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Artistic Research Methodology

Narrative, Power and the Public


Mika Hannula, Juha Suoranta and Tere Vadén

Artistic Research Methodology argues for artistic research as a context-aware and historical process that works inside-in, beginning and ending with acts committed within an artistic practice. An artistic researcher has three intertwined tasks. First, she needs to develop and perfect her own artistic skills, vision and conceptual thinking. This happens by developing a vocabulary for not only making but also writing and speaking about art. Second, an artistic researcher has to contribute to academia and the «invisible colleges» around the world by proposing an argument in the form of a thesis, a narrative; and in so doing helping to build a community of artistic research and the bodies of knowledge these communities rely on. Third, she must communicate with practicing artists and the larger public, performing what one could call «audience education». There is no way of being an engaged and committed partner in a community without taking sides, without getting entangled in issues of power. Consequently, the methodology of artistic research has to be responsive both to the requirements of the practice and the traditions of science. Here the embedded nature of the knowledge produced through artistic research becomes evident. Artistic Research Methodology is essential reading for university courses in art, art education, media and social sciences.
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10. Esa Kirkkopelto: “It Is a Matter of Collective Self-Education, Re-Education through Cooperation”


Esa Kirkkopelto works as a professor of artistic research in the Theatre Academy of the University of Arts, Helsinki, Finland. He initiated the performing arts collective Other Spaces. Founded in 2004, the group consists of artists from several fields: “Other Spaces invents and develops collective physical exercises through which people can enter in contact with modes of experience and being other than human. The aim of the group is to change together” (see

Tere Vadén: Let’s start from the practical. How do the sessions of the Other Spaces collective happen?

Esa Kirkkopelto: We meet once a week, for circa 3 hours, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Each session is started by going over practical matters, if any, tuning in for the session, doing a warming up exercise and planning what to do, discussing ideas for which exercises to choose from the repertoire. We create a list over the exercises for the day, not so many, maybe four or five, and conclude each exercise with a discussion. The exercise must be enjoyable in itself, so that participants get something out of it. The sessions take place in an old gas workstation in Suvilahti, Helsinki.

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