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Art making as practice based research for the artist/educator

Art making is a process of investigation, interpretation, and reification which often culminates in a presentation of artefacts to communicate to an audience. Eisner (2002) argues that in the art making process knowledge is created through representation, and each form of representation could be seen as an analytical lens with which to understand the world. Within this, art making is a means of expanding our world, echoing Mitchell’s point that” pictures are a way of world making, not just world mirroring” (Mitchell, 2005, p. xv).

The understanding of art making as a form of knowledge production informs my approach to research about art and my art making practice. In my work, the theoretical research and art making are informed by and influence each other, since the impetus for the theoretical investigation was a response to dominant themes in my own artworks, and my next body of artworks will be informed by the theoretical findings of the research. In the past I have engaged in processes of making art works, which extend the ways in which I utilise found objects. When complete, the PhD research will help me extend my art making practice, and also assist me in contextualising my own art practice within historic and contemporary art discourse, making possible an interrogation of the ways in which the semiotic potentialities of found objects in contemporary artworks are inflected through my position as presented in my artworks. James Elkins (2009) has described this kind of creative research as one in which “the artist positions her scholarship so that it variously supports, modifies, guides, or enables her art practice” [2009:147].