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Mangling practices: Writing reflections

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The idea of the practitioner as researcher is everywhere. So is the idea of reflective practice. These ideas … are now so hackneyed and commodified that they have almost come to mean all things to all people. […] A spectator approach to action research is widely practised in education and corporate settings, especially by those who are positioned as the providers and supporters of practitioners’ research. Self-styled elites preside over others doing their action research, and make judgements using normative criteria about what progress has been made and how it should be judged. (McNiff, 2002a, 6)

The notion of ‘auto-ethnography’ makes explicit a commitment to a self-reflexive way of knowing and straddles a wide range of cultural (and increasingly) scientific disciplines and interests as well as encompassing a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. In practical terms, a journal, diary, field notes, blog is a means by which one records a ‘feel’ for the practice-based work whether through individually situated work or in collaboration with others. This article muses and reflects on what this process might mean and what its impact could be on the future of practice-based work.

Keywords: auto-ethnography; creative arts and science; story-telling; tacit knowledge

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Goldsmiths, University of London

Publication date: 2012-03-28

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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