Creative Research in the academy: lived experiences of a ‘wicked’ problem
In this online seminar, held via Zoom on Friday 22 July 2022, three remarkable artist-researchers from Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand – Vanessa Tomlinson from Griffith University, Rand Hazou from Massey University, and Beata Batorowicz from University of Southern Queensland – give insights into their creative practice and their strategies for negotiating the tensions of creative research in the academy.
This seminar was presented jointly by the ACHRC Australian Consortium for Humanities Researchers and Centres, and the DDCA Deans and Directors of Creative Arts, and it was convened by Craig Batty from the University of South Australia and Grayson Cooke from Southern Cross University.
Many common themes emerged both from the presentations and subsequent discussions. A primary tension for creative researchers exists in the need to fulfill both professional expectations, standards and needs of industry and community collaborators, and the requirements of universities and the governments they report to. Criteria for success and modes of validation for these various cohorts are often very different, and in this seminar, presenters provided a range of models and literature delineating their strategies for navigating this divide.
Another theme that emerged from the presentations and discussion was the need for greater information sharing, transparency and consistency in how creative research is reported within individual institutions, and how that research is articulated and made publicly available both by institutions and by governments.
The full recording of the seminar is available below, plus a brief bibliography of creative research literature referred to in the presentations.
Professor Craig Batty is Interim Executive Dean (Creative) at the University of South Australia. He is the author, co-author and editor of 15 books, including Script Development: Critical Approaches, Creative Practices, International Perspectives (2021), The Doctoral Experience: Student Stories from the Creative Arts and Humanities (2019), Writing for the Screen: Creative and Critical Approaches (2nd ed.) (2019) and Screen Production Research: Creative Practice as a Mode of Enquiry (2018). He has published book chapters and journals articles on the topics of screenwriting practice, screenwriting theory, creative practice research and doctoral supervision.
Associate Professor Grayson Cooke is an interdisciplinary scholar and media artist, and Chair of Creative Arts at Southern Cross University. Grayson has exhibited and performed at major galleries and festivals internationally including the Japan Media Arts Festival, WRO Media Art Biennale and Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, and he has published widely in academic journals. He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal.
Professor Vanessa Tomlinson is Director of the Creative Arts Research Institute at Griffith University. She lectures and teaches at undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree research levels in music research, artistic methodology, 20th and 21st century music history and culture, new music performance, percussion performance and improvisation. Vanessa is an artist dedicated to exploring how sound shapes our lives. With a long history in experimental music, Vanessa uses this body of knowledge to consider how we listen through site-specific explorations of space and place, and our potential to explore new ideas through sound. Trained as a percussionist, Vanessa relies on this sonic investigation of objects to build compositions, create contexts for improvisation, and collaborate across art-forms and disciplines. She has toured the world for 25 years, premiering over 100 works by significant national and international composers, presenting work at major international festivals, and collaborating with improvisers, dancers, artists and more.
Dr Rand Hazou is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication at Massey University. He is a Palestinian-Kiwi theatre academic and facilitator with experience working across a variety of creative and community contexts. His knowledge of theatre theory combined with practical experience as a theatre facilitator ensures that he brings a developed awareness of ‘practice’ into the seminar room and of ‘critical thought’ into the studio. In 2004, he was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to run workshops for Palestinian youths. In 2012 he received a Cultural Leadership Development Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to deliver the ‘7arakat’|‘Harakat’ Project involving a series of theatre initiatives between Australia and Palestine. In Aotearoa, he has led teaching and creative projects engaging with both prison and aged-care communities. He is co-editor of the special issue of Research in Drama Education (RiDE) on ‘Carcerality, Theatre, Rights’ (forthcoming 2021), and is the editor of the special issue of the Humanities journal entitled ‘Acts of Liberation’.
Associate Professor Beata Batorowicz is the Associate Head (Research) in the School of Creative Arts and an executive team leader for the Centre for Heritage and Culture Research at the University of Southern Queensland. She is a contemporary artist exhibiting nationally and internationally. Engaging in both creative and traditional forms of research, Batorowicz explores personal narratives concerning cultural and gender issues in light of a traumatic past. Her key projects include: Dark Rituals (2018-19) University of Sunshine Coast Gallery and University of Tasmania Gallery, Antipods (2015), University of Saskatchewan, Canada, Tales within Historical Spaces (2012), QUT Art Museum and Wroclaw Academy, Poland. Beata’s projects’ have secured key funding including Australia Council for the Arts (2018-19) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research (2015). Beata is also a recipient of two university citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (2016, 2018).
Barrett, Margaret (ed). Collaborative Creative Thought and Practice in Music. Routledge, 2014.
Burke, Robert, and Andrys Onsman. Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.
Coessens, Kathleen, Darla Crispin and Anne Elizabeth Douglas. The Artistic Turn: a Manifesto.
Leuven University Press, 2009.
Frayling, Christopher. “’… to know the place for the first time…” Exploring and Researching Through the Arts”. The Artist and Academia. Eds. Helen Phelan and Graham F. Welch. Routledge, 2021.
Nelson, Robin, and Suzanne Little. “Australasia.“ Practice as Research in the Arts (and Beyond). Springer, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-90542-2_8.
Schippers, Huib, Vanessa Tomlinson and Paul Draper. “Two Decades of Artistic Research: The Antipodal Experience.” Artistic Research in Music: Discipline and Resistance: Artists and Reseachers at the Orpheus Institute. Ed. Jonathan Impett. Leuven University Press, 2017.