Arts Practice Research: Scholarship, Pedagogy, and the Creative Process
SUMMARY: On October 11-13th, 2019, Texas Tech University’s Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Roots Music Institute, and the TTU Vernacular Music Center present the Third Biennial Conference Arts Practice Research: Scholarship, Pedagogy, and the Creative Process. The conference will partner with the annual Vernacular Music Center Guitarslingers festival concert (Friday Oct 11 2019 Hemmle Recital Hall) and will feature distinguished guest speakers.
TRACK RECORD: Past iterations of TTUAPR, in 2015 and 2017, have included collaborations with: radio stations KTTZ and KTXT, the TTU School of Art, the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, the American Musicological Society – Southwest Chapter, the TTU Metals Symposium, the TTU Women’s Studies program, the First Friday Art Trail. Keynote speakers have included fabric/performance artist Nick Cave, visual artist Joyce Scott, and NPR senior theatre and film critic Bob Mondello. Premieres have included Plunder! and To Wipe All Tears from Our Tears, a collaboration with Texas State Dance. Additional and enrichment offerings have included dance workshops, scholarly papers, exhibits, talkback sessions between students and distinguished guests, cross-campus visits and guest lectures to classes and student organizations, and much more.
PRIORITY INITIATIVES: In the 2019 iteration, our particular interest is to centralize the experience of Fine Arts university students and involve students, faculty, and the wider community together in our conversations.
The conference, held on the campus of Texas Tech University, will bring together students and teachers, creators and scholars, campus and community, vernacular and cultivated genres, “traditional” and “modern” perspectives—and will investigate and fruitfully complicate the dynamics between all. We invite proposals for individual papers, themed paper sessions; individual presentations of works in process; round-table discussions; workshops in devised theater, free sound improvisation, contact partnering, dance, improvisational visual art. Students will participate at every stage and level, including planning, logistics, presentation, and assessment. Featured performances will include works “devised” through the process of arts practice via transdisciplinary collaboration.
ABOUT ARTS PRACTICE RESEARCH:
In teaching the fine and performing arts, real-time and immersive learning engages students in “arts practice”—that is, in the processes, techniques, skills, data-sets, and critical perspectives whose combination in real time yields the art object or experience. Makers and learners can be engaged in both creating this object or experience, and then reporting, in a critical and analytical fashion, upon the considerations that went into its creation, thereby opening out the collaborative process for investigation and dialogue. Transdisciplinary and multi-modal in both philosophy and practice, this synthesis of creative activity and critical analysis, as “Arts Practice Research,” is a fast-growing topic within university curricula, both here in North America and abroad (a brief sampling of programs inaugurating the PhD in Arts Practice includes Tier-One universities in Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, and the USA). Programs may differ in their language and definitions, but uniformly share a fundamental conviction that both the creation and the analysis of an arts object (physical or processual) can be constituent elements of the scholarly mission, uniting the creator and the critic as “practitioner.”
Because the arts reach out to students, the community, the academy, the gallery, technology, other disciplines, the environment, history, social justice, entertainment, and transnational communities, in furthering art’s reach, we further the impact of its research practice. Arts practice is thus precisely the place in which Fine & Performing Arts faculty can unite research, teaching, and creative activity. Participants in the 2015 and 2017 iterations came from the disciplines of theater, dance, visual arts, music, and an array of humanities, from Arts Practice centers in Leeds, London, and Limerick, and from across the USA and Canada.
ABOUT THE TCVPA AND THE VERNACULAR MUSIC CENTER: Texas Tech University’s J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts has been a leader in arts practice research for four decades, since the foundation of the TCVPA’s interdisciplinary PhD in Fine Arts. In recent years, collaboration across TTU arts disciplines, particularly as sponsored by the Vernacular Music Center, has led to a series of flagship creative productions, including Dancing at the Crossroads: A Celebration of Anglo-Celtic and African-American Dance in the New World (2013, School of Theatre and Dance & School of Music); Twelfth Night or, What You Will (2013, School of Theatre and Dance & School of Music); The Elegant Savages Orchestra (2013, School of Theatre and Dance & Vernacular Music Center); Mother Courage (2013, School of Theatre and Dance & School of Music), original live/improvised orchestral score for the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu, (2017-18, School of Music, Flatland Film Festival, Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Texas Tech Museum, New Mexico Tech, San Juan College); the “folk oratorio” Plunder! Battling for Democracy in the New World (2018); and the site-sensitive immersive theater show YONDER (2020). The Steering Committee comprises leading artist/scholars from across the College, already actively involved in creative collaborations and Arts Practice Research.