Research Practitioner Part 6

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

Precis

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series; as a person new to formal academic research studies,  I have been surprised with the number of occasions that I have been confronted by a range of thoughts, feelings, observations, recollections – positives and learnings – and highlighted behavioural patterns over the course of my life, relative to my music practice. Over the past few months I realised that I did not have in fact, the clearest understanding of who I was as a creative practitioner at this moment in time. Therefore, in order to anchor myself, my supervisor suggested that I revisit an exercise that I had done many times over my life – re-develop a values statement – a charter of goals, values and beliefs for both myself and my music practice.
The Art of self-reflection
I embarked on this exercise, and was able to at this stage of my research study, gain new levels of understanding of my self and my practice, and then apply them reflexively to my self and practice. In short, it allowed me to develop clarity, increase my confidence with the task at hand, and move on with my Research Study Project 1.

research-methodology

Background – Research Project Methodology (excerpt from Project Brief)

Mixed-methods qualitative study

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This empirical research study will be conducted through my experiential phenomenological lens (Grace and Ajjawi 2010, 198), using a mixed-method qualitative methodology, including that of: practice-led research, evocative auto-ethnography, reflective practice, and reflexive practice, over the two projects.
Reflecting on my life across numerous disciplines, I recognise I am the archetype who has to experience activities in life, rather than just theorising about it at arm’s length. Irrespective of my creative, sporting, or professional endeavours of education and management, I learnt early that I need to experience something to understand it. In Experiential Phenomenology professional practitioners tend to be less interested in the philosophy of phenomenological method than its practice and application (Grace and Ajjawi 2010). Understanding this, I can therefore see how looking at the body of field literature through my lens can contribute to the field. I note that De Carvalho’s (2012) perspective in her article “The Discourse of Home Recording” article is that of a radical structuralist, viewing the world from a power relationship basis (Burrell and Morgan 1992). Whilst interesting from a point of view of understanding the power relationships within the broader industry, I fail to see the relevance of this perspective in trying to understand and improve the efficiencies of my practice. Blom et al refer to practice-led as the insider, reference to the subject being inside the study (Blom et al 2011, 366). As I am in a dual primary role of both subject and researcher within this study, I am well inside this study.
Auto-ethnography
Choosing auto-ethnography for this research study is a natural selection of methodology given the relationship I have with music. When I first heard the soul singers, the rhythm and blues singers, and the confessional singer songwriters of the 1960’s, I was drawn in. I found my home. The rawness, the honesty and the truthfulness spoke out to my self. As a writer, irrespective of prose or music, I learnt from a young age to write without a filter – to write from a place of honesty, truthfulness, very personally. Auto-ethnography enables the subject to be brought back under the spotlight, and celebrates the personal, the emotional and the vulnerable qualities that are deeply embedded within (Ellis & Bochner, 2000). This study is about that self, my practitioner self, the self at the heart of my music practice, learning to understand how I can maintain an open and constant relationship with that person across all music practice, irrespective of musical style, technology, workflows, or creative location. I accept that my music practice-based research study will be an emergent one, illuminating my self and how I see my self within my world, through the creation and development of an original EP. Auto-ethnography is about telling a story, as is the creation of music, be it the compositional aspect, or the lyrical aspect. Mykhalovsky asserts: “to write individual experience is, at the same time, to write social experience” (1996, 141). Creating art is about creating a narrative, usually reflecting on an experience or observation, and then making the specific very general so others relate to it. It is as Mykhalovsky describes.
– Evocative Auto-ethnography
Focussing within the discipline of ethnography, Ellis points out that evocative auto-ethnography is about writing emotionally about our lives (Ellis 1997). Ellis in Pace (2012, 5) notes that evocative auto-ethnography is
“distinguished by the following characteristics: the author usually writes in the first-person style, making himself or herself the object of the research; the writing resembles a novel or biography in the sense that it is presented as a story with a narrator, characters and plot the narrative text is evocative, often disclosing hidden details of private life and highlighting emotional experience” (Pace 2012, 5).
The 10,000 word exegesis will be a first-person narrative of my personal journey, with myself performing the dual primary roles of being both the subject, and the researcher. I am expecting the study to be revealing, and at times, confronting. I expect the study of the music practitioner will not be dissimilar to that of being a music practitioner, writing and performing from a place that is often revealing and confronting.

