The artist as academic: arts practice as a site of knowledge

Blom, D. and Wright, D. C. H. and Bennett, D. (2008) The artist as academic: arts practice as a site of knowledge. In: 17th International Seminar of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician, 15-18 July 2008, Spilamberto, Italy.


Recent history has seen a global shift towards the arts as part of larger university systems, but within this the relationship between arts practice and research is increasingly contested. As creative research output struggles for recognition as ‘legitimate’ research and as arts faculties vie for limited funding within an increasingly competitive environment, artists working as academics have to rethink the complex relationships and interactions between their academic and creative identities. While methodological theory looks to creative practices as sources of knowledge, funding authorities and, as a consequence, universities, struggle to align research and art. Artists working as academics feel the weight of this conflict as they struggle to gain recognition for their creative research. This article represents the first phase in a more extensive study and approaches this issue through the eyes of three academic arts practitioners. Each of the participants expressed different views of whether and how they view their arts practice as research or as a site of knowledge. The findings have implications for undergraduate curricula, suggesting that reflective practice can, and should, be encouraged: modelling 'research' as 'normal' in the creative arts and developing a positive perception of practice as research. The study raises several questions for further enquiry.

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