Creative film and media practice as research: In pursuit of that obscure object of knowledge

Author: Bell, Desmond

Source: Journal of Media Practice, Volume 7, Number 2, 3 November 2006 , pp. 85-100(16)

Publisher: Intellect

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What are the continuities between research activity focused on creative practice, and other forms of film and media research? What are the methodological differences between practice-based research in the still and moving image and traditional academic scholarship in film and imaging studies? In response to the pressure to publish or perish and to compete for scarce research funds, some creative media arts academics have sought to legitimize their practice-based work as a modality of systematic investigation that fits within a generic template of academic research. Given the specificity of creative arts activity and the distinctive forms of knowledge generated in and through practice-based research in the lens and screen-based media, is this strategy sustainable? Is it desirable? In this paper I explore some of the epistemological difficulties associated with pursuing a generic research strategy for the media arts, examining some of the false starts we have made in plotting the relationship between research and creative practice. Recent developments within aesthetics have sought to understand the art work as a form of performance. This approach might prove instructive in identifying an appropriate research paradigm for arts practice, including film and photography, in so far as it addresses the relation, between the generative act that brings a work into existence and the receptive act that is a proper appreciation of that work. (Davies 2004: 26)

Keywords: creative practice; knowledge object; performance; research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Queens University, Belfast.

Publication date: November 3, 2006

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  • The Journal of Media Practice is a peer-reviewed publication addressing practical work in media teaching and research. To this end, the editorial board and consultative panels comprise prominent academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines committed to the achievement of academic and professional ends through means centred on practical work.
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