reflection

 Reflective Practice
I practice music everyday, and have done for over four decades. As indicated early on in this Project Brief, I have practiced music without the conscious connection to motive or self. This is a great example of how practitioners, especially sole practitioners who are usually working in isolation without the possibility of input from other organisational members, can progress on a particular focus of functional music practice without looking outside of their realm. What practitioners require is a regular opportunity to stop and consider their everyday actions and processes. As Lawrence-Wilkes & Chapman (2015) state, “reflective practice provides an opportunity to enhance professional performance and self-development by enabling insight and assisting learning for new understanding, knowledge and action”. As a multi-method practice-led approach, I will draw on and apply multiple approaches of reflective practice across the two-year full-time research study, in both Project 1 and 2. I will look to the approaches of: Schon (1983); Brookfield (1995); Brookfield (2002); Lyon (2010); Pascal & Thompson (2012); Archer (2007), Archer (2010), Ryan (2014), Griffith (2010), and Finlay (2008) for insight regarding this practice. At this time, I am considering commencing with two art’s based discussions of reflective practice, and three non-art’s based reflective practice authors. Ryan’s (2014) approach as outlined in “Reflective Practice in the Arts”. Whilst not music practice specific, she talks about performative practice which applies very well to music practice. Additionally, Ryan draws heavily on Archer, a considered expert in the area of reflective practice. Secondly, the work of Griffith’s discusses the researcher self, which has obvious parallels with my research study of the practitioner self (2010). Both authors discuss a mixed method of reflective practice and reflexive practice within their arts-based discussions. One of the advantages of a mixed method qualitative research study is that it permits complementary methods, allowing the results or findings of one method to shape the subsequent steps in the research process (Robson 1993). The other advantage of mixed method qualitative approaches is that it permits triangulations and enhances interpretability of the literature and data collected increasing the validity of the research findings. There will be extensive empirical data gathered as a matter of process, with commentary and reflection regarding the opportunities and challenges of certain workflows and combinations of the elements of music practice. The three non-art’s based authors I will draw on are: Schon’s (1983) “Reflection-in-action” and “Reflection-on-Action”; Pascal and Thompson’s (2012) “Reflection-for-action”; and Lyon’s (2010) Reflective Journal toolkit question. (Page 2015).
Now that I have established a context for my DCI Research Study, I will share my Charter of Values and Beliefs (as at 31st December, 2015).

~DLP Pro Image 1.20141020

DLP’s Charter of Values and Beliefs v1

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Year 1 Research Study Part 1a – who I know I am now

1a. Self: In life, I value a holistic perspective [Value]. I strive to consider life from a global holistic perspective [Goal] . I believe I consider my life and varied forms of practice from a global holistic perspective [Belief].
1b. Self: In life, I value balance [Value].
I strive to be balanced, to be a balanced, functional human being – affective, expressive and communicative – mentally, physically, spiritually [Goal]. Whilst being very busy, I believe have balance in my life. I believe I am a balanced, functional human being – affective, expressive and communicative – mentally, physically, spiritually [Belief].
1c. Self: In life, I value intellect/mindfulness [Value]. I strive to approach life with an open and inquiring mind [Goal]. I believe I approach most aspects of life with an open and inquiring mind, applying thought and mindfulness [Belief].
1d. Self: In life, I value emotion [Value]. I strive to be emotionally connected [Goal] . I believe I am an affected being [Belief].
1e. Self: In life, I value joy [Value]. I strive to be connected to joy and happiness [Goal] . I believe I am a joyful being [Belief].
1f. Self: In life, I value physical connection [Value]. I strive for physical connection in everything I do [Goal]. I believe I am a physical being – a tactile being, a kinesthetic being, a sensual being [Belief].
1g. Self: I value a sincere and deep level of engagement with others [Value]. I aspire to engaging with others in a sincere way, and to a deep level of engagement with others [Goal]. I believe I engage with others in a sincere way, and to a deep level of engagement with others – in a genuine and congruent manner [Belief].

