drawing the line

Music Illustration and Drawing Research

Category: RPT (page 2 of 3)

Thinking Practices: University of Westminster

A useful page of lnked resources (mostly google books) from course at Westminster.

N.B. a good few of the links given are broken and the Google Docs links are to limited view documents.

Cut and pasted here as useful source material in building new bibliography for amended proposal.


Graeme Sullivan, 2006,  Artefacts as evidence within changing contexts. Working Papers in Art and Design 4. Available online http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol4/gsfull.html

“A central feature of art practice is that it embodies ideas that are given form in the process of making artworks. Irrespective of the informing sources, media preferences, or image-base, the artist exercises individual control over the creation and presentation of artefacts as forms of knowledge. Further, the images and ideas created have the capacity to not only change the artist’s conceptions of reality, but also influence the viewer’s interpretation of artworks. Consequently art practice can be seen as a form of intellectual and imaginative inquiry, and as a place where research can be carried out that is robust enough to yield reliable insights that are well grounded and culturally relevant. This paper argues that artefacts created as a result of visual arts research have the capacity to be interpreted as evidence in a range of robust ways.”

Interesting (almost complete) sections available via google books include Introduction; Very useful: Appendix. Developing and writing creative arts practice research: a guide.


Barbara Bolt, 2006, A Non Standard Deviation: Handlability, Praxical Knowledge and Practice Led Research. In  Speculation and Innovation: applying practice led research in the Creative Industries. Available online http://www.artsresearch.brighton.ac.uk/links/practice-led/Bolt2005.pdf

“Martin Heidegger’s notion of handlability builds on the assumption that our understanding of the world is predicated upon our dealings in the world. According to this perspective, we come to know the world theoretically only after we have come to understand it through handling. Through such dealings, our apprehension is neither merely perceptual nor rational. Rather, such dealings or handling reveals its own kind of tacit knowledge. This
paper investigates the operations of handlability in creative arts research.”


Barbara Bolt, 2006,  Materializing pedagogies. Working Papers in Art and Design vol4. Retrieved November 30, 2008

‘Theorising out of practice, I would argue, involves a very different way of thinking than applying theory to practice. It offers a very specific way of understanding the world, one that is grounded in (to borrow Paul Carter’s term) “material thinking” rather than merely conceptual thinking. Material thinking offers us a way of considering the relations that take place within the very process or tissue of making. In this conception the materials are not just passive objects to be used instrumentally by the artist, but rather the materials and processes of production have their own intelligence that come into play in interaction with the artist’s creative intelligence.”


Estelle Barrett, 2006, Foucault’s What is an Author: Towards a critical discourse of practice as research. Working Papers in Art and Design, 4. Available online: http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol4/ebfull.html

“A problem confronting many artistic researchers is related to the need for the artist to write about his or her own work in the research report or exegesis, The outcomes of such research are not easily quantifiable and it can be difficult to articulate objectively, methods processes, and conclusions that emerge from an alternative logic of practice and the intrinsically subjective dimension of artistic production. Moreover, conventional approaches and models of writing about art generally fall within the domain of criticism, a discourse that tends to focus on connoisieurial evaluation of the finished product. How then, might the artist as researcher avoid on one hand, what has been referred to as “auto-connoisseurship”, the undertaking of a thinly veiled labour of valorising what has been achieved in the creative work, or alternatively producing a research report that is mere description (Nelson 2004)?”


Estelle Barrett, What Does it Meme? The Exegesis as Valorisation and Validation of Creative Arts Research. Available online: http://www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue3/barrett.htm

“In the arts, conventional modes of valorisation such as the gallery system, reviews and criticism focus on the artistic product and hence, lack sustained engagement with the creative processes as models of research. Such engagement is necessary to articulate and validate studio practices as modes of enquiry. A crucial question to initiate this engagement is: ‘What did the studio process reveal that could not have been revealed by any other mode of enquiry?’ Re-versioning of the studio process and its significant moments through the exegesis locates the work within the broader field of practice and theory. It is also part of the replication process that establishes the creative arts as a stable research discipline, able to withstand peer and wider assessment. The exegesis is a primary means of realising creative arts research as ‘meme’.”


Linda Candy 2006 Practice Based Research: A Guide. Sydney: Creativity & Cognition Studios, University of Technology.


