Embodied Domain Proposal Draft

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This is only a draft. We are now working on a final version off line

N.B. section 3 should not exceed the 2000 words limit.

Section 3.4 Describe the aims and objectives of the initiative, including goals for both the organisers and participants and how these reflect the aims and objectives of the Beyond Text Programme

The main objective of this practice-led art research project is to create an immersive situation designed to support and encourage non-verbal engagement. We aim to collaboratively research, plan, build and animate a pavilion within Parade, a multidisciplinary project focusing on public space and public domain organised by Critical Practice (a research cluster hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, UAL). By concentrating on two research questions with three experienced researchers we aim to undertake a distinctive comparative analysis of different modes of shared embodied and verbal knowledge.

As a student led initiative, Embodied Public Domain aims to provide an arena for humanities research students to engage in innovative strategies of experimentation with methods of knowledge production and diffusion that integrate performative and word-based methods. By making of this initiative part of the Parade project, we aim to maximise 1. our role and contribution within an existing collaborative interdisciplinary environment, 2. the potential for exchanging knowledge and skills with students from different research clusters and experienced researchers, and 3. access to tools and modalities of dissemination and sustainability of the research.

We aim to engage with issues of embodied knowledge through visual imagery and body language, including both intersubjective relations (gestures, posture and eye contact) and object communication (facilitated through images, objects, architecture, involving as many senses as possible).

In pursuit of our aim to explore how experiences of nonverbal communication transfer to word-centered situations - in this case, a conference - the project will investigate what kinds of environmental and situational conditions facilitate embodied knowledge sharing and social interaction through the following questions:

  • What strategies need to be devised to create the conditions for an effective environment for nonverbal interaction?

A complementary panel within the Parade conference will function as a reflective session by asking the questions:

  • What is knowledge? And what is embodied knowledge? How did our strategies work? How have we transferred those experiences to this verbal situation?

To summarise, as organisers of this project our goals are to:
1. Benefit from developing a practice based research project in collaboration with each other, and experienced academics and practitioners from different disciplines
2. Conduct an experimental comparative analysis of embodied shared social knowledge, and how it transfers to verbal knowledge
3. Develop original methods to rigorously examine focused research questions
4. Benefit from integrating our event into a larger framework by sharing resources, spaces for reflection, opportunities for debate, skills and expertise
5. Put into practice and test our methodological, performative, research and organisational skills
6. Test our capacity to activate constructive social research and behaviour outside the academic environment.

We wish for the participants to:
1. Take part in a guided experience of embodied shared knowledge
2. Take part in a rigorous process of analysis and reflection on the methodologies adopted and experienced by being invited to participate in the Parade conference panel and discussion
3. Benefit from original research processes, which we are documenting and will disseminate during the conference and after the event
4. Benefit from the practical and research applications of the knowledge and skills of experienced academics and practitioners from different disciplines
5. Access the research methods and outcomes online after the event
6. Develop new connections with academics, other doctoral students and practitioners
7. Gain confidence in experimenting with original and untested methodologies within and outside the academic environment.

3.5 Describe the initiative and the training needs that will be met for the organisers and participants

As both Marsha Bradfield and Cinzia Cremona are engaged in visual art practice based doctoral research, it is important that this project explores original practical research methodologies in the context of a public event. The research process will be rigorously documented and available for access, so that the participating humanity students will be able to benefit fully from the project. By exploring the process of transferring the experience to the Parade conference settings, we will also access and offer an opportunity for a high quality theoretical analysis of the event.
Embodied Knowledge will be a unique opportunity for humanity students from different disciplines to activate specific research questions as motivations for a public art based event. We will empower the participating students to explore their experience in depth in the reflective process in order to nurture their confidence and encourage them to explore their potential in comparable initiatives.
Moreover, the process of coordinating academics, artists, students and participants to achieve a successful event within a larger framework will constitute precious practical training for all involved.

3.6 Describe the collaborative elements of the initiative

There are four core collaborative elements to this project:

1. The organisational and research collaboration between Marsha Bradfield and Cinzia Cremona
2. The collaboration with Prof. Geoffrey Beattie, Head of School and Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester; Marquard Smith, Researcher in Visual Culture Studies at the University of Westminster and editor of the Journal of Visual Culture; and Joanna Rajkowska, Polish artist to plan, design, deliver and present the Embodied Knowledge event
3. The collaboration with the participant in the Embodied Knowledge immersive experience in the reflective panel discussion
4. The collaboration with members of Critical Practice for an effective integration of Embodied Knowledge within a larger event.

3.7 How will you publicise the initiative?

By tapping into Critical Practice well established network, we will publicise the event by sending announcements and engaging in discussions on the cluster mailing list. We will also use the network of contacts within the academic institutions involved (University of the Arts London, University of Westminster and University of Manchester). We will equally engage with other mailing lists (node-london, ...)

3.8 How will the success of the initiative be evaluated and how will you disseminate any outcomes?

The findings of this investigation will be disseminated to the broader research community through the network already established with Critical Practice. The outcomes will function like a conference paper, but, in the spirit of the project, will challenge the logocentric conventions of normative conference papers by critically deploying nonverbal approaches. They will be housed on the Critical Practice wiki, becoming an open access research resource for the wider humanities research community.

3.9 How will you sustain this initiative after the AHRC funding has ended?

We will continue to collaborate with Critical Practice, developing the themes of Embodied Knowledge and Parade via the wiki and the mailing list, distributed conferences, connections with a variety of academic and other institutions.

Section 4: Costs

In the space below, please provide a detailed breakdown of the estimated total costs of your initiative, how the AHRC funding you are applying for would be spent, and any alternative funding that will be sought, including the likely source of this funding. You should also include an estimate of the number of arts and humanities students and AHRC award holders that will benefit from the initiative.

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