As movement research artists that have built their careers in the University, Jane and Vida have long been invested in the development of Practice as Research (PaR) (otherwise called Artistic Research, Performance as Research, Practice led Research etc) both within and without the academy.
PaR proposes that the creative work of the artist can be undertaken and acknowledged as a form of research. PaR necessitates asking questions about arts practice and its processes, as well as articulating and sharing research through artistic means. As Hazel Smith and Roger Dean note, PaR arises out of the idea ‘that creative work in itself is a form of research and generates detectable research outputs’ (2009: 5).
In PaR creative works contribute to the outcomes of a research process and contribute to the ‘answering’ of a research question. Yet the rigorous practices of artistic researchers remain, at times, at odds with conventional knowledge formation. As such, PaR has entailed the reassessment of the status of and relationships between processes of making and processes of theorizing, wherein the research is not (only) thinking about art (as external object), but is engaged in materially creative thinking within and through the practices of art making, and, in this case, dance making, wherein making, beyond acts of more simply doing, encompass reflective processes and products.
PaR has given rise to ontological, epistemological and methodological questions such as: what is the nature and modality of knowledge in choreographic PaR; what methodologies and ways of working are at play in this approach to research; what can be discovered and shared through choreographic PaR that other approaches do not reveal; and how can the knowing/knowledge that this modality foregrounds be made evident, and therefore shareable, in line with the responsibilities of researchers to make their insights available to others?
Contributing to these debates both Jane and Vida publish and give talks regularly in this field.
Also – seeing a gap in the routes to publication suitable for the writings emerging from PaR – we founded and continue to edit ‘Choreographic Practices‘ – a hybrid peer reviewed journal for PaR in choreographic forms.