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Year 1 Research Study Part 1b – who I know I am now as a practitioner

2a. Self & Practice: In my life I value self-reliance [Value]. I aspire to being self-reliant [Goal]. I believe I am able to be self-reliant in most aspects of my life, but choose to, or not to as I see appropriate [Belief].
2b. Self & Practice: I value a high standard of practice [Value]. I aspire to execute a high standard of practice [Goal]. I believe I operate at a high standard of practice in most areas of my life [Belief].
2c. Self & Practice: I value a complex multi-dimensional approach to practice [Value]. I aspire to execute a complex multi-dimensional approach within my practice [Goal]. I believe I execute a complex multi-dimensional approach within most areas of my life [Belief].
2d. Self & Practice: I value spontaneity (being spontaneous = freedom for DLP) [Value]. I aspire to spontaneously – effortlessly, naturally – alter my practice as I see fit/appropriate [Goal]. I believe I operate in a spontaneous manner – effortlessly, naturally – in my various forms of practice [Belief].
2e. Self & Practice: In my life I value being prepared [Value]. I aspire to being prepared in all situations, facilitating optimum engagement and maximizing the opportunity of an optimum experience for others [Goal]. I believe I prepare thoroughly for my practice, facilitating optimum engagement and maximizing the opportunity of an optimum experience for others. I believe such preparation is an integral part of the practice process [Belief]
2f Self & Practice: In my life I value appearing to be in a relaxed state [Value]. I aspire to appearing to be in a relaxed state in all situations, enabling the execution of what appears to be an effortless/natural/automatic high level of practice; in turn facilitating optimum engagement and maximizing the opportunity of an optimum experience for others [Goal]. I believe I prepare thoroughly for my practice, prior to practice, in order to be in a relaxed stated at the time of public practice (ie the performance). Being in this state in turn facilitates optimum engagement and maximizes the opportunity of an optimum experience for others. I believe such a relaxed state in public performance is a key element of the practice process [Belief].

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Year 1 Research Study Part 1c – who I know I am as a practitioner

3a. Social and Cultural contexts: I value social and cultural diversity [Value]. I strive to live across a very wide and broad range of social and cultural contexts – countries and cultures in my life [Goal]. I believe I embrace a very wide and broad range of of social and cultural contexts – countries and cultures in my life [Belief].
3b. Social and Cultural contexts: I value equal opportunity for all – irrespective of gender, race, sexual preference, impairment [Value] . I strive to provide equitable levels of service and practice for all – irrespective of gender, race, sexual preference, impairment [Goal] . I believe I assist people by providing equitable levels of service and practice for all – irrespective of gender, race, sexual preference, impairment [Belief].
3c. Social and Cultural contexts: I value opportunity for all for learning and development to navigate their life  – their dreams, desires, goals, directions, wants, wishes, in order to overcome their challenges, issues, hurts… (what I refer to as “community education”) [Value] . I strive to assist people to gain an opportunity for learning and development – helping them to navigate their life –  their dreams, desires, goals, directions, wants, wishes, in order to overcome their challenges, issues, hurts… – (what I refer to as “community education”) [Goal]. I believe I assist people to gain an opportunity for learning and development – helping them to navigate their life – their dreams, desires, goals, directions, wants, wishes, in order to overcome their challenges, issues, hurts… – (what I refer to as “community education”) [Belief].

Year 1 Research Study Part 1d – who I know I am as a music practitioner

4a. Music Practice: I value social and cultural diversity of music style [Value]. I strive to experience and be influenced by a very wide and broad range of diversity of music styles in my life [Goal]. I believe I am open to experience and be influenced by a very wide and broad range of diversity of music styles [Belief].
4b. Music Practice: I value the practice of music in a supportive culture and environment [Value]. I strive to practice music in a supportive culture and environment in my life [Goal]. I believe I practice music in a supportive culture and environment [Belief].

