Creative Methods

Creativity is the core of both poetry and art. Here, we use creative practice-led methods (along with psychological and literary methods) to help us research our main questions. For example, an artwork made in response to a poem shows many things: it indicates—even if obliquely—aspects of perception from reading the original text; it points towards unique individual experiences that one acquires in life; and it also shows how a process of interpretation begins to become embedded in the genre or material of the response.

Many active readings of poetry are acted out as performative responses. For example, we looked at people reading artists books, listening to (and recording) their spoken responses to poetry/artworks, featuring aural, visual and gestural clues (‘body language’) as holistic responses of interpretation. This is based in part on the pedagogical model of the ‘critique’ (or studio crit), as used in Fine Art and other creative degree courses. These responses have been video-recorded, providing material for studies of expressivity and body language in aesthetic reception. Embodied aesthetic response continues to be a fascinating area of investigation for the research team.

We have also facilitated the creation of artworks, regarding these as tangible forms of imagination, practice-based investigation and interpretive procedures. This has taken two separate directions so far: one is in targeting strategic commissions and, in some cases, paired collaborations between poets and artists, for example. The second is a series of creative interpretations called Chinese Whispers, featured elsewhere on this website.

Creative commissioning and curatorial selection played an important role in this overall research project. The poems, artworks, and presentations of psychological data show the public various aspects of our interdisciplinary research, but also engage the viewers and readers in their own enjoyment of--and participation in--poems and poetic art.

A printed publication has been dedicated to the documentation of the commissioned work, as a lasting form of this project in which there will be documentation of the artworks, poems, processes of creative collaborations, and aspects of curatorial considerations. Please contact us in order to purchase a copy.

Exhibitions in Dundee and Edinburgh took place throughout 2011, with several more venues under current negotiation. It is exciting to speculate how the various configurations and venues ahead will allow for changing configurations of this work, and different methods of creative presentation to the public will allow for further interpretive discoveries by viewers and readers alike.