University of Tasmania
Scott_Mary_Paper.pdf (579.11 kB)

Integrated Thinking and Making in a Research Culture

Download (579.11 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 05:37 authored by Scott, M

Within a research environment, creative practitioners are required to communicate the systematic thinking that lies behind making. Practice is where problems, issues and contexts originate; it is also where research significance and contributions lie. In general, art training teaches us to speak, principally, about artefacts through reference to theory and through analysis and interpretation of artworks. These forms of contextualisation facilitate understanding of artefacts and the discourse or discourses that surround them and are central to the elucidation and clarification of research problems and outcomes. Yet while contextualization plays a vital role, it does not explicitly evidence the intricate making skills fundamental to methods of practice-based research. It is only through analysis and dissemination of the intrinsic and complex processes of making, that artists will be able to construct reliable methods that clearly, and unequivocally, distinguish research from practice and demonstrate the significance of artistic processes to the production and expansion of knowledge.

This paper reflects on some of the mental and physical making resources underlying my own art practice and these are contextualised through reference to a current research project titled The Taxonomy of Antithesis and Wonder. My aim is to exemplify some of the ways in which I engage in the complexities of creative problem solving using an integrated, but by no means definitive, skill-set that while, specific to my own process of making, I hope nevertheless, add dimension to discussion about research methods.

The making resources I reference are presented for clarity’s sake, as discrete, but do not in practice, occur in isolated or linear steps. The thinking behind making is convoluted and integrated, with much to-ing and fro-ing between the different states of engagement. The works states I refer to primarily reflect complex, non-verbal or intuitive states of knowledge building but these are, at all stages, underscored by the rigorous analytic, reflective and synthetic thought processes central to all research, and, also, by the specifics of disciplinary and technical knowledge. The scope of the paper will only allow reflection on the former but these thoughts must be understood within the context of these more analytic types of thinking. I also acknowledge that content is framed by work done by Robert and Michèle Root-Bernstein on synthetic learning that integrates many ways of experiencing and thinking, mental and physical, concrete and abstract and by the writings of Barbara Stafford on the critical function of analogy within creative invention.


Publication title

2011 Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools Conference


G Bull




School of Creative Arts and Media


Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools

Place of publication


Event title

2011 ACUADS Conference

Event Venue

U Canberra & ANU, Canberra

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2011 the Author

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Arts not elsewhere classified

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania



    Ref. manager