I have recently been exploring the intersection between humanities research and creative practice, undertaking exploratory projects that look at new ways of communicating the findings of humanities research. Having undertaken a fairly traditional humanities PhD in musicology, my research outputs have been up until now pretty much text-based. I am increasingly finding, though, that this isn’t necessarily the way I always want to communicate, so I have started to explore alternative ways by which not simply to translate my research findings, but to rethink them and re-contextualise them.
I felt that the conference format was well suited to exploring this approach and as part of an upcoming conference I have decided to discuss musicology through performance, turning my findings on dystopian and utopian futures into an imaginary interview between myself and Judy Garland. This approach has enabled my talk to cover the key concepts and arguments and to present these ideas in an immediate and affective manner that enhances, yet also complicates my argument. Still very much at an experimental stage, I’m hoping to explore and expand on this in more detail in the future.
This experiment has led me to question more generally what this type of research practice might be called. It is clearly tied to notions of creative practice as research and closely aligned with Kip Jones’ idea of Performative Social Science, as well as Mary Ann Francis’ exploration of research as creative writing.
For now, I’ve settled on the broad category of the Creative Humanities; but would love to hear any thoughts you have, of other examples, and of any projects you are currently undertaking that are of a similar nature.