Differences between the two types practice related research: practice-based and practice-led.
Essential distinction: “If a creative artefact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge, the research is
practice-based. If the research leads primarily to new understandings about practice, it is practice-led.” (p.3)
The role of the artwork/ creative artefact in reporting the research results
” The artefact is not an explanation in itself:  it requires linguistic description that relates the development and nature of the artefact to understandings about creative process; the text describes the innovation embodied in the artefact but cannot be fully understood without reference to and observation of the artefact.” (p.9)

Scrivener, S. (2004) The practical implications of applying a theory of practice based research: a case study. Working Papers in Art and Design 3. Retrieved November 16, 2008

Scrivener, S. (2002) The art object does not embody a form of knowledge. Working Papers in Art and Design vol2. Retrieved November 16, 2008

Pakes, A. (2004) Art as action or art as object? the embodiment of knowledge in practice as research. Working Papers in Art and Design vol3. Retrieved November 26, 2008

Biggs, M.A.R. (2004) Editorial: the role of the artefact in art and design research. Working Papers in Art and Design 3. Retrieved November 16, 2008

Kathrin Busch, 2009, Artistic Research and the Poetics of Knowledge Art&Research vol 2 (2) [available online]


Balkema, A.W. & Slager, H. (2004) Artistic Research. Rodopi.

full chapters available via ingenta (free PDF download)
pp. 12-31(20)
Author: Slager, Henk

Henk Borgdorff, 2010: Artistic Research as Boundary Work, pages 4-11. In How does Artistic Research Change us? Proceedings of CARPA 1 – 1st Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts. Theatre Academy, Helsinki November 19.-21., 2009 Performing Arts Research Centre, Theatre Academy 2010. ISBN 978-952-9765-59-1. Previously published in: Corina Caduff, Fiona Siegenthaler and Tan Wälchli (Eds) Art and Artistic Research / Kunst und Ku?nstlerische Forschung Zurich Yearbook of the Arts / Zu?rcher Jahrbuch der Ku?nste, vol.6, pp. 72-79 Zu?rcher Hochschule der Ku?nste (ZHdK) and Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess, 2010.


Michael A R Biggs “Learning from Experience: approaches to the experiential componenet of practice-based research” in: Forskning, Reflektion, Utveckling. Stockholm, Vetenskapsrådet, 2004, 6-21. Online version.


Corina Caduff, Fiona Siegenthaler, and Tan Wälchli, Eds. (2010)

Art and Artistic Research: Music, Visual Art, Design, Literature, Dance.The University of Chicago Press


Michael Biggs, Henrik Karlsson, Eds. (2010)

The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts. Routledge


Leavy, P. (2008). Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice. Guilford Press.

Download the sample chapter Social Research and the Creative Arts An Introduction from the editors’ site.

Another interesting chapter available via google books include

The Visual Arts


Gray, C., & Malins, J. (2004). Visualizing research : a guide to the research process in art
and design
Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.


Miles, M. ( 2005). New Practices, New Pedagogies: A Reader. Routledge.

Macleod, K. & Holdridge, L. (2005) Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research. Routledge


Hesse-Biber, S. N. & Leavy, P. (2008) Handbook of Emergent Methods. Guilford Press


Kester, G.H. 2004) Conversation pieces: community and communication in modern art. University of California Press.

[ chapters available in Google Books]

Dialogical Aesthetics

See also:Grant Kester Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially-Engaged Art.


Journal Studies in Material Thinking

selection of relevant papers:

Miles, A.(2008) Virtual Actual: Hypertext as Material Writing. . Studies in Material Thinking 1 (2). Retrieved November 30, 2008.

Ross, T.(2008) Material Thinking: the aesthetic philosophy of Jacques Rancière and the design art of Andrea Zittel Studies in Material Thinking 1 (2). Retrieved November 30, 2008.



Key Texts October 2012

I need two heads? Practice V Research

“It would be wonderful to have some conferences, and then some books, on which practices are best served by self-awareness. (And another set of conferences and books on the practices most amenable to research, as in point number 2.) From a philosophic standpoint, two more even more difficult problems would then follow: Who can measure self-awareness? Who is trained in teaching it?”
From James Elkins – Reasons to mistrust the phd ( Updates for a second edition of ‘Artists with Phd: On the new doctoral degree in art’
Source: http://jimandmargaret.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/reasons-to-mistrust-the-phd-numbers-5-7/

This seems to me to go to the heart of the problem. I am mid-way through a M.A. by registered project which a more flexible version of a standard M.A. where the student sets own parameters. I am going to suggest to my supervisors that the second year consists of two distinct self-set pathways.

