Grennan, Simon (International Journal of Art and Design Education, 2015-05-01)
There is still no agreed pedagogic definition of practice-based research. However, there is not a dearth of definitions, but rather a wide variety, predicated upon the developing programmes of individual places of study. This article will examine these definitions in terms of underlying concepts of intentionality and alterity and the ways in which instrumental use of them affects study. The article will discuss a number of existing models for the theorising and adjudication of practice as research, and the questions that underpin their development. First, are non-text outputs, and the methods of their production, able to communicate knowledge rather than simply constituting knowledge? Second, by what criteria can this knowledge be adjudicated within an academic environment? Third, what is the status of these outputs and methods relative to the production of text? It will propose that interrogation of these models will advance little in discussions that focus on media. Text or nottext is beside the point. Rather, the relationship between research and practice can be explored as a relationship between intentionality and alterity, based in an essentially social conception of communities of expertise, including academic communities of expertise. Finally, the article will describe an attempt by the author to undertake a drawing activity in response to a research question, in order to assess the possibilities of articulating practice specifically in order to demonstrate expert knowledge of the field in which a research question occurs.
Grennan, Simon; Hague, Ian (9th ComFor Conference, Berlin., 2014-04-01)
In reviews of Chris Ware’s Building Stories, critics regularly draw attention to the board-game like design of the comic’s box and elements of the text within. Yet while many have noted the similarities between Building Stories and the visual/physical design of board games such as Monopoly, and Ware himself has cited ‘French "Jeux Reunis" game sets from the late 19th and the early 20th century’ as one of the inspirations for the work’s design concept, few go as far as to suggest that Building Stories actually is a game. In this paper, Simon Grennan and Ian Hague will consider the ways in which Building Stories’ narrative structure mirrors those conventionally found in games. Drawing upon works published by Bethesda Softworks, such as Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and the Elder Scrolls series, as well as comics including Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile and Actus Tragicus’ Actus Box: 5 Graphic Novellas, and literary works such as Marc Saporta’s Composition No.1 and B.S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates, Grennan and Hague will interrogate some of the formal and discursive relationships that open possibilities for revised interpretations of the differences between play and narrative, such as the productive structuring of choice, sources of narrative voice, the presence of untold plots, the impact of types of accumulated and excluded actions upon plot, and the narratological implications of subverting the social habits by which games, comics and literature are defined. Utilising Seymour Chatman’s 1978 theorisation of narrative as a ‘double time’ structure, being the time of the plot plus the time of the text, they will suggest that both games and comics promote specific discourse activities over others as conditions of comprehension, whilst sharing formal structures that are utilised in each register to underwrite the disctinctions between them. Hence, it is as possible to choose to read the cells of comic in any order as it is to choose one course of actions over another in a game. Grennan and Hague will analyse the degrees of similarity and difference between these options in their particular contexts, relative to an experience of a plot, in order to problematise the relationship between discourse and plot at the heart of Chatman’s theory.
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