Weekly Reading Reflections

READING REFLECTION AND NOTES | Practice Led/Research-Led Practice (Week 1)

Week 1 | Practice Led/Research-Led Practice

Aziz, Tahara. “Shifting the Frame: From Critical Reflective Arts Practice to Practice‐Based Research.” Journal of Media Practice. 10.1 (2009): 69‐81

Maarit, Makela. “Knowing Through Making: The Role of the Artefact in Practice‐led Research.” Knowledge, Technology & Policy. 20:3 (2007): 157‐163

I’m still try to figure out how to correctly apply the concepts from these readings to my MRP. I hope it will become much clearer as my MRP begins to take shape. Sometimes I feel as though aspects of both practice-led and practice based research apply to my MRP. For now, I’ll say that I’m making practice-based research project if use the following definition from Creativity and Cognition Studios:

Practice-based research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge partly by means of practice and the outcomes of that practice. Claims of originality and contribution to knowledge may be demonstrated through creative outcomes which may include artefacts such as images, music, designs, models, digital media or other outcomes such as performances and exhibitions. Whilst the significance and context of the claims are described in words, a full understanding can only be obtained with direct reference to those outcomes. A practice-based PhD is distinguishable from a conventional PhD because creative outcomes from the research process may be included in the submission for examination and the claim for an original contribution to the field are held to be demonstrated through the original creative work.

Practice-based doctoral submissions must include a substantial contextualisation of the creative work. This critical appraisal or analysis not only clarifies the basis of the claim for the originality and location of the original work, it also provides the basis for a judgement as to whether general scholarly requirements are met.  This could be defined as judgement of the submission as a contribution to knowledge in the field, showing doctoral level powers of analysis and mastery of existing contextual knowledge, in a form that is accessible to and auditable by knowledgeable peers.”

As a researcher, I will use my online exhibition to explore and articulate the reasons why “street style”, “style diary” and “fashion” blogs created by individuals of African descent bring forth contemporary notions of blackness that subvert the predominant representations of the black subject in fashion-related imagery. In more basic words, my online exhibition will articulate why these blogs are culturally, socially and historically significant. As I go through the creative process of making this exhibition, I hope to discover how notions of blackness are represented through these blogs, how they have influenced contemporary black style and how they have progressed the representation of the black subject in fashion-related imagery. The street style photographs that I am taking will capture black style in Canada and reflect the progression of black style as it seen in the blogosphere. I found the following passage from Makela Maarit‘s article to be applicable to what I intend to do an artist/curator(?)/researcher. She writes:

“The crucial task to be carried out is to give a voice to the artefact. This means interpreting the artefact. During the process of interpretation, furthermore, the artefact has to be placed into a suitable theoretical context. In this process, the final products (the artefacts) can be seen as revealing their stories, i.e. the knowledge they embody.”

By giving a voice to my online exhibition, I will also be giving a voice to the subjects of my research. When all is said and done, this project will capture a pivotal moment in the lineage of black style.

Sidenote: I remember the first time I visited Street Etiquettewhich is almost two years ago. At the time, I couldn’t “process” the images on their website because I had never seen anything like it. I had never seen two young African-American men proudly displaying their enjoyment of fashion in the way that they do anywhere in the fashion media. I knew that something was happening and Street Etiquette was indicative of it. I have revisited Street Etiquette several times since then and have begun to theoretically address it within the context of this project. What I have begun to understand is actually quite obvious. The selected cohort of blogs for this project rely heavily on images and image making to shift the ways in which the black subject is portrayed in mainstream fashion media. This project will give voice to that process.

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