In a previous post, I wrote that one of the features of artistic research is that it must include, among other things, an artistic practice, an artistic product and a (theoretical) reflection. According to Mika Hannula, Juha Suaranta and Tere Vadén, artistic research means that you create art and research on the creative process (Hannula, Suoranta, & Vadèn, 2005). Artistic research is practice-based and practice-driven research within contemporary cultural and artistic fields. They further argue that it is important for the artist-researcher to have the freedom and opportunity to build up a practice-based knowledge. It should be an open and inclusive research. They recognize the problematic with artistic research, such as being recognized as an artistic-researcher, the various discourses within artistic research and the conceptual confusion.
Hanulla and co-authors believe one should defend and be tolerant of what seems different – or that is a methodical anarchy as they call it.

Artistic research is dominated by methodological pluralism (Serig, 2012) and it is important that the knowledge it brings is conveyed beyond the actual production of art. Dan Serig adds one more component: artistic research also focus on higher education and the arts education – ie the teaching that you carry out. The research you do as an artistic-researcher should influence your teaching. With this, it is a principle that in order for you to be able to do artistic research, you must be affiliated with a higher education or a research institute.

Serig further writes that all artistic activity is in a sense about research

«whether through material/performance experimentation, subject selection, or technique acquisition, to name a few instances. (Serig, 2012).»

But artistic research requires a presence of peer review and not least dissemination of results. Artistic research is not only about developing own competence, but also the competence of the field.

Serig therefore believes that when you start with artistic research, you have to check out the following:
– Does the theme relate to art education?
– Does it bring new knowledge and will it affect your professional practice?
– Will the proceeds be part of a dialogue with both contemporary art and teaching art?
– Are you prepared and can you handle a methodical transparency? (Serig, 2012)
Then you must make sure that the practical framework is in place, for example in the form of rooms to work in and support from the institution you work or study at. Furthermore, the artistic – researcher must relate to and disseminate within the discourses one works within or into (Serig, 2012). You have to be relevant in the research you do.

In the beginning, when I embark on a project that potentially could become an artistic research project, I often base myself on an impulse that I try out in relation to my own interest and professional development and what it does to the subject that I carry out a research project within. In other words, it is not enough that I have an interest in this myself, I also have a professional responsibility, and besides, it must have a social relevance and it should lead to changes in my practice and teaching. I do not necessarily start with a research question, it comes up along the way as I begin work.

Personally, I make a distinction between the exploration process and the research process. It makes it easier for me to sort within the methodological, that some methods are linked to the development of a concept or performance and some methods are research methods. Of course, this may slip into each other, but I still need to sort through the process.
I do not yet have a research question, but an interest field. I have a long experience in processes and am confident that I can dwell a little in the field of interest and a clearer narrowing will emerge. At the same time, I see it as essential to constantly ask questions in and about the process I am going into. This helps to lay a groundwork for critical thinking.
Initially, there are three questions I ask myself that encourage me to form a framework for further exploration and research.

Why is it important for me to implement this and what kind of expertise (skills and knowledge) will I develop?
What does this mean for the field (students and academics) that I carry out such a project?

Where is the social relevance of such a project?

To sum it up briefly, as I embark on a project, I follow a special field of interest with which I ask three questions.

Hannula, M., Suoranta, J., & Vadèn, T. (2005). Artistic Research – theories, Methods and Practices. Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts.

Serig, D. (2012). Doing Artistic Research. research review VOLUME 10, NUMBER 2