Research-creation is a form of arts-based practice that undertakes rigorous inquiry and generates new knowledge. It expands traditional understandings of research by integrating creative production and experimentation with critical reflection, academic scholarship and/or scientific study.
Research-creation can influence public discourse towards important social change, by expanding the ways we ask questions and enriching the ways we examine, influence and understand the world around us. Some forms of research-creation are readily aligned with traditional research methods, while others significantly push the boundaries of traditional academic or scientific research.
The forms of research-creation below were developed by artist-scholars Kim Sawchuk and Owen Chapman of Concordia University. It is important to note that these descriptions are not the only forms of research-creation that exist, nor are they mutually exclusive. Rather, they are a useful guide to the foundational principles of this expansive form of research:
Research for Creation describes a practice of undertaking intensive research that is integral to a creative project or artwork. This can occur prior to and/or during production.
Research from Creation: This category recognizes that different forms of artistic production can generate data or information that can help communities, audiences, artists, and researchers understand behaviours and dynamics. This can be an iterative process throughout the project’s development, or it can be undertaken as an analysis upon completion of a project or artwork.
The Creative Presentation of Research involves the presentation of results from traditional research methods through artistic or creative means.
Creation as Research recognizes the artistic work as research outputs and forms of knowledge production in and of themselves. Artworks can communicate, elaborate, distill, and expand ideas and knowledge just as an academic text or the results scientific or qualitative research study can. Creation as Research is most often interdisciplinary and usually interweaves textual research, writing, artistic experimentation and production, and analytic reflection in fluid and reciprocal ways.