Nelson, R. (2013). Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. Palgrave Macmillian UK. DOI 10.1057/9781137282910

Much of the book is dedicated to legitimizing PaR as a field.

Documentation is often conflated with evidence – not the same thing. Documentation of a performance or practice is not the performance itself. (Well, duh). Examination? Audit?

Practice as research provides a way to “house the mix” of research methods and data – combining textual and discourse as well as other methods to tell a full(er) story of the performance.

“Practice as research involves a research project in which practice is a key method of inquiry and where, in respect of the arts, a practice (creative writing, dance, musical score/performance, theatre/performance, visual exhibition, film or other cultural practice) is submitted as substantial evidence of a research inquiry.” (P.8-9)


teaching and learning activities may fit in “other cultural practice” – the performance itself is an important part of the practice and the research. How to document it? What is evidence? What can be done with that?

they give the example of “riding a bicycle” as practical knowledge. A person can’t adequately describe the methodology. They have vague awareness of some parts of the process,but the rest is sub-conscious. Practice as research may try to capture that? How does this translate to teaching and learning in a classroom?

“…the thread of the researcher’s doing-thinking articulated in complementary documentation and writings…”

“[A practice as research submission] is likely to include:

• A product (exhibition, film, blog, score, performance) with a durable record (DVD, CD, video);

• Documentation of process (sketchbook, photographs, DVD, objects of material culture); and

• ‘Complementary writing’ which includes locating practice in a lineage of influences and a conceptual framework for the research.” (p. 26)

Key difference from straight practice is a focus on critical reflection.


Not science vs art but science AND. Through?

Not theory vs practice but theory AND. Through?

Vice versa?

Teaching as art. Practice. Informed by science and theory? Rather than teaching as an objective positivist other. It is a part of art, science, theory, practice.

Hermeneutic practice/art/science/theory of teaching and learning?

Postmodern, post-positivist. Just post-buzzwords?

Rhizomatic interconnections between disciplines.


How to learn from those connections to shape teaching and learning, rather than just documenting it?

Woah. Implications for agenda. Who sets it? How to make agenda and bias visible as part of the relationships?

“Performative research represents a move which holds that practice is the principal research activity – rather than only the practice of performance – and sees the material outcomes of practice as all-important representations of research findings in their own right.” (Haseman. P. 54)

Perception – sensory stimulation that one understands.


What if we were able to provide new types of stimulation, or enable understanding of existing non-perceived or noisy stimuli?

Critical reflection as key. How to enable/support/enrich that practice?

“Learning how or improving in ability is not like learning that or acquiring information. Truths can be imparted, procedures can only be inculcated, and while inculcation is a gradual process, imparting is relatively sudden.” (Ryle. P. 62)

DN: is there something like this comic affecting the experiences of teaching and learning? Sum of historical experiences, not just latest one.

Collecting jars of urine left by truck drivers. Performance art as matrix for practice as research project.


Resonances between theory, practice, research, theory? Between disciplines?

practice as context for research. Example of full staging of Oklahoma to evaluate effects of LED lighting on color, esthetics, and overall audience experience. What might this be in classroom? How can theatrical methods (actor-students?) be used?

“…if the aim is to make a documentary record of an entire event, a number of cameras, and camera positions, are required. The footage might then be edited together in post-production to achieve some semblance of the ‘feel’ of the event ”

DN: and would multiple modalities be appropriate? Video, photos, computational visualizations, data, sketches, etc…? PIP or multi-up views to retain continuity?