Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Image Practice, London College of Communication
Practice as research can be defined as the “production of knowledge or philosophy in action”, Influential thinker Estelle Barret proposes in her book 'Practice as Research: approaches to creative arts enquiry’ that “our exploration of artistic research demonstrates that knowledge is derived from doing and from the senses”.
This definition is a truly exciting concept to me and in direct response, this essay is inspired by a key part of my own practice - risograph printing. Using the structure of a risograph workshop I wish to better understand the various ways in which practice can be conceived as research, begin to locate my individual practice within this field and gain a better understanding of how I can plan for further research.
In order to do this I will use an auto-ethnographical viewpoint, reconfiguring personal history and past narratives in an attempt to “make sense of the epiphanies”. Tim Ingold describes this methodology as ‘wayfaring’, arguing that wayfaring is the most fundamental mode of being in the world. I recognise and take ownership of this ethnographic lens as it allows me to use “personal experience and writing to purposefully comment/critique cultural practices; make contributions to existing research; embrace vulnerability with purpose; and create a reciprocal relationship with audiences in order to compel a response.”
The risograph machine is a mechanical being: the simple push of a button begins a chain of movement, leading to the creation of a printed image that can be copied multiple times. The process is straightforward and physical, there is always an air of uncertainty surrounding the outcome and this is met with either elation or dissatisfaction. This printing process brings together so many of my interests: image making, process, collaboration, community and empathy. To me, risograph printing has a deep rooted connection to creative education and academia. In order to examine the possibilities of my practice as research, I shall detail the history and experiences I have had within the past 8 years of experimenting and exploring this machine.
Rachel Davey is a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Image Practice on BA Illustration and Visual Media at London College of Communication. She is interested in process, thinking and discovery through the act of making; exploring drawing, moving-image, collaboration and creative workshops. Her research interests include exploring the impact of socially conscious art and how acts of collaboration and creativity can create meaningful experience.