Language Research, Performance and the Creative Arts
Language Research, Performance and the Creative Arts
Friday 16 October 2015
Coach House, School of Education, Hillary Place, University of Leeds
Programme and abstracts
- 9.30 Registration & coffee
- 10.00 Welcome – Lou Harvey & Jessica Bradley
- 10.15 Presentations
- Jessica Bradley, University of Leeds “Why street performance? Linguistic ethnography in multilingual community arts”
- Zhuomin Huang, University of Manchester “Through the Eye of Visual-Creative-arts (VCAs): Understanding Mature Students’ Intercultural Experiences”
- Lou Harvey, University of Leeds “‘Making the mechanics visible’: Adapting language research for performance”
- 11.30 Break
- 11.45 Roundtable discussion
- 12.45 Lunch
- 1.30 Presentations from AHRC Researching Multilingually project team
- Richard Fay, University of Manchester “The role of the Arts in Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State”
- Katja Frimberger, University of Glasgow “Visual methods as aesthetic translation practice: reflections on the process of creating ‘identity boxes’ with refugee learners”
- Gameli Tordzro, University of Glasgow/Pan African Arts Scotland “Creative Arts and Method in Research: Doing Music, Poetry, and Film as Creative Arts and Translating Cultures Method in Researching Multilingually at Borders”
- 2.45 Break
- 3.00 Roundtable discussion
- 4.00 Discussant James Simpson, University of Leeds
- 4.30 Close
Jessica Bradley, University of Leeds: “Why street performance? Linguistic ethnography in multilingual community arts”
In this talk I present my early stage pilot work with a local community arts organisation, Faceless Arts. Faceless Arts are West Yorkshire-based and work with a wide range of communities, both in the UK and overseas, mainly in the spheres of outdoor performance and visual arts. I explore why I decided to base my study in street performance, my approach and the mechanics of a study of this kind, based on my initial fieldwork observing a collaborative production between Faceless Arts and the Ana Monro Theatre in Ljubljana, and how I will be proceeding over the next few months.
Zhuomin Huang, University of Manchester: “Through the Eye of Visual-Creative-arts (VCAs): Understanding Mature Students’ Intercultural Experiences”
In this presentation, as informed by my on-going doctoral study, I want to share with you my developing understandings, and also questions about, the use of visual-creative-arts (VCAs) in exploring human experiences, and in particular, intercultural experiences. Whilst I should make clear from the outset that I am speaking about the use of VCAs in intercultural communication research, I do hope that this discussion of such methods may have some implications for their use in Language Education studies also. I will present three VCAs-based activities: a) Digital-edited Photovoice; b) Blind Portraits; and c) Free-style Painting. In each case, I will explain how and why I use them, as well as identifying some challenges I am experiencing whilst using them. In the process, I will give you a taste of each method and/or show you the data and its analysis which arises from the use of such methods.
Lou Harvey, University of Leeds: “‘Making the mechanics visible’: Adapting language research for performance”
This talk is a reflective description of the early stages of the process of adapting my research for performance. Having completed my doctoral work on the language learning motivation of six international students, I became concerned with my responsibility as a researcher to tell the participants’ stories, and how I might do this respectfully, ethically, and creatively. These concerns led me to contact a theatre group, Cap-a-Pie, who had experience of adapting academic research for performance. In June-July 2015, we spent three days together as part of Leeds Creative Labs, an initiative to connect academics and performance artists, from which we developed a short performance. I will reflect on how this collaboration became an exploration of the ways in which the concepts of communication and performance could inform each other, in a process of making visible the mechanics of each.
Richard Fay, University of Manchester: “The role of the Arts in Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State”
The second group of presentations all relate to the AHRC-funded, three-year “Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State” (AH/L006936/1) project. This is a large, complex project involving five main case studies, each with a different disciplinary character, and two hubs: a group of applied linguistics and educationalists focusing primarily on the language, languaging and researching multilingually aspects of the project and its constituent case studies; and a group of creative artists exploring the use of a variety of different arts methods and possibilities in all aspects of the research. The first presentation introduces this project and how it connects with theme of the scoping event, i.e. the relationships between the Arts and Language Research, and the following sessions present two rich areas of developing arts practice in this research project.
Katja Frimberger, University of Glasgow: “Visual methods as aesthetic translation practice: reflections on the process of creating ‘identity boxes’ with refugee learners”
In the following presentation I explore the role that creative arts pedagogies play in establishing a well-being focused language pedagogy for young people with refugee backgrounds. I take as a starting point my encounter, as researcher, with a group of 19 young people with asylum and refugee backgrounds, in a highly multilingual and intercultural ESOL learning context in Glasgow (Scotland, UK). Here, I analyse how a visual creative arts pedagogy – the crafting of 19 ‘identity boxes’ – impacted on students’ sense of identity. I argue that creative arts methods are a powerful pedagogical tool, not only as a dynamic learning resource for language education, but as a complex aesthetic translation practice for intercultural education research. Students’ identity boxes do not constitute an ‘authentic’, documentary-style representation of students’ lives as unaccompanied minors and refugees in Scotland, including the ‘issues’ and stories of suffering that we might ‘expect’ to see represented. Creative arts pedagogy as an aesthetic translation practice defies such expectations of authenticity, which can limit learners’ identity positionings and essentialise their cultural difference. Instead, creative arts pedagogies allow a process of aesthetic translation of students’ stories whose representation they can not only control but through which they can maybe move their stories – from past trauma to future hopes and from fixed subjectivities to multiple identity positionings.
Gameli Tordzro, University of Glasgow/Pan African Arts Scotland: “Creative Arts and Method in Research: Doing Music, Poetry, and Film as Creative Arts and Translating Cultures Method in RM Borders”
This presentation is a reflection on RM Borders CATC Creative Arts Lab work. It describes how creative arts are language and process. It touches on how creative arts outputs function as language within research, and how they are important and integral to such process rather than only as an end product of research. It presents examples of the creative process as a way of generating as against extracting data, and how the participant and researcher relationship evolves as a transformative collaborative encounter. In the first example I reflect on my translation of Tawona Sithole’s poem ‘Belong’ in song, touching on the process of creating the song as an interpretative process but also as a process of transforming the language of poetry into the language of song and how the poem functions as data that generates the output of song which in turn can be analysed as data and treated as language that creates extended meaning. The second example explores what is research in the CATC experiment of the devising a screenplay out of ethnographic field notes as method for screening for vividness and gaps in detail. Thirdly I present the example of how transformative the experience of shooting the documentary ‘Music Across Borders’ is to me as an arts researcher on one hand and the participants on the other hand.