Whilst doing some early morning blog crawling I came upon this piece by the ever articulate Paul Scott.Now every time someone challenges me about the value of Masters research in ceramics I will now point them in the direction of this quote (instead of fumbling in my pockets)
In spite of the fact that ceramics - in many guises - has played a significant role in human culture for thousands of years, its place as a visual art form within ‘The Academy’ is only recently won. So its important that the field of contemporary ceramics builds upon its historical, theoretical and contextual base. Research within academia is in its infancy, indeed all visual arts research including an element of practice is relatively new - the field is confusing, disputed and does not exude confidence.
Elvis Costello famously pronounced that writing about music was akin to ‘dancing about architecture’ (quote courtesy of Neil Brownsword). The pressure to conform to existent methodologies designed for other disciplines has resulted in the creation of some imitative routes, where artwork functions to test new techniques. Here in the worst case scenarios artistic research becomes the servant of a technique or is simply used for material testing. In other cases artistic research becomes overtly and obsessively self reflective - positing processes that only illuminate the specific body of artistic work undertaken. This may be beneficial for the artist involved - but where is the new knowledge, the new ways of seeing and understanding, where is the communication with the wider ‘academy’?
In order for artistic research to be meaningful and valuable it must be able to withstand critical scrutiny - not only from within the visual arts, but also from those in other fields. Research findings need to be articulated in a way that can be understood, they need to communicate visually and textually - and in so doing affirm the unique nature of artistic research.