Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University. Emma's research focuses on artistic processes and practices, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ therein. Her practice unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches, alongside a mode of ‘contiguous writing’ — a way of writing-with that seeks to touch upon rather than being explicitly about. Her writing is published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2010; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; Reading/Feeling, 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and the solo collection, The Yes of the No, 2016. More recently, Emma trained to be a qualified yoga teacher, interested in how a heightened awareness of the body and breath, alongside meditation and attention practices, might be integrated into art-writing, artistic practice, pedagogy and research.

Event: What is Artistic Research?

My proposed paper ‘Tactical Research - Practices for Thinking (Oneself) Differently’ has been accepted as part of the strand of enquiry, ‘What is Artistic Research?’, at the Cumulus conference, School of Art and Design, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.

Conference Questions:
What is artistic research? What is the role of artworks in it? How is artistic research related to various traditions of combining art and research: a) Research for art, b) Research of art, c) Art for research, d) Art + theory = research? Why are (some) artists trying to combine art and research? What can be gained with it? What are the possible dangers or failures of it? What is it needed for? What is “artistic knowledge” or “art’s own knowledge”? What is included in it, what separates it from so called scientific knowledge? In what sense is art research? How should art and research be combined in the university context?

Tactical Research - Practices for Thinking (Oneself) Differently

I propose to approach the (art) research process as an affirmative practice for thinking (oneself) differently, reframing artistic research as a ‘tactic’ or ‘way of operating’ (de Certeau) for producing a critical form of subjectivity, part of a wider process of subjectivization. Purposefully shifting from thinking of research as determined within and by the (narrow) terms of an academic ‘project’ (as defined by the more instrumentalized and commodified conceptualizations of research within academia) I develop an understanding of the research process as a live and lived enquiry, considering it in analogous terms to or as a manifestation of the philosophical project of ‘making life into a work of art’ (Foucault). My intent is to move from viewing research as the teleological pursuit of knowledge, a linear and outcome-driven process catalyzed by the identification of questions to which conclusions are subsequently sought. Instead, I consider research as an expression of ‘conatus’ (Spinoza) or of the ‘enquiring of the enquirer (Badiou) where the search or striving of its endeavor (rather than its outputs or contribution to knowledge) is recuperated critical value. Here, a subject is not what is studied at a distance but rather what is performed or enacted through the research itself.