Assistant Professor in the Bachelor of Media Production and Design at Carleton University.

D.5.1 Matters of Taste in Elementary Students' Research-Creation

Stephanie Springgay, McMaster University

This paper examines two research-creation projects executed by elementary school students through "matters of taste." While young children are often understood to "lack taste" or are assumed to have underdeveloped taste receptors, the projects explored position children as "tastemakers," where taste becomes material, relational, and felt. If taste is conventionally assumed to be an adult quality, something young children are cultivated to acquire, these projects rupture normative and colonial conceptualizations of taste in the context of school, young children, and art. Colonialism was built on disciplinary regimes that sought to regulate the sensibilities of taste and comportment in colonial subjects. As such, educational institutions were a powerful site for the colonial apparatus to naturalize the cultivation of taste and moral behaviour. Privileging the school as a candy factory and a flower boutique, where students engage in a range of experimental projects that examine, disrupt, and cultivate different visceral taste sensations, the resulting research-creation projects question childhood, value, labour, and economy and position elementary school students as changemakers. Addressing the session's urgent questions about doing research-creation outside of the academy and in ways that intervene into colonial structures, this paper asks questions about the radical potential of children as socially-engaged artists engaged in research-creation and problematizes current art criticism that de-values pedagogical art with children. The paper takes up the questions: How might matters of taste as affective, material, and felt alter our accountability and responsibility to anti-oppressive and social justice education? How are children authoring their own liveable worlds and futures through research-creation?

Stephanie Springgay is the Director of the School of the Arts and an Associate Professor at McMaster University. She is a leading scholar of research-creation with a focus on walking, affect, queer theory, and contemporary art as pedagogy. She directs the SSHRC-funded research-creation project The Pedagogical Impulse, which explores the intersections between contemporary art and pedagogy. With Dr. Sarah Truman, she co-directs WalkingLab — an international network of artists and scholars committed to critical approaches to walking methods. Additionally, she is a stream lead on a SSHRC partnership grant, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. Other curatorial projects include The Artist's Soup Kitchen — a 6-week performance project that explores food sovereignty, queer feminist solidarity, and the communal act of cooking and eating together. She has published widely on contemporary art, curriculum studies, and qualitative research methodologies.

D.5.2 Reframing Definition of Identity through Research-Creation

Nurgul Rodriguez, Independent Artist

The purpose of participating in this roundtable is to share the experience of my art career as an independent artist continuing my research-creation after an MFA degree between 2017–21/present. My research area was formed during the writing of my MFA research paper and Thesis Exhibition: How Colonial Languages and Power Shape and Form Immigrant Bodies, Diasporic Individuals in the Multicultural context in Canada. As an independent artist, I aim to develop an understanding of the roots of migrants' challenges through a socially engaged art form in art institutions and organizations. On the other hand, as an immigrant artist, the feeling of being an outsider and/or experiencing otherness has had a negative effect in my post-academia environment throughout the last four years. Through using autoethnography as a method for my research-creation, an idea that originated from my own experience of naturalization and transforming identity enabled me to learn about grant writing, exhibition application, and to continue writing about my studio practice. As an educator studying empathy and racism, I realized that collaborating with communities is critical to my educational approach and my research direction. My research led me to explore contemporary artist-educators who have made socially engaged, participatory and collaborative artworks that explore racism, feminism, and diaspora. For example, Clare Twomey and Suzanne Lacey's socially engaged visual methods; Judy Chicago as a leader of Feminist Art Education (FAE) and Natalie Loveless' research-creation. The practice and the methods of these artist educators and researchers' practices inform my art projects, public programs, and participatory-based exhibitions and performances. They helped me develop pedagogies in learning and teaching related to place-making as a non-native English speaker.

Nurgul Rodriguez is an artist with an interdisciplinary practice. She has an active individual practice of disciplines and media, including porcelain, installation, handmade paper, printmaking, three-dimensional pieces, and more recently, socially engaged and collaborative projects. Her work is social, political, and personal, with a focus on issues of immigration, diasporas, borders, and cultures. She explores becoming a diasporic individual during identity formation within a new culture. Nurgul settled in Calgary in 2009 after many nomadic years of living in Turkey, the United States and Spain with her family. She received a Visual Arts and New Media individual project grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in 2018, Calgary Arts Development Individual Art Project and Canada Council for the Arts. She holds an MFA from the University of Calgary, and she recently completed a residency program at Medalta in Medicine Hat and another at AUArts in Calgary, Calgary Allied Alberta Foundation Residency, Esplanade Artists in Residency. Her work is seen in Remai Modern, borderLINE: 2020 Biennial of Contemporary Art, and Esplanade Arts and Heritage Museum, Landed.

D.5.3 A Comparative Study between Practice-Based Research and Research-Creation

Sojung Bahng, Carleton University

This paper examines practice-based research (PBR) and research-creation from multicultural perspectives. In the 1980s, interest in PBR grew among creative disciplines in Australia, Northern Europe, and the United Kingdom. Research-creation has often been contextualized as the Canadian approach of practice or art-based research in academic institutions. PBR and research-creation both emphasize generating new knowledge through creative practice. Although these concepts have shared value and identity, they are not the same idea or approach. The paper describes the fundamental differences and similarities between PBR and research-creation in terms of knowledge contribution of artistic and creative practice. As case studies, two doctoral dissertations completed in 2020, one from Australia (Sojung Bahng, PBR) and the other from Canada (Stéphanie McKnight (STÉFY), Research-Creation), are compared. Bahng used virtual reality (VR) as an artistic and cinematic medium to explore the concept of reflexivity and created three creative VR projects as part of the research process. Dr. Stéphanie McKnight (STÉFY) used fine art practice as a research-creation methodology and investigated the issue of surveillance and colonialism in contemporary Canada. Both researchers critically reflected their sociocultural identities through artistic practice, showing that multicultural reflective practices are essential for PBR and research-creation. Although both researchers used creative practices as research processes, their methodological approaches for contributing academic knowledge are somewhat different. Bahng used the artistic investigation to explore her research questions around reflexivity and empathy; McKnight examined her fine art practice as a knowledge production itself, so-called research-creation. Bahng's approach reflects PBR's emphasis on extending knowledge through the process of practice in general. McKnight's approach reflects the terminology of research-creation, which puts more importance on creation itself, showing the significance of artistic practice within the context of academic knowledge. This comparative analysis shows how PBR and research-creation are reciprocal, and contextual phenomenological awareness is crucial in generating knowledge from multicultural perspectives.

Dr. Sojung Bahng is an award-winning artist, filmmaker, and researcher. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor at Carleton University. Sojung graduated from the SensiLab at Monash University in Australia and holds degrees from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korea National University of Arts (K-Arts). Sojung explores cinematic media via digital technologies to reflect aesthetic and narrative experiences in cultural and philosophical contexts. Sojung's works have been shown at many prestigious festivals around the world. Her works have been recognized at many international festivals and symposiums, including SIMA in the USA, FIVARS in Canada, BIAF in South Korea, TSFM in Italy, TIAF in Georgia, TEI in Australia, ISEA in the UAE, and more. She also works as a director for Artengine, a multidisciplinary art and research group based in South Korea, and she organizes a practice-based research forum focusing on the Asia Pacific regions.