For the past two weeks I have been letting myself indulge in online searching clicking on anything that relates to my interests in residencies, diversity, sharing, and research. I often have a sprawling approach to looking online although I am aware that I have to reign this in sometimes. I have been listening to East Street Arts audio clip from a recent research symposium at Live Art Bistro, what role does research play in supporting artists? https://soundcloud.com/east-street-arts/art-and-research-1?in=east-street-arts/sets/art-and-research-what-role. The ‘r’ word gets mentioned frequently throughout the discussion and made me think that I would like to understand some of the methodologies within the field. For this reason I bought a book titled Practice as Research, Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry by Barrett and Bolt. Generally in my own performance art practice I use the process of making and reflecting through the work itself. Having read part way through the book I became concerned that I was getting too caught up in definitions and to embrace my creative approach to asking questions.
As part of my planning for my upcoming finding out events I will have some mentoring from Susan Jones well known to a-n subscribers, a published writer, researcher with in-depth knowledge of artists’ livelihoods, professional development and the value of the artist-led, socially-engaged-based practice. I really wanted to be able to speak to an independent researcher with an extensive knowledge of the art scene. We have exchanged a few emails to get started with and already Susan has directed me to research I was unaware off. Where do you go to research existing research? Sounds like a silly question, but I am actually being very serious. What’s the point of having all this enriching information out there if people can’t access it?
I am approaching this project starting from my own experience of participating in artist residencies and I want to find out about local, national and international activity. To approach finding out about international residencies I will be looking through the resartis database http://www.resartis.org/en/residencies/. To research nationally run residencies I have started reading through the Artquest directory where surprisingly there are few listed in the UK. http://www.artquest.org.uk/articles/view/uk-residencieslisting. Locally I will be visiting artists and events at Islington Mill and I was delighted to hear Program Director Maia Murphy from Recess, a NYC-based arts nonprofit that combines studio and exhibition space artist talk http://www.recessart.org. It was refreshing to hear about an international residency program that was focused on the artist engaging with the local community. Often artist residencies are set up as retreats for the artist to work in solitude, sometimes even criticized as holidays. I do wonder if these types of residencies are more common as they require little money to run and support. To get a wider, now view of artist residencies I will be taking social media snapshots from Facebook and Twitter as I am aware that there is information online circulating outside of the official database structures.