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Letters to Sheila: Improvisational scores in creative practice research

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This article argues that improvisational scores can function as valuable scaffolds to support creative practice research. Drawing on existing literatures about creative practice research, and the practices and scores of artists, including Simone Forti, Rosalind Crisp, James Hazel and Nancy Stark Smith, the article proposes seven different ways in which improvisational scores might help to focus, sustain and evolve research methods. Importantly, the author not only discusses the ways improvisational scores support research; she also uses a score to write the article itself, thus enacting the method she describes. The score she uses is based around a task ‐ to write a series of letters to non-fiction author Sheila Heti. The resulting letters focus especially on the ways scores are used in improvised dance, and on the ways they might be applied in other fields such as writing and filmmaking. In doing so, the letters show how creative methodologies can be moved across disciplines and artistic forms to invigorate practice. They also give expression to and seek to better understand the embodied and affective dimensions of scholarship.

Keywords: creative practice research; dance; improvisation; methodology; scores; writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419367611University of Technology Sydney

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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  • Choreographic Practices operates from the principle that dance embodies ideas and can be productively enlivened when considered as a mode of critical and creative discourse. The journal provides a platform for sharing choreographic practices, critical inquiry and debate.
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