Artistic research is often about researching parts of or the art itself, its process and implementation (Borgdorff, 2010) and artistic research is the basis for teaching art (Malterud, 2012). Nina Malterud believes that artistic research is research in or through art, while art-based research is about having an outside view on art. Malterud further states that the critical reflection is absolutely essential and that it must be explicitly formulated to call for debate and discussion. (Malterud, 2012) The critical reflection must follow the artistic work and Malterud refers to the artistic research program in Norway which in its time set some criteria for the reflection. It should show: The artist-researcher’s artistic position / work on the project in a national and international perspective, should include reflection on artistic choices, theory, dialogue with networks and the environment and self-evaluation. And the critical reflection had to be visible and of duration (Malterud, 2012).
Hannula et al formulates the goals and intentions of artistic research in a slightly different way:
1. contribute knowledge that serves practice
2. develop methods – often in connection with creative processes
3. increase understanding of the connection between art and society, culture and pedagogy
4. interpret works of art as cultural, political and educational products
5. produce knowledge that gives social, socio-psychological, psychological, political and educational meaning
6. critical analysis of art and contemporary art and trends
7. reflection and questions related to the role of the artist (Hannula, Suoranta, & Vadèn, 2005, p. 20)
When you start with artistic research, you need to build or set some framework for your exploration and research. For a storyteller, it is about being able to describe oral storytelling and, for example, describing what kind of oral storytelling you should research within. The oral storytelling, according to Soe Marlar Lwin, can be divided into different categories: the spontaneous conversation narrative – this is about the narrative that arises in conversation and which is a favorite theme in narratology (Lwin, 2019).
The second category is the narrative that is drawn from interviews – this is also something that narratology deals with (Lwin, 2019). And, often this is a theme for master’s students who writes about oral storytelling as they use interviews as the basis for their own performance.
The third category is formal oral storytelling – here a professional storyteller works consciously to perform for an audience who knows what they are coming for (Lwin, 2019).
A storyteller often mixes these categories, for example by interviewing someone to find narratives from a biographical life, which you then perform. Lwin further claims that there is a fourth category in oral storytelling – the applied storytelling. She believes that formal oral storytelling has its basis in entertainment, but that it is often the case today that the storyteller is telling with clear intentions beyond the purely entertaining. One creates a performance with a specific intention (Lwin, 2019).
One should be aware of such divisions as, for example, Lwin presents because through the research you enter into a discourse or, to put it more simply, you have a conversation with a professional field.
When working with the framework you discover other research traditions from which it will be natural to derive a methodology. For example, if you are going to interview someone, it will be natural to take a closer look at Narrative Inquiry or if you are going to work with biographical material, it would be appropriate to take a closer look at auto-ethnography.
In the phase of creating frames, you find theory, while working practically – as you also have to create frames for your process and performance.
You find theory related to
– artistic research – because you are in an academic dialogue with this discourse
– The theme of your artistic work, whether it is form, content, purpose or the like.
In this phase, writing exercises can be useful. For example, write about your topic for three minutes and read the text afterwards. Select words that you see highlight something. Use these words as keywords for searching literature.
Borgdorff, H. (2010). The production of knowledge in artistic research. In M. Biggs, & H. Karlsson, The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts (pp. 44-63). Routledge Ltd.
Hannula, M., Suoranta, J., & Vadèn, T. (2005). Artistic Research – theories, Methods and Practices. Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts.
Lwin, S. M. (2019). A Multimodal Perspective on Applied Storytelling Performances. London: Routledge.
Malterud, N. (2012). Artistic research – necessary and challenging. Information Nordic journal of Art and Research.