One studio practice in painting ignoring ‘research’ and secondly an analysis of this from a very ‘research-orientated’ perspective via my cartoons. Not sure how that will go down but it does attempt to wrestle with the problem. Can one have two heads? Probably not. I will keep a reflective journal of my practice day by day that purely practice driven.

The cartoons/research will comment separately on where I think practice does cross-over naturally with ‘research’ or not as the case may be. This then begs the question ‘where is the research located’?

Post Conference Papers


Have rewritten the ‘Perfect maps:Imperfect Practice’ paper to contain new knowledge gained at conferences.

This paper has now appeared as part of Drawing Research network proceedings 2012 and now available here: http://www.drawing-research-network.org.uk/drn-2012-proceedings/

New title is Can grey ravens fly: Beyond Frayling’s categories.

Here original document and the associated cartoon strip.




RP Research Overview 2010-2011 – conclusion

It is ‘Graphic Research’ Spock but not as we know it…

An earlier post (see below) relates my two year long tussle with the idea of a ‘Multimedia’ M.A.by research project which spawned tis separate research trajectory as a by-product.

The turning point for treating cartooning of art criticism/history as a viable research subject came with my acceptance for the Mostyn Humorous Intent Symposium in March and subsequently acceptance for three drawing related symposia in September 2012. All related to notions of practice and drawing in some way. All reflected my seven year output of critical cartoons and blog entries which began in 2005. In this period I have had work published by Axis, Arts Professional and Matter Magazine ( interview with Matthew Collings). Ironically none of this has been recognised ot supported in any way by my institution. Indeed this has been conducted beneath the radar because of the nature of the material created and because as a member of a ‘Multimedia’ faculty I was coerced into accepting a ‘Multimedia’ M.A. as part of professional development. Ironically again, professional development seemed to disappear when my course was closed down (it has two years to run) in October 2011 coinciding with my decision to take a year of absence because of my mother’s serious illness of which she passed away in June this year. Having removed both the raison d’etre of professional development and having offered no supervision or help at all during my first year of ‘study’ it not surprising I a little confused.

I took matters in my own hands in March 2012 by applying to the Mostyn conference which firmly in the Fine Art area. The drawing conferences could be seen as straddling both fine art and graphic design. In light of this it makes clear sense to me that if I attempt a PhD M.A. it  should be re-assigned into one of these two areas and I hope to sort this out before commencing one. As the research also combines pedagogic research it may be difficult to find a supervisor again. Trent is presently lacking a art history professor or staff at that level with a art history background since Richard Woodfield left maybe the new Dean will freshen things up a bit. That is for future after the M.A. completed.

So I now have to complete the three symposia. Develop or rewrite the original MA:RPT proposal in light of changes of direction.and then focus on creating a body of work in the ‘graphic research’ area to lead up to PhD ( a term invented by myself in conversation with Ian Williams a.k.a.Thom Ferrier at a graphic novel conference at Nottingham Contemporary).

My interests going forward towards PhD (RESEARCH ROUTE) are firmly in the areas of art criticism/history (comic and written) and for M.A (PRACTICE ROUTE) new media and painting and drawing.

Even a week of travelling elsewhere artistically speaking is very welcome…..and maybe signals a new start.

Moogee on tour? September 2012

I am busy preparing for three drawing related conferences in a row in early September 2012. It feels a bit like doing music or poetry gigs 🙂

The first is ‘Practice makes Perfect: Theorising method in in visual research’

at Swansea Metropolitan University on 9th/10th September.


The second Drawing Research Network: ‘Drawing Knowledge’ at Loughborough University on 10th/11th September.


and finally ‘Thinking Through Drawing 2012: drawing in STEAM’ at Wimbledon College of Art on 12-14 September.


The first and second will be a paper/presentation about my practice called

‘Perfect Maps and Imperfect Practice: How practice-led methodology turned into graphic research.’

probably delivered in a cartoon/comic strip or graphic novel style 🙂

The third is different in that I have been invited to perform live drawing whilst the conference events in progress alongside such artists as Robert Shadbolt see http://robertshadbolt.net and Yoon Bakh Royal College Innovation Design http://rca.academia.edu/YoonBahk.

Students and Staff at NCN ‘interactive drawing workshop’ March 2012.


Graphic Research? NTU CADBE Research Day poster

Graphic Research Poster

Practice Makes Perfect?

