Mary Scott

Integrated Thinking and Making in a Research Culture

Abstract:

Within a research environment, creative practitioners are required to communicate the systematic thinking that lies behind making. Practice is where problems, issues and contexts originate; it is also where research significance and contributions lie. In general, art training teaches us to speak, principally, about artefacts through reference to theory and through analysis and interpretation of artworks. These forms of contextualisation facilitate understanding of artefacts and the discourse or discourses that surround them and are central to the elucidation and clarification of research problems and outcomes. Yet while contextualization plays a vital role, it does not explicitly evidence the intricate making skills fundamental to methods of practice-based research. It is only through analysis and dissemination of the intrinsic and complex processes of making, that artists will be able to construct reliable methods that clearly, and unequivocally, distinguish research from practice and demonstrate the significance of artistic processes to the production and expansion of knowledge.

This paper reflects on some of the mental and physical making resources underlying my own art practice and these are contextualised through reference to a current research project titled The Taxonomy of Antithesis and Wonder. My aim is to exemplify some of the ways in which I engage in the complexities of creative problem solving using an integrated, but by no means definitive, skill-set that while, specific to my own process of making, I hope nevertheless, add dimension to discussion about research methods.

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Mary Scott:

Dr. Scott is Senior Lecturer and Head of Drawing, Tasmanian School of Art. She also coordinates the unit Specialised Methods in Creative Arts Research as part of University of Tasmania’s Graduate Certificate in Research. Recent exhibitions include Keepers and Kind (2011), Criterion Gallery, Hobart; Wilderness: Balnaves Contemporary Painting (2010), Art Gallery of NSW; Look Out (2010), CAST in collaboration with Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Hobart City $15,000 Invitation Art Prize (Winner Drawing) (2009), TMAG; The Keeping Room (2009), Criterion Gallery, Hobart; Every Minute of Every Day (2009), in ‘Trust’, Ten Days on The Island Festival, Tasmania. Her work is referenced in numerous professional texts and catalogues and is included in significant public and private collections. In 2010 she was recipient of Rising Stars Research Grant, University of Tasmania and since 2000 has been awarded five University of Tasmania Teaching Merit Certificates, a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning (2008) and Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, The Australian Learning and Teaching Council (2008).