Research theme #3: Public understanding of creative practice

This is another in a series of blog posts outlining my seven-year plan of work as Canada Research Chair in the Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University. (You may want to start with the introduction).

The third of my three themes, ‘Public understanding of creative practice’, is based on the ‘Professor for the Public Understanding of Science / Philosophy / Humanities’ posts which have been created by prestigious universities over the past couple of decades. The work will explore new ways to engage the public, businesses, and other cultural and creative organisations, with these ideas. This work will be organised across three strands:

#3.1: Regular engagement:

This work will involve the production of blog posts, videos, social media material, talks and events, as well as engagement with media made by others, but primarily with a DIY approach.

The research questions are:

→ How can we use conventional and relatively easy or straightforward modes of communication to engage people with research?

→ How can conversations best be fostered with those who are potentially interested in the research?

→ What are the principles underlying these effective conversations?

#3.2: Making:

This strand ensures that the Chair retains an engagement with different forms of making. Across the seven years, the Chair will learn new skills, and share the journey with others, as a way of inspiring learners and developing new reflections on the creative process. Therefore it also contributes to understanding the leadership questions explored in Theme #2.

The research questions are:

→ What do different spheres of creative activity (music-making, sculpture, and experience design) have in common, and how can insights from the creative practice of one area feed into the others?

→ Does a visible and regularly-communicated engagement with making mean that others are inspired to engage in their own choice of creative pursuits?

#3.3: Experimental:

This strand go beyond the ‘regular’ methods to explore unusual ways of communicating and connecting with those who might be interested in the research. These approaches will include a more ‘performance’ based mode of presentation – a stage-based combination of conversation and making; novel modes of online presentation and inventive uses of social media; and strikingly different workshop designs to harness people’s creativity.

The research questions are:

→ What different-to-usual modes of presentation, communication and engagement are effective in sharing ideas and engaging people?

→ How can we promote a greater diversity of modes of research communication? Can this help us to reach communities who do not typically engage with these ideas?

This theme connects most strongly with the FCAD Centre for Communicating Knowledge, the Studio for Media Activism and Critical Thought, and the Design Network. It will have relevance to all programs but especially MA/PhD Communication and Culture, MJ Journalism, MA Media Production, MA Fashion, and MPC Professional Communications.

See also:
— CRC research overview;
— theme (1) Platforms for creativity;
— theme (2) Creative identities and leadership.

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