I shall be giving a pesentation at this Symposium in September based on the following paper:

Perfect Maps and Imperfect Practice: How practice-led methodology turned into graphic research.




RP Research Overview 2010-2011 – first draft

I am looking at a range of options to decide whether I pursue film or drawing as my second year of RPT.  At present I have reviewed all of the sources that I have found over the past two years.  The illustration below shows the strongest categories in my original research blog in 2010 and 11.

(Click to see larger version)

Looking at the spider diagram one can see how the original parameters changed as I went through the year.  The above diagram does not include any references to non-multimedia i.e.  Drawing related practice as at this point I was keeping this separate.  I began with a fairly tight proposal focused narrowly upon using the then new tablets and possibly applications running on tablets which used a narrow geographical location as its subject matter.  As I progressed through the year and investigated the area more deeply I found myself moving away from the original proposal.  My original idea of using GPS within a hand held application was quickly undermined by a rapid development of several freely available apps which operated very similarly to my original concept.  These included the Spanish paint map use of Google maps API and the Brothers and Sisters ‘Street Museum’ for the Museum of London.Since then the History Pin android app pretty much does what I was hoping to prototype. I also looked carefully at the category of Locative drawing.  This seemed to me to be a fairly shallow theoretical area which had been explored thoroughly and had produced a range of outcomes from the banal to the quite good. At this point I seemed to be drawn most to Richard Coyne’s theory of ‘Tuning of Place’ and the ‘multimedia work of Martin Reiser.

Having a year break has reinforced the turn away from this original idea as both hardware and software developments have moved on a pace.


My first actions on location on the actual disused railway track involved photographing places along it.  In the course of this I met a local photographer and historian who is very active in documenting this particular location.  This led me to investigate the then new concept of context provision and to consider placing my practice within a social practice container.  Once again I felt that this categorisation did not really reflect my aims.  There are elements of my practice as a web practitioner which could be seen as context provision.  However, advice for me, sale this was not an area I wished to develop at this point.

Having decided that my research project should produce quantifiable research and physical artefacts as outcomes I reconsidered my position and turned to photography/film as a more solid theoretical base and area to explore.  This was reinforced by the wider availability of DSLR HD cameras as well as the increasing potential of mobile phones to shoot video footage.  Two photography mentors suggested that I focus on producing manageable outcomes in a variety of media.  I also discussed with them the concept of deep mapping and especially the work of Cliff McLucas and Mike Pearson in regard to performance mixed with graphical elements and video.  This for me, all linked directly to the work of Patrick Keiller especially in his recent ‘Robinson in Ruins’ film.

At this point (November 2011) I had taken several photos on location and voiceover films via mobile phone incorporating local history/natural observation/political commentary live as I was walking along the track.  This correlates with a lot of contemporary theory and practice in terms of both Locative and dialogue related practice.  Some of this practice appears to me to be weak if not founded on a thorough knowledge of the area being traversed.  I bring to my practice knowledge gained over 25 years of researching and writing poetry informed by local history and natural observation.  This enabled me to ad lib continuously over handheld film for 40 minutes.  This was very experimental and obviously is not tightly scripted nor well edited material.  Indeed the very amateurish and ad-hoc nature of the performance as recorded is a necessary part of the experimentation and the final output.

View on Vimeo here : http://vimeo.com/user2430018/videos

Following up suggestions from mentors I have been investigating the theories in respect to early rail travel and early cinema.  Rebecca Solnit, Lynne Kirby and Wofgang Schivelbusch have been most useful in terms of examining the experience of place on this disused railway line.  However I also from an art historical point of view found myself digressing in to a great deal of art historical research.  Especially in regard to a little documented art colony known as the Blewbury artists and related material.  This colony and other artists such as Alexander Mann had direct physical connection to the area of railway track I was working on and alongside.  Subsequent research uncovered a rare set of etchings in a Folio edition by Alexander Mann called ‘Gnats and other hindrances to the landscape artist’.  These etchings possibly show an early knowledge of photography and cinema.  The publication was found in a house Alexander Mann had occupied in the village of East Hagbourne next to the disused track.  Below a couple of illustrations from the folio I discovered.  This suite of etchings has a performative and animated aspect. (see Appendix One)

I however cannot directly link this portfolio to this area.  Others sketches by Alexander Mann do correlate with the location.  These drawings appear to relate to a Scottish landscape particularly in their subject matter i.e.  Gnats being actually Scottish midges!  Mann is not the only artist who relates directly from the historical point of view to the track I was walking.  I went into some depth in locating various individuals as they linked to my own practice in the early 1990s.  I have found one Mann easel painting which appears to be the same view I drew some 90 years later.

