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'''METHODS 2017-18'''   
'''METHODS 2017-18'''   

Revision as of 12:02, 3 November 2017

METHODS 2017-18

Led by Kate Briggs, Bernd Krauss, Mike Sperlinger and Nina Wakeford

In this course students identify and share the research methods they currently employ in their practices while also engaging with and testing out new ones. We will be discussing the very idea of ‘method’ (What counts as a method? When is it useful to recognize and affirm an action as a method?) as well as the very idea of ‘research’ (What counts as research within an artistic practice? What role does research play in your own art-making? What does it do or not do? How to describe and present your ‘research’ activities?). Working both individually and collectively, students will undertake and reflect on a sequence of practical research tasks involving (for instance): reading, writing, making, looking, listening, improvising, planting and playing. In the process, they will elaborate their own individual answers to these questions – answers that are meaningful in terms of the practice and can be communicated to others. In addition to the work produced in each day-long session, the outcome of the seminar is a Text on Method (1,500 words), submitted in May 2018, which forms the basis of the First Year Self-evaluation Assessment.

Eight sessions led by Kate Briggs with Mike Sperlinger, for whom writing is a means to record, support and contextualize other kinds of research and artistic activity, a tool to think with as well as a material practice in its own right. These sessions will almost always involve some reading + the production of text, as well as the related practices of note-taking and annotation, live / silent / individual / collaborative editing and revision. In this way, our sessions prepare students for writing the Text on Method in spring 2018 and for the longer writing component (8,000 words) which is written in the second year.

Four seasonal, practice-based sessions led by Bernd Krauss (under the heading of, ‘RRRRRealities) will explore some moments of pre-creation, in which we, without preconceived ideas or interests, look closely at specific (mediated) realities. Questions include: How do we approach an unknown territory? What kind of tools or methods can be used, and/or be found, that allow us to experience, sense, and track particles of the real that we may not already understand? We will speculate that collecting and gathering particular types of information within specific parameters can grant us a kind of authority about the microscopic realities we encounter. This will allow us later to question, build on, transform, modulate, practice and create with a certain rooting in an unfamiliar environment/territory, thus exposing ourselves (and audiences) to moments of education and understanding.

Learning Outcomes

- Identify and / or invent and actively test a wide range of methods available to artistic practice. - Reflect on, discuss and communicate with authority the role that research plays in one’s practice. - Establish a meaningful descriptive vocabulary for the materials, questions, concepts and forms inherent to one’s practice (in preparation for the graduate research project). - Identify and test a wide range of approaches to writing in English, considering questions of form and mode of address (in preparation for the writing component). - Engage meaningfully with the work of others, through conversation and collaboration.


Assessment for this course is based on the Text on Method (submitted in May) as well as year-long, meaningful and productive engagement with all activities.

Session 1: A HANDFUL OF WORDS with KB

Discussion: How does 'research' figure in your practice? What does the term 'research' mean to you?

Activity: A Handful of words

Identify a handful of keywords important to or currently in circulation around your practice. Produce your own definitions of these words, finding ways of answering the following questions:

What is the current meaning for you, in terms of your practice? What are its older, sunken, or hidden meanings? How translatable is it? What does the word mean to others? Where is it used? Where does it live? What are its habitats? What are its synonyms? Its antonyms? What doesn't it like, what does it combine with? What does it dream of?

Methods: dictionary definition, etymology as a tool to think with, translation

Readings in the room:

Virginia Woolf, 'Craftsmanship', (1937)

Raymond Williams, Keywords (1976)

Caroline Bergvall, Meddle English (2010)

Barbara Cassin et al (eds.), Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (2014)


Handful of words.jpg

Session 2: AUTUMN: SIEBOLD NOT SEBALD with BK We will take a day excursion to research the life and practice of German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold, who worked for the Dutch Trading company at a trading outpost in Nagasaki, Japan. During his seven year stay he collected a wide range of plants and animals from a country that had been keeping its secrets pretty closely guarded. In Leiden, we will find plants Siebold brought back to the Netherlands, at the Botanical Garden, and in the Siebold House museum, we’ll see his collected efforts to learn about and define Japanese fauna and flora. On our way back to Rotterdam, we will visit the Japanse Tuin in Den Haag, to witness its autumn colouring.

Session 3: CLOSE (and distant?) READING with KB

Here are the Text on Method guidelines;

Here is the link to previous texts on method: '''FINAL VERSIONS''' deadline 6th May

Link to the RW&RM archive