February 28, 2014
Yep…I’m just that much of an overachiever that even before finishing Assignment 2, I am already scheming just what I might do for Assignment 3. But, lest I seduce you all into thinking that I am a model Type A student (which though I think I have brief flashes of…I am pretty sure I’m not) here’s some rationale for my forward thinking weekend, presented in logical + academic numbered points.
1. I am giving my Assignment 2 presentation on a Tuesday, March 11. (and fun fact…all day March 11 I have my first ever jury duty session…for the first time ever, I’m hoping to not make the cut.)
2. March 13-16 or, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be attending the AIGA Design Educators Conference where I’ll once more be
partying it up collaborating and connecting with other design educators about how to better teach and reach our student populations.
3. Assignment 3 is due Sunday, March 16.
4. I’ve been invited to an epic St. Patrick’s Day party on Monday, March 17.
February 27, 2014
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that arts-based research is kind of the best thing ever because it combines art methodology and academic research and it is holistic and it actually has the potential to move close the gap that seems to exist between theories and musings and other amazing academic endeavors and the stuff of human life and human emotion. Yesterday I was all hung up on truth and power and identity and yet after doing yet more reading today, I’m coming to realize that truth doesn’t really matter…arts-based research like art itself isn’t about finding the “one” right answer rather it is about opening dialogue.
It seems to be hardwired into me (and I’d say many many others) that because I’m in school, I need to find the one right answer. I can write eloquent sentences about my epistemology and my own constructive ontology and yet when I actually live…it’s so much harder because when there are lots of right answers…you actually have to pay attention to details and context and all the thick, textural goodness that is life. I think my new challenge is to take the capital “S” out of school and the captial “R” in research instead approach these endeavors like I do my own creative practice.
And also along the lines of arts-based research, I want to make a short movie because I have no experience in movie making and I think it would be awesome to try and yeah…everyone needs to try movie making occasionally, right? I think, yes.
February 27, 2014
“Nothing good comes easily. You have to lose things you thought you loved, give up things you thought you needed. You have to get over yourself, beyond your past, out from under the weight of your future. The good stuff never comes when things are easy. It comes when things are all heavily weighted down like moving trucks. It comes when you think it never will, like a shimmering Las Vegas rising up out of the dry desert, sparkling and humming with energy, a blessing that rose up out of a bone-dry, dusty curse.”—Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
Yep. I’m tracking…out from under the weight of the future seems to reverberate through my own head. This is heavy work I’m doing, growing myself. And it’s also heavy future work I’m doing, dabbling in theories and systems that will indeed someday change things for the better. But it’s good work too. And ever onward I shall go…
February 26, 2014
Last night in the flurry of research and new potential and new ideas (arguably my favorite part of any new project…pursuing the many options is totally intoxicating for me. Nailing things down, figuring out the details, actually managing people through the details…yeah, I hate to say it given my current management position, but it’s a stretch for me. If I could just have crazy big ideas all the time and not have to worry about the actual “real life” part of things my life would be infinitely less stressful. But I digress…) Last night I came across this research concept and conveniently named non-profit called “photovoice.”
Photovoice is a participatory research method where people take photos of their daily experiences or their world or things that are important to them. Then the photographers construct narratives about the photos they’ve taken which when shared, give researchers vital information into how said people see the world, see places where activism needs to occur, etc. It’s often used with marginalized people groups as it is such a direct route to seeing the world through another person’s eyes. Photography falls into the canon of arts-based research, thus photovoice too falls under the umbrella.
In early brainstorming about how we could introduce the idea of arts-based research to the cohort, I came up with the idea of having the cohort use photovoice to take pictures of their lives/experiences as doctoral students in a distance education program as a sort of pre-presentation exercise. My partner thought it was a good idea, so hopefully we can get it off the ground.
February 25, 2014
And…Assignment 2 has begun.
I’d say that there is no rest for the weary doctoral student, but in all actuality I did get plenty of rest the last several days on my own self-proclaimed “step away for personal sanity” break. Good news is that the break actually worked and I’m excited to get back into things, fire up Google Scholar, hit the digital library, and see what amazing journal article rabbit trails I can follow and eventually put together yet another project.
