Methodologies Symposium

9th – 11th December 2013

Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Willard: I don’t see any method at all, sir.
Apocalypse Now

The pluralizing of ‘methodology’ points to problems at the heart of artistic research. As a scholarly buzzword that often substitutes critical reflection on method for the implementation of a body of methods, ‘methodology’ has entered the lexicon of artistic research as a distinctive term in its jargon of authenticity. Depending on whether we approach it as an art-making, knowledge-producing or critical practice, the methods we evaluate, and the evaluation of those methods, will be different. Over the last four years art education and research has been subjected to increasingly byzantine forms of justification and policy. As the institutions that host art education continue to aestheticize the accounting and production of knowledge, the politic of a form of knowledge production that is in itself aesthetic is called into question. How can its methods be defended, or in fact stated, as positivities of knowledge that address the aestheticized realism and temporalities of our current economic, political and institutional situation? This three day symposium attempts to address this general question by interrogating the three conventional approaches to artistic research – Art Making, Contribution to Knowledge and Critique – addressing each in terms of the following questions:

  1. How do we differentiate between ‘theory’, ‘practice’ and ‘method’ in each case?
  2. How do institutional philosophies influence what methods are deemed appropriate?
  3. What role do theories of embodiment and performativity play in methodology?
  4. What role does teaching play in the choice and transmission of methods?
  5. What are the site-specific characteristics of artistic research?
  6. How do artistic research methods negotiate their legislative validation?

The symposium is composed of three one-day open-discussion forums in which invited and internal speakers will give short, lead presentations of approximately ten minutes on selected questions within the topic areas.


(10 – 1/2 – 4 pm)

Melissa Gordon (Artist, Lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmith’s College of Art)
Linda Stupart (Artist, PhD candidate)
Roman Vasseur (Artist, Senior Lecturer Kingston University, PhD candidate)
‘On Carl Schmitt, Romanticism and Critique’

Chair: Linda Stupart/John Cussans

Tues. 10th December

Contribution to Knowledge

(2 – 5/5.30 – 7.30 pm)

Malcolm Quinn (Associate Dean of Research CCW Graduate School)
Andrea Phillips (Director of the Doctoral Research Programmes in Fine Art and Curating, Goldsmiths)
John Russell (Artist, Director of Research for Art, University of Reading)

Chair: John Cussans

Wed. 11th Dec.

Art Making

(10 – 1/2 – 4 pm)

Rachel Garfield (Director of Postgraduate Studies, University of Reading)
Jon Meyer (Artist, PhD candidate) ‘On the Professionalization of Artistic Labour’
Cristina Thorstenberg Ribas (Artist, PhD candidate)
‘Cartography Workshop – Drawing Conclusions?’

Chair: Roman Vasseur