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Year 1 Research Study Part 1e – who I know I am as a music practitioner

5a. Composition and Performance: I value compositions combining a range of music and sonic textures, appropriate to the music style [Value]. I strive to create compositions integrating a range of music and sonic textures into all of my compositions and performances, appropriate to the music style [Goal]. I believe I integrate a range of music and sonic textures into all of my compositions and performances, appropriate to the music style [Belief].
5b. Composition and Performance: I value compositions combining a range of music and sonic textures, woven together in a holistic cohesive manner [Value]. I strive as a music practitioner to create and play compositions combining a range of music and sonic textures, woven together in a holistic cohesive manner [Goal]. I believe as a music practitioner, I create and play compositions combining a range of music and sonic textures, woven together in a holistic cohesive manner [Belief].
5c. Composition and Performance: I value performing the instruments and musical parts I play, in and around other instruments, integrating/gluing all of the instrumental music and sonic textures together [Value]. I strive to perform the instruments and musical parts I play, in and around other instruments, integrating/gluing all of the instrumental music and sonic textures together [Goal]. I believe I perform the instruments and musical parts I play, in and around other instruments, integrating/gluing all of the instrumental music and sonic textures together [Belief].

~DLP Pro Image 1.20141020

As I developed my Research Study  I developed my Charter of Values progressively, and updated the following as of 25th April 2016 one third (1/3rd) the way through my Project 1.

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Year 2 Research Study Part 2a – who I am discovering/accepting myself to be as a practitioner

6a. Self & Professional Practice: In my life I value reflection – regular conscious interrogative introspection in order to consider, critically analyse and appraise my self and my practice [Value]. I aspire to being reflective – regular conscious interrogative introspection in order to consider, critically analyse and appraise my self and my practice (family, music, education, research and management & governance) as appropriate  [Goal]. I believe I am able to be reflective – regular conscious interrogative introspection in order to consider, critically analyse and appraise my self and my practice (family, music, education, research and management & governance) as appropriate [Belief].
6b. Self & Professional Practice: In my life I value ongoing development – constant and never-ending reflexive practice, in order to maintain proactive development of my self and my practice [Value]. I aspire to ongoing development – constant and never-ending reflexive practice, in order to maintain proactive development of my self and my practice (family, music, education, research and management & governance) as appropriate  [Goal]. I believe I am committed to ongoing development – constant and never-ending reflexive practice, in order to maintain proactive development of my self and my practice (family, music, education, research and management & governance) as appropriate  [Belief].
6c. Self & Professional Practice: I value varied motives of practice [Value]. I strive to practice as a result of many varied motivations [Goal]. I believe I practice as a result of many varied motivations such as: to present and express a holistic balanced perspective; to express, engage and connect with people across a range of senses such as their intellect/mindfulness, emotion, joy and physicality; for engagement – sincere and deep engagement; for nurturing – as a social carer, an encourager, a coach, a mentor, an educator, a friend; for communication – expression, reflection, observation; for learning –  discovery, exploration; for aspiration, inspiration, encouragement, lifetime learning; for emotional, mental and physical exercise; as therapeutic – reflection for balance [Belief].
6d. Self & Professional Practice: In my life I value nurturing [Value]. I aspire to be nurturing being – of myself and others – across my areas of my practice (family, music, education, research, practice) as appropriate [Goal]. I believe I am a nurturing being – of myself and others – across my areas of my practice (family, music, education, research, practice) – a social carer, an encourager, a coach, a mentor, an educator, a friend…. as appropriate  [Belief].

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Year 2 Research Study Part 2b – who I am discovering/accepting myself to be as a music practitioner

7a. As a physical being and music practitioner: I value music for its affective, expressive and communicative qualities [Value]. I strive to perform and compose music with affective, expressive and communicative qualities [Goal]. I believe I have at times performed and composed music with affective, expressive and communicative qualities [Belief].
7b. As a physical being and music practitioner: I value physical instruments that emit vibrations and resonances, of a style and size I can physically embrace [Value]. I research across a range of physical instruments to play that emit vibrations and resonances, of a style and size I can physically embrace [Goal]. I believe I search for and play a range of physical instruments that emit vibrations and resonances, of a style and size I can physically embrace [Belief].