For this assignment, I don’t have to conquer any mega monsters of the 6,000 word variety, but I do have to conquer a 20 minute presentation. Lucky for me (and all the attendees at said presentation) I have a sidekick to help get me through, bounce ideas off of, and generally make the experience way way better in a synergistic manner. Me and my stellar partner are going to give an overview of arts-based research methodology. Neither of us knew what it was about when we partnered together over a month ago and in the ensuing month I’ll admit I’ve done nothing to remedy that. But…we present on March 11 and so between now and then it’s nose to the grindstone time and I have a feeling it’s going to be a fabulous foray into something kind of tangentially related to the virtual studio (where my head has been for way to long) but not quite so intense or abstract or un-researched.
So…you might ask, “Lisa, what in the world is arts-based research? Is it research into art? Is it research where the researchers take notes in crayon or brush rather than with pens or typing? Is it only for artsy people? Is it even legal in the academic world or is it one of those fringe activities that are only for pseudo-intellectuals?”
All good questions. Research into art? Not so much. That’s more art history and criticism. Research where the researchers take notes in crayon or other “artsy” mediums? Again, nope. (Though as soon as I get a decent stylus I totally plan on taking notes via iPad and my Paper 53 app…and I might use the brush.) Is it only for artsy people? Yes. If you’re not artistic, if you don’t wear a lot of black, if you don’t have funky glasses….it’s not for you.
Ha. Just kidding.
Is it legal? Who really knows…I’d say at least in the States almost anything is beginning to be legal, so I’d say arts-based research probably is as well. That said, like any methodology…don’t do it if it doesn’t suit your style. And arts-based researchers are inherently cool and totally don’t care if people in the quantitative world might not get them.
But seriously…for a good definition here’s what the experts say:
Arts-based research is an emerging mode of social inquiry, uniquely situated with roots in postmodernism and participatory forms of research. –Susan Finley, Arts-based inquiry: performing revolutionary pedagogy
The ethos of arts-based inquiry is to eliminate the separation between researchers and the community being researched by eliciting the free and conscious voice of research participants. –Foster, Ways of knowing and showing: Imagination and representation in feminist participatory social research
…and my own very limited synthesis so far is that arts-based research is using art methods (be they dance, drama, writing, drawing, etc.) to tap into research subjects in ways that would be otherwise impossible given language or power relationships or even comfort levels. In addition arts-based research seems to use art methods to illuminate things that might be beyond speech for participants. Cool stuff indeed, and I have a feeling this is going to be a blast to study and maybe make art as I study it!
February 24, 2014
So “the paper” is officially finished, turned in, returned, graded, and happily sitting on my desktop. You can read it in all it’s 6,000 (almost) word APA finery here. In the end, it was good and according to the audio comments it all turned out good (though I’ll admit I only listened to the first and last audio comments because in all honestly audio comments kind of still intimidate me and even though I say I’m not, I actually still feel like small pieces of myself are all over the paper and I’m kind of not quite ready to hear the hardcore critiques…I think I just need to get over it and listen to them all…with whiskey of course!)
I feel amazingly relieved that the first massive hurdle is cleared and I’m still trotting along. I’ll admit, this side of the paper beast, I feel slightly more legit and slightly less like a poser. Or maybe I’m just realizing that the divisions I thought were so hard and fast between “academics” and “regular people” are not solid at all rather exceptionally porous. Ha. And porous feels like an apt description of me through this season.
So now another week begins and there are once more journals to be read and noble thoughts to be expressed and all the other things that sound quite heady and intellectual but really seem to just boil down to lots of discipline and work and reflection….Oh, and lest I forget on the lists of tasks, there are also those 500 words of brilliance each day to be constructed. Tonight we shall easy in with 250…tomorrow, full. steam. ahead.
February 18, 2014
Avoid reading “the paper” at all costs in an effort to have even a smidgen of distance from it, not micromanage my proofreader, and most of all remind myself that my life is much larger than a single assignment even though how I’ve oriented my life in the past several days makes it fell pretty much that this assignment is the most important thing ever…It’s amazing how writing a 6,000 word paper really can give you tunnel vision…I can only imagine what might happen over the course of a dissertation if one wasn’t fairly intentional about not turning into an idea-hoarding dragon.
Turn it all in and let. it. go.
February 15, 2014
Yep, almost at the 6000 mark and with all the edits and tweaks and citations…I should be right. about. there.
Assignment 1, you’ve been a joy to construct and a highly reflective exercise (appropriately enough!) in self-knowing but I will say I think it’s time for us very very soon to part ways. You to be jetted away to a computer screen in Edmonton to be prodding and stretched and analyzed and looked through—me to somewhere with truffles and pasta and cheese and red wine that flows like a fountain and very low lighting. Ahh….or at least that’s the mental dream in things.
