Models and Modes of Creative Practice: Art, Writing and Research - A One Day Conference

Date:19 September 2006
Time:09.30 a.m.


Creative practice in the arts and elsewhere brings into being things that are new and significant. It is socially and culturally important because what results from it is often endowed with attractiveness, utility, power, meaning, authenticity or value. In addition, a vigorous process of creativity in business and cultural industries, as well as in the arts, is widely seen as essential to economic strength, technical innovation and cultural vitality. The institutionalisation of creative practices, and hence innovation -in colleges, institutes and design studios- is an important feature of the modern period, one in which thought and action are set free from shackles of tradition, and energised and organised to meet the challenges of the future.

However, does the institutional securing and harnessing of creative practice come at a price? What are the consequences for how practice occurs, how it is understood, and what comes forth from it? That is, some of the contemporary conditions for creative practice, in particular the requirement to describe, document or justify creative practice as 'research', raise fresh questions and pose old ones in a new light. Specifically, contributions to the conference will consider:

  • What is creative practice and how is it to be understood?
  • Is creative practice a largely mysterious process of inspiration and expression or can it be rationally conceptualised, planned, and evaluated?
  • Should creative practice be made accountable, and if so how?
  • What is the relationship between different approaches to writing about or documenting a creative practice and the practice itself, particularly when the practice takes a primarily visual or material form?
  • Is a notion of research drawn largely from the social and human sciences applicable to creative practice in the arts? What issues do creative practitioners confront when required to comply with a research model? What alternative might be provided by the history of different kinds of writing by artists about practice and, more broadly, literature and poetics?
  • Are other models of research available, some perhaps more attuned to the particular demands of creative practice in the arts?

Drawn widely from art practice, writing, theory and education, and calling on the experiences of both new and established researchers, writers and teachers, conference contributions and discussions will be of interest to creative practitioners and theorists from a variety of disciplines and subject areas.

Provisional Programme

Michael Phillipson (writer and artist)

Introduction: Title TBA

Andrew Warstat (Leeds University)

'The image of research - an allegory?'

This paper is concerned with fascination, distraction and indirection as types of practice based methodology. Blanchot describes the image as a disabling disengagement from purposeful activity. The paper suggests that the place of art in a 'research culture' can only be accessed through an image of research, and that art only speaks as research via allegorical modes such as prosopopoeia.


Nancy Roth (Falmouth College of Arts)

'Writing Practice'

Any art college makes a vast historical sweep of communications media available all at once, in the present. Students may work simultaneously with anything from drawing or writing, or casting through etching and lithography to digital photography and interactive video. Academic convention sets the two words of this title in direct opposition, setting writing apart—either for celebration or denigration. But to the extent it is possible realign writing as one medium among many in which an art student—or in fact anyone--might "practice," the art college becomes a kind of media laboratory, a place where sensibilities shaped in a fast-changing field of new media rediscover the potential of writing.



William Cobbing , Heather Phillipson, Kit Poulson, Siobhan Tattin (Middlesex University)

Title TBA

Speaker TBA

Ttitle TBA


Nicholas Davey (Department of Philosophy, Dundee University)

'Dialogism: A Phenomenological Model for Research in the Arts'



Attendance is on a first come, first served basis.

Tea and coffee will be provided. Lunch can be purchased in the Institute or elsewhere on campus. For location of Lancaster University and the Institute of Advanced Study see Lancaster University website (

The conference is funded by the School of Contemporary Art and Graphic Design at Leeds Metropolitan University, and collaboratively organised by the Art Section of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and the Art/Poetics Network.

For more information please contact Ian Heywood at



Further Information

Organising departments and research centres:Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
  • Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA)
  • The LICA Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK