How do arts-based writing endