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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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12. Leena Valkeapää: “Recognize the Unique and Stick with It”


Leena Valkeapää is an artist, teacher and researcher who lives in Kilpisjärvi, Finland, about 400 kilometers north of the arctic circle, in a small house by a lake three kilometers from the nearest road. Her husband, Oula A. Valkeapää, is a reindeer herder of Sami origin, spending most of his time out in open air, where Leena often joins him. Leena Valkeapää’s dissertation, Luonnossa. Vuoropuhelua Nils-Aslak Valkeapään tuotannon kanssa, (In Nature. Dialogues With Nils-Aslak Valkeapää’s oeuvre) describes the experience of the reindeer herding way of life, using as starting points the poetry of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, the texts of Johan Turi and SMS messages from Oula Valkeapää.

Tere Vadén: I want to discuss your artistic research dissertation on nomadic reindeer herding later, but first I want to ask what are you doing now that the dissertation is done? Are you still doing artistic research, are you an artist, a teacher? I know you teach and do art, but how do you see your practice these days?

Leena Valkeapää: I just gave a lecture in the University of Helsinki in a course on the roots of European civilization, and I think that the lecture was a work of art. For instance, the visualization was of a different kind than that typically used by scientists, and likewise I approached the rhythm of the presentation in a different way. Through its visual aspect and its dramaturgy, the performance aspect in terms of using...

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