But yes, it’s almost done and it’s most likely not going to win any awards or earn me a mark of perfection but I’d say it’s a decent grapple with how one might want to go about studying community building in undergraduate online graphic design virtual studio spaces.
And now…off for sleep so tomorrow I can proof with fresh eyes, gather all the citations, and think of a compelling title for it all.
February 12, 2014
Last night I finally took the leap and downloaded the Kindle version of the book that it seems like everyone who is anyone in the world of studio learning seems to cite pretty continuously, namely Educating the Reflective Practioner. It’s by Donald Schon and it’s fabulous because it’s all stuff that I know so deeply from experience and yet had no idea that anyone in the legit academic-stuyding world actually studied.
It’s late and I’m exhausted so I won’t try to give an erudite summary of the parts that I’ve already devoured because it would all just be rambley and incoherent, but I will say that Schon gives such dignity to a process of learning that I think can often be overlooked because it’s so far outside of the traditional means of academia. What I want to do is take that same idea of ennobling to these studios that can happen in places that don’t have physical walls but rather live in the wires and screens of the world. In a lot of ways, Schon demystified the studio learning environment and if I could be like Schon 2.0 with the online studio I think the repercussions could be pretty profound for not only design and art-based fields but for other fields too to bring in so much more reflective-learning via distance methods pedagogy.
So yeah, I think I too am going to jump on the book-quoting bandwagon because it is pretty amazing…and after I sleep for a long deep chunk of time, it will be interesting to see what emerges…
February 12, 2014
1. Describe your area of research interest
(THIS WILL BE INTERESTING NARRATIVE, POSITIONING THE ISSUE IN A VERY BROAD FRAMEWORK. IT WILL BE FASCINATING AND ATTENTION GRABBING AND MAKE MY READER WANT TO KEEP TURNING PAGES AND KEEP ON LEARNING MORE. IT WILL BE RELATABLE YET THOUGHT PROVOKING…INTRIGUING YET NOT TOO ABSTRACT.)
2. Why is this area interesting and important from a scholarly perspective?
(THIS WILL BE WHERE I NAME DROP A LITTLE, ARTICLE CITE A LITTLE, USE THE MAGIC DEFINITIONS, AND SHOW HOW ME AND THE OTHER RESEARCHERS ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM.)
3. Why is this are interesting and important from a personal perspective?
(THIS IS WHERE I GET PERSONAL BUT STILL KEEP IT IN THE BUTTONED UP, PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHER-TYPE MANNER. I AM HUMAN AND I AM WARM AND FUZZY BUT I’M ALSO GOING TO OBSERVE DECORUM AND BE TOTALLY LEGIT.)
4. What are my own ontological assumptions?
(HERE’S HOW I SEE LIFE…I’LL SET THE STAGE (IN A CURATED MANNER) SO THAT PEOPLE CAN AGAIN GET TO KNOW ME A BIT MORE.)
5. What are my own epistemological assumptions?
(HERE’S WHERE I SAY HOW I SEE KNOWLEDGE BEING MADE (AGAIN…PERHAPS A BIT CURATED, BUT STILL)
6. Paradigm 1
(HERE’S WHERE I WILL REVEAL SOMETHING BRILLIANT ABOUT HOW I’M MAYBE GOING TO BE DOING THIS AND REVEAL ONCE MORE MY OWN PROWESS AND THE PROWESS OF THE PARADIGM IN ADDRESSING ONE PART OF THE ISSUE.)
7. Paradigm 2
(DITTO ABOVE BUT WITH SOMETHING DIFFERENT.)
8. Research Questions for Paradigm 1
(SHAZAM! THESE WILL BE NATURAL OUTCOMES OF PARADIGM 1 AND LEAD NATURALLY INTO MY ETHICS CONSIDERATIONS AND HOW I’M GOING TO BE TAKEN AS LEGIT AND NOT SOME CRAZY PERSON.)
9. Research Questions for Paradigm 2
(DITTO ABOVE BUT WITH SOMETHING DIFFERENT.)
(HERE’S WHERE I’M GONNA WRAP IT ALL UP AND LEAVE EVERYONE WANTING MORE AND FEELING LIKE THEY NOW SEE THE WORLD IN A NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAY.)