In/sight: The art of creating self-reflexive spaces. An investigation of transdisciplinary practitioner/practice

McDonagh, N 2010, In/sight: The art of creating self-reflexive spaces. An investigation of transdisciplinary practitioner/practice, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title In/sight: The art of creating self-reflexive spaces. An investigation of transdisciplinary practitioner/practice
Author(s) McDonagh, N
Year 2010
Abstract At a time when, arguably more than ever before in human history, the human mind needs to become more adaptive, and adapting, to meet the increasingly complex, ambiguous, uncertain conditions of the world in which we live, any practices that can effect lasting expansion of our ways of seeing, thinking and acting in relation to self, others, and the world may be considered a useful and valuable contribution to human knowledge and practices.

This practice-led research conducted over a span of eight years demonstrates the capacity of an arts-based system of knowing and knowledge production to give rise to just such effects. Creative contemplation® is a methodology of material meditation originated and evolved within an experimental, transdisciplinary, commercial design practice - a methodology that proves able to generate self-reflexive spaces for myself, and for others who are neither trained nor practised in creative arts, and it is able to do so within the context of everyday practices. This bricolage system of knowing and knowledge production primarily derives from the arts but also variously derives from Australian Indigenous cultural practices as well as psychology, somatic therapy, Western and Eastern philosophy, and traditions of meditation - most particularly Japanese forms of Zen. As such, the transdisciplinary nature of Creative contemplation® accesses and activates a continuum of somatic and intellectual ways of knowing that at once both transcend and extend habitual ontological and epistemological frameworks. This investigation draws on the experience and knowledge gained in a highly successful, five year collaboration with a courageous organisation that risks engaging me to create and conduct extensive learning fora in which Creative contemplation® is used to increase individual and collective capacity of environmental scientists, and other staff, grappling with the complex matter of sustainability, and the uncertain future of the natural environment and humanity’s prospect inextricably interwoven within it.

In situating my work in relation to the orthodoxy of investigating and cultivating mind in the area of business known as organisational learning and development, and in relation to the emerging field of arts in business, its significant contribution to knowledge and practices in this arena come clearly into view, but, by its very nature, such transdisciplinary practice-research transcends boundaries of any single field allowing contributions to knowledge and practices to be far more broadly inferred.

Through studio inquiry, and practice-led and literature-based research the philosophical, theoretical, methodological and practical frameworks are created that support, and make explicit, the ontology and operations of Creative contemplation® methodology, the learning fora with others that I conceive as a species of performative installation, and my agency and role as practitioner within these fora that I cast as being (an) Attendant - a specialised model and mode of facilitation commensurate with the potency of arts-based knowing to investigate and cultivate workings of mind and heart.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) mind
cultivating mind
art as knowing
trandisciplinary research
art-based knowing
knowledge production
ways of seeing
individual and collective capacity
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Created: Thu, 02 Dec 2010, 15:14:00 EST
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