Session and Workshop Abstracts

Session 2B (S2B) - Abstracts

Paper 1: The Ethics of Engagement in Creative Practice (and the impact made on individuals, culture and environment.)

Speaker(s): Eleanor Neason and Gary Marshall-Stevens

Keywords:  Artistic Practice, Ethics, Participation, Social Engagement

Abstract: In today's politically and culturally volatile climate, the role of an artist as researcher is becoming more central. With polarisations of social commentaries, the creative mind is arguably at the forefront of impact and change. Art practice as a source of knowledge production is progressively important in this age of uncertainty; through practice-led methodologies, our research allows us to negate cultural climates, reimagining and reshaping engrained and silent narratives and structures in our society. 

With the privilege of being a creator comes a moral obligation to consider how our work will affect our audience. When using artistic practice as research, it is naturally partnered with the intent of pressing boundaries and exploring the line between our ethics and our taboos. We must think about the impacts and implications of the output of our research methods, both socially and environmentally; to not to diminish rights, cause hurt or harm to others (individuals, groups, organisations, environments), and to ensure that our artwork minimises potential harm to subjects and our audience (Carpenter, 2019).  When considering an ethical approach to research methodologies, the idea of the 'ethical researcher' is not one that sits comfortably with the creative tradition of questioning boundaries; creative practitioners do not have measures in ethics to provide case studies and examples for their own ethical know-how. A key part of researching through an artistic practice is negating ethical engagement and governing our own ethical know-how through our individual investigations. Currently 'ethics' is viewed as one of the many boundaries that art and artists, should cross (Bolt, 2016). 

In this conference, we collectively aim to create a dialect exploring the responsibilities and expectations of ourselves as artists and researchers, through the framework of engagement and ethical duties as creative practitioners. Through an amalgamation of presentations, performances and audience engaged demonstrations, we will question the impact of our practice in our own fields, considering the role of the artist, the authorship of our work, the inclusion/exclusion of artistic engagement and who is invited to the table when discussing pre-existing power relations and traditional roles between researcher, audience and engagement.