Beyond Practice & Back Again

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

Abstract

As a freelance artist it is rare to have time to fully reflect on practice to develop meaningful research engagement and outcomes. However, when working in Academia it can be hard to maintain your artistic practice whilst engaged in pedagogy and research. This written submission will use the personal account of full-time senior lecturer Lorraine Smith’s journey into Arts and Humanities research, critically analysing her transition from independent dance artist to early career researcher. The life of a freelance artist is fraught with the difficulties of trying to make a living and juggling work for other people and organisations with your own artistic endeavours. Looking for the next job whilst applying for arts funding seldom allows for time and space to step back and evaluate your work and its connections to current research and the wider society. Becoming a full-time academic alleviates the worries of the next pay cheque, creating time and distance to reflect on artistic practice and previous experiences. It also embeds you in a hive of research activity and innovation. Simultaneously intimidated and inspired by this new environment, Lorraine was able to theoretically contextualise her choreographic practice and experience of working as performer and choreographer for the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, triggering a wealth of research activity that connected her with the niche international community of costume researchers. This research included the impact of costume on dance performance practice and pedagogy, and the coining of the term ‘costumographer’ as a new definition for choreographers and performers working with costume as the starting point and principal focus of the performance. This research has also facilitated an evolution of artistic forms from dance theatre to wearable sculpture for (interactive) performance installations. The academic world has led to wider connections beyond the arts. For instance, the introduction of University ‘Grand Challenges’: addressing five thematic areas of research and innovation that face society, have instigated a much more interdisciplinary cross-school approach towards research projects. This has led to new potential applications for Lorraine’s costume research, such as health and wellbeing, bringing a plethora of unexpected challenges relating to scientific methodologies and proposals to understand and traverse. However, this fruitful journey has not been straightforward. As a full-time academic it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time in the workload to take ‘Research & Scholarly Activity’ hours, i.e. to write that journal article proposal, more so as pressures to create research that contributes to the REF and/or brings in money for the school’s research budget grows. This is highlighted by Lorraine’s experiences of commencing a lecturer position that required teaching from day one, and a reliance on the kindness and patience of colleagues to help her make sense of academic research and how and where her own artistic work might fit in. There is also the ongoing struggle of the ‘freelance artist – turned academic’ trying to stay connected to their practice. With a large focus on teaching delivery and pedagogic development, artistic outcomes can become limited to creating for student performances. To try and venture back into the professional realms of performance becomes even more difficult as you find the industry no longer views you as a practicing artist. How do you maintain your artistic identity amongst the planning, teaching, marking, pastoral care, support of student futures, recruitment targets, etc.? Using the perspective of an early career arts researcher/full-time lecturer, this proposed contribution will give an honest and in-depth look into the trials and tribulations of an artist trying to define, redefine and preserve their identity in the world of academia, offering advice on how, with some careful navigating, you can return to practice in a much more meaningful and transformative way. This submission reflects the ethos of the publication to reveal and make sense of the world of Arts and Humanities research. This will include highlighting the disciplinary boundaries it can cross, the turmoil it can unleash (both for practice and identity), the supportive communities it can create and the exciting collaborations and innovations it can ignite.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Feb 2019