Summary

As a person new to formal academic research studies,  I have been surprised with the number of occasions that I have been confronted by a range of thoughts, feelings, observations, recollections – positives and learnings – and highlighted behavioural patterns over the course of my life, relative to my music practice. Over the past few months I realised that I did not have in fact, the clearest understanding of who I was as a creative practitioner at this moment in time.  Therefore in order to try to anchor myself, I embarked on this Charter of Values and Beliefs exercise to develop a contemporary values statement – a charter of values for both myself and my music practice at this time. I was able to gain new levels of understanding of my self and my practice, and start to apply them reflexively to my self and practice. In short, it has allowed me to develop clarity, increase my confidence with this task at hand, my Research Study Project 1.

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Figure I – Project 1 Research Study Developed Approach (Page 2016)

Next Step

I realise that as my Research Study Project continues and I gain more insight and greater clarity about my self and my practice, I trust this document will require more development. It should be after all recognised as a dynamic document that will continue to evolve, in line my reflections and insights of my self interests, and my practitioner self interests.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Research Practitioner Part 7. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Archer, Margaret S. 2007. Making our way through the world: human reflexivity and social mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Archer, Margaret S. 2010. Conversations about reflexivity, Ontological Explorations. New York: Routledge.
Blom, Diana, Dawn Bennett and David Wright. 2011. “How artists working in academia view artistic practice as research: Implications for tertiary music education.” International Journal of Music Education: 0255761411421088.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2002. “Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom.” New Directions for Community Colleges 2002 (118): 31-38.
Burrell, Gibson and Gareth Morgan. 1992. Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis: elements of the sociology of corporate life. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate.
De Carvalho, Alice Tomaz. 2012. “The discourse of home recording: authority of pros and the sovereignty of big studios.” Journal of the Art of Record Production 7.
Ellis, Carolyn. 1997. “Evocative autoethnography: Writing emotionally about our lives.” Communication Faculty Publications Paper 304.
Ellis, Carolyn S and Arthur Bochner. 2000. “Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: researcher as subject.” In The Handbook of Qualitative Rsearch, edited by Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, 733-768. New York: Sage.
Finlay, Linda. 2008. “Reflecting on ‘reflective practice’.” Practice-based Professional Learning Centre paper 52 29 (August 12th, 2015). www.open.ac.uk/pbpl.
Franz, Jill M. 2010. Arts-based research. Researching Practice: A Discourse on Qualitative Methodologies 2: 217-226.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. “Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena.” Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. Research and the self. In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Lyons, N. 2010. Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry. Vol. 1 New York: Springer.
Mykhalovsky, Eric. 1996. “Reconsidering Table Talk.” Qualitative Sociology 19 (1).
Pace, Steven. 2012. Writing the self into research using grounded theory analytic strategies in auto ethnography. TEXT Special Issue Website Series 13.
Page, David 2016 QUT KKP622 Mid=Project 1 Research Study Progress Report submission draft Accessed April 24, 2016.
Page, David 2015 QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submission DLP DCI Project Brief  Accessed April 22, 2016.
 Pascal, J and N Thompson. 2012. “Developing critically reflective practice.” Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives 13(2) 311-325. Accessed June 12, 2015. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795.
Robson, C. 1993. Real world research. Oxford: Blackwell.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Wright, David George, Dawn Bennett and Diana Blom. 2010. The interface between arts practice and research: attitudes and perceptions of Australian artist‐academics. Higher Education Research & Development 29 (4): 461-473.
David L Page image courtesy of: David L Page’s Linked-In   Accessed 24th April, 2016
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January 2016
Research Methodology Summary image courtesy of: Research Methodology Accessed 28th January 2016
Mixed Methods Research image courtesy of: Mixed Methods Research Accessed 25th April 2016
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Values image courtesy of: Values Accessed 25th April 2016
– ©David L Page 25/04/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.
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