Alexander Mann – The Road to Wittenham Clumps near oxford 1901 (Government Art Collection)


However as with previous research diversions this material takes me very far away from the original premise of the research project.  At present I have put this particular research on hold until I can find a way of reintegrating with the notion of multimedia.


Returning to the idea of multimedia and leaving the historical aspect for while I re-examined the material shot on the Sony Xperia Mini mobile phone.  This is low quality footage gathered by holding the phone in front of my face and speaking as walking.  This enabled me to produce a voice-over in the manner of Patrick Keiller not with a far more personal focus.  I have also experimented with this footage by stripping out the frames using free software and then moving through the sequence by hand and using screen capture software to produce a fake’ film’.  The results I have posted to my vimeo website.  My interest here relates to the Solnit and Schivelbusch concepts of film and railway time being linked.  In my case I am slowing down the film manually to create ‘walking time’ as my viewpoint is that of the walker not of the railway carriage occupant.  This can be seen to link to Darren Almonds contemporary work with film and trains.  I also see it as linking to Philippe Parreno’s reconstruction of the funeral train journey of Robert Kennedy’s body only in my case I am deconstructing the view from the train completely and replacing it with a walk thus reversing the technological advance which aligns with the physical deconstruction of an arterial route.  This particular line reveals a post imperial contraction as commerce and goods ceased to flow through the traditional ports such as Southampton. Thus this in a greater sense reveals the nature of Britain as a post imperial, service led rather than manufacturing economy. My political comments came about through voiceover as a natural addendum to the film.  As I have stated this was not scripted or planned.  In this regard that commentary links directly to my work in poetry.

This project has been directly influenced by a sense of loss.  My father died in 2004 from cancer and my mother suffered from carcinoid cancer in the period 2005 to 2012 and died on the 8th June 2012.  My focus on the track was done in the full knowledge that I would be visiting the area regularly and that this would be the last time I could focus on it fully.  I intend through the summer of 2012 to complete a series of short films with no dialogue related to their loss.  I also intend to create more artefacts out of my engagement with the track itself.  Whether or not this will be shown or  included as part of my final M.A.  RPT multimedia  summation depends upon the direction I choose from September 2012 onwards.  This I will decide in due course.  This document acts as a summing up of the various directions my research has taken over the past two years including the year of leave of absence.  It is intended to clarify these tentative investigations both for myself and any potential supervisors.

Shaun Belcher June 2012


References:( to come)


Almond, Darren
Coyne, Richard
Keiller, Patrick
Kirby, Lynne
Lubbren, Nina
McLucas, Cliff
Mann, Alexander
Parreno, Phillippe
Pearson, Mike
Reiser, Martin
Schwivelbusch, Wolfgang
Solnit , Rebecca


Appendix One:
London: Fine Art Society, 1884. Oblong folio. A special publisher’s Presentation Binding in full pigskin. x pages, etched title page and 16 etched plates, each in two states, with a third state of 10 plates also present. Number 9 of 250 copies of the large-paper issue.
A nice association copy, owned by James Mann, the artist’s father, with his bookplate.  The book also bears the bookplate of the flamboyant architect and historian, Roderick Gradidge. Alexander Mann was a Glasgow-born, Paris-trained artist.  This suite of delicate comic etchings depict the trevails of the poor landscape painter who must deal with rain, insects, cumbersome easels and umbrellas.  This copy is in a full pigskin binding by Maclehose of Glasgow, most probably designed by the artist.  The copy contains two states of all etchings and a third state of ten of them. The first state of Plate VIII is on inferior paper and is slightly spotted, else a very good copy with very minor edge marks.  OCLC lists two copies of what appears to be the regular edition with seventeen etchings only.  Those are at Cambridge and the British Library.  No copies are cited as being in American libraries and we could find none selling at auction during the past twenty-five years.
Source: http://www.bookpress.com/featured_402.html



Drawing Research Network Conference September

I am very pleased to be one of the speakers at this year’s conference at Loughborough.

The Directors of the DRN and TRACEY are pleased to announce
the 2012 Drawing Research Network Conference.

10th and 11th September 2012
School of the Arts/Loughborough Design School – Loughborough University

Further details here:


Alongside the Conference I have also been selected for a digital show.

Here the images that selected.

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