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Cite this

Smith, L. (Accepted/In press). Beyond Practice & Back Again. In Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities
Smith, Lorraine. / Beyond Practice & Back Again. Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities. 2019.
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title = "Beyond Practice & Back Again",
abstract = "As a freelance artist it is rare to have time to fully reflect on practice to develop meaningful research engagement and outcomes. However, when working in Academia it can be hard to maintain your artistic practice whilst engaged in pedagogy and research. This written submission will use the personal account of full-time senior lecturer Lorraine Smith’s journey into Arts and Humanities research, critically analysing her transition from independent dance artist to early career researcher. The life of a freelance artist is fraught with the difficulties of trying to make a living and juggling work for other people and organisations with your own artistic endeavours. Looking for the next job whilst applying for arts funding seldom allows for time and space to step back and evaluate your work and its connections to current research and the wider society. Becoming a full-time academic alleviates the worries of the next pay cheque, creating time and distance to reflect on artistic practice and previous experiences. It also embeds you in a hive of research activity and innovation. Simultaneously intimidated and inspired by this new environment, Lorraine was able to theoretically contextualise her choreographic practice and experience of working as performer and choreographer for the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, triggering a wealth of research activity that connected her with the niche international community of costume researchers. This research included the impact of costume on dance performance practice and pedagogy, and the coining of the term ‘costumographer’ as a new definition for choreographers and performers working with costume as the starting point and principal focus of the performance. This research has also facilitated an evolution of artistic forms from dance theatre to wearable sculpture for (interactive) performance installations. The academic world has led to wider connections beyond the arts. For instance, the introduction of University ‘Grand Challenges’: addressing five thematic areas of research and innovation that face society, have instigated a much more interdisciplinary cross-school approach towards research projects. This has led to new potential applications for Lorraine’s costume research, such as health and wellbeing, bringing a plethora of unexpected challenges relating to scientific methodologies and proposals to understand and traverse. However, this fruitful journey has not been straightforward. As a full-time academic it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time in the workload to take ‘Research & Scholarly Activity’ hours, i.e. to write that journal article proposal, more so as pressures to create research that contributes to the REF and/or brings in money for the school’s research budget grows. This is highlighted by Lorraine’s experiences of commencing a lecturer position that required teaching from day one, and a reliance on the kindness and patience of colleagues to help her make sense of academic research and how and where her own artistic work might fit in. There is also the ongoing struggle of the ‘freelance artist – turned academic’ trying to stay connected to their practice. With a large focus on teaching delivery and pedagogic development, artistic outcomes can become limited to creating for student performances. To try and venture back into the professional realms of performance becomes even more difficult as you find the industry no longer views you as a practicing artist. How do you maintain your artistic identity amongst the planning, teaching, marking, pastoral care, support of student futures, recruitment targets, etc.? Using the perspective of an early career arts researcher/full-time lecturer, this proposed contribution will give an honest and in-depth look into the trials and tribulations of an artist trying to define, redefine and preserve their identity in the world of academia, offering advice on how, with some careful navigating, you can return to practice in a much more meaningful and transformative way. This submission reflects the ethos of the publication to reveal and make sense of the world of Arts and Humanities research. This will include highlighting the disciplinary boundaries it can cross, the turmoil it can unleash (both for practice and identity), the supportive communities it can create and the exciting collaborations and innovations it can ignite.",
author = "Lorraine Smith",
note = "This edited collection brings together critical articulations that explore the spaces, places and territories that exist above and below, amidst and with/out borders in Arts & Humanities research. Are some approaches and pathways favoured more than others? How does research that deviates from traditional practice enact its criticality? Do institutional or other boundaries affect/effect your research? Can questioning the familiar elicit the unfamiliar? Is provocation necessarily to re/define your research territory? Does defining your research confine your research? How can addressing these sorts of questions provide possibilities for the Arts and Humanities more broadly? The Beyond Borders book will form an innovative transdisciplinary, cross-cultural and experimental textual space that traverses (creative) research disciplines to reflect individual research approaches, methodologies, ways of articulation and more. As the many intersecting fields of Arts & Humanities research have evolved, so too has its inherent complexity and its propensity to push the parameters of research itself. This publication seeks to make visible and reflect on the pathways, roots and routes vital to undertaking Arts and Humanities research. In doing so, it aims to explore the boundaries – of writing, the printed text and academia – by bringing to the fore the many articulations, provocations and performativities that underpin Arts & Humanities research.",
year = "2019",
month = "2",
day = "1",
language = "English",
booktitle = "Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities",

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Smith, L 2019, Beyond Practice & Back Again. in Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities.

Beyond Practice & Back Again. / Smith, Lorraine.

Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities. 2019.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

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T1 - Beyond Practice & Back Again

AU - Smith, Lorraine

N1 - This edited collection brings together critical articulations that explore the spaces, places and territories that exist above and below, amidst and with/out borders in Arts & Humanities research. Are some approaches and pathways favoured more than others? How does research that deviates from traditional practice enact its criticality? Do institutional or other boundaries affect/effect your research? Can questioning the familiar elicit the unfamiliar? Is provocation necessarily to re/define your research territory? Does defining your research confine your research? How can addressing these sorts of questions provide possibilities for the Arts and Humanities more broadly? The Beyond Borders book will form an innovative transdisciplinary, cross-cultural and experimental textual space that traverses (creative) research disciplines to reflect individual research approaches, methodologies, ways of articulation and more. As the many intersecting fields of Arts & Humanities research have evolved, so too has its inherent complexity and its propensity to push the parameters of research itself. This publication seeks to make visible and reflect on the pathways, roots and routes vital to undertaking Arts and Humanities research. In doing so, it aims to explore the boundaries – of writing, the printed text and academia – by bringing to the fore the many articulations, provocations and performativities that underpin Arts & Humanities research.

PY - 2019/2/1

Y1 - 2019/2/1

N2 - As a freelance artist it is rare to have time to fully reflect on practice to develop meaningful research engagement and outcomes. However, when working in Academia it can be hard to maintain your artistic practice whilst engaged in pedagogy and research. This written submission will use the personal account of full-time senior lecturer Lorraine Smith’s journey into Arts and Humanities research, critically analysing her transition from independent dance artist to early career researcher. The life of a freelance artist is fraught with the difficulties of trying to make a living and juggling work for other people and organisations with your own artistic endeavours. Looking for the next job whilst applying for arts funding seldom allows for time and space to step back and evaluate your work and its connections to current research and the wider society. Becoming a full-time academic alleviates the worries of the next pay cheque, creating time and distance to reflect on artistic practice and previous experiences. It also embeds you in a hive of research activity and innovation. Simultaneously intimidated and inspired by this new environment, Lorraine was able to theoretically contextualise her choreographic practice and experience of working as performer and choreographer for the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, triggering a wealth of research activity that connected her with the niche international community of costume researchers. This research included the impact of costume on dance performance practice and pedagogy, and the coining of the term ‘costumographer’ as a new definition for choreographers and performers working with costume as the starting point and principal focus of the performance. This research has also facilitated an evolution of artistic forms from dance theatre to wearable sculpture for (interactive) performance installations. The academic world has led to wider connections beyond the arts. For instance, the introduction of University ‘Grand Challenges’: addressing five thematic areas of research and innovation that face society, have instigated a much more interdisciplinary cross-school approach towards research projects. This has led to new potential applications for Lorraine’s costume research, such as health and wellbeing, bringing a plethora of unexpected challenges relating to scientific methodologies and proposals to understand and traverse. However, this fruitful journey has not been straightforward. As a full-time academic it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time in the workload to take ‘Research & Scholarly Activity’ hours, i.e. to write that journal article proposal, more so as pressures to create research that contributes to the REF and/or brings in money for the school’s research budget grows. This is highlighted by Lorraine’s experiences of commencing a lecturer position that required teaching from day one, and a reliance on the kindness and patience of colleagues to help her make sense of academic research and how and where her own artistic work might fit in. There is also the ongoing struggle of the ‘freelance artist – turned academic’ trying to stay connected to their practice. With a large focus on teaching delivery and pedagogic development, artistic outcomes can become limited to creating for student performances. To try and venture back into the professional realms of performance becomes even more difficult as you find the industry no longer views you as a practicing artist. How do you maintain your artistic identity amongst the planning, teaching, marking, pastoral care, support of student futures, recruitment targets, etc.? Using the perspective of an early career arts researcher/full-time lecturer, this proposed contribution will give an honest and in-depth look into the trials and tribulations of an artist trying to define, redefine and preserve their identity in the world of academia, offering advice on how, with some careful navigating, you can return to practice in a much more meaningful and transformative way. This submission reflects the ethos of the publication to reveal and make sense of the world of Arts and Humanities research. This will include highlighting the disciplinary boundaries it can cross, the turmoil it can unleash (both for practice and identity), the supportive communities it can create and the exciting collaborations and innovations it can ignite.

AB - As a freelance artist it is rare to have time to fully reflect on practice to develop meaningful research engagement and outcomes. However, when working in Academia it can be hard to maintain your artistic practice whilst engaged in pedagogy and research. This written submission will use the personal account of full-time senior lecturer Lorraine Smith’s journey into Arts and Humanities research, critically analysing her transition from independent dance artist to early career researcher. The life of a freelance artist is fraught with the difficulties of trying to make a living and juggling work for other people and organisations with your own artistic endeavours. Looking for the next job whilst applying for arts funding seldom allows for time and space to step back and evaluate your work and its connections to current research and the wider society. Becoming a full-time academic alleviates the worries of the next pay cheque, creating time and distance to reflect on artistic practice and previous experiences. It also embeds you in a hive of research activity and innovation. Simultaneously intimidated and inspired by this new environment, Lorraine was able to theoretically contextualise her choreographic practice and experience of working as performer and choreographer for the MA Costume for Performance at London College of Fashion, triggering a wealth of research activity that connected her with the niche international community of costume researchers. This research included the impact of costume on dance performance practice and pedagogy, and the coining of the term ‘costumographer’ as a new definition for choreographers and performers working with costume as the starting point and principal focus of the performance. This research has also facilitated an evolution of artistic forms from dance theatre to wearable sculpture for (interactive) performance installations. The academic world has led to wider connections beyond the arts. For instance, the introduction of University ‘Grand Challenges’: addressing five thematic areas of research and innovation that face society, have instigated a much more interdisciplinary cross-school approach towards research projects. This has led to new potential applications for Lorraine’s costume research, such as health and wellbeing, bringing a plethora of unexpected challenges relating to scientific methodologies and proposals to understand and traverse. However, this fruitful journey has not been straightforward. As a full-time academic it is becoming increasingly difficult to find time in the workload to take ‘Research & Scholarly Activity’ hours, i.e. to write that journal article proposal, more so as pressures to create research that contributes to the REF and/or brings in money for the school’s research budget grows. This is highlighted by Lorraine’s experiences of commencing a lecturer position that required teaching from day one, and a reliance on the kindness and patience of colleagues to help her make sense of academic research and how and where her own artistic work might fit in. There is also the ongoing struggle of the ‘freelance artist – turned academic’ trying to stay connected to their practice. With a large focus on teaching delivery and pedagogic development, artistic outcomes can become limited to creating for student performances. To try and venture back into the professional realms of performance becomes even more difficult as you find the industry no longer views you as a practicing artist. How do you maintain your artistic identity amongst the planning, teaching, marking, pastoral care, support of student futures, recruitment targets, etc.? Using the perspective of an early career arts researcher/full-time lecturer, this proposed contribution will give an honest and in-depth look into the trials and tribulations of an artist trying to define, redefine and preserve their identity in the world of academia, offering advice on how, with some careful navigating, you can return to practice in a much more meaningful and transformative way. This submission reflects the ethos of the publication to reveal and make sense of the world of Arts and Humanities research. This will include highlighting the disciplinary boundaries it can cross, the turmoil it can unleash (both for practice and identity), the supportive communities it can create and the exciting collaborations and innovations it can ignite.

M3 - Chapter

BT - Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities

ER -

Smith L. Beyond Practice & Back Again. In Beyond Borders? Articulations, provocations and performativities in Arts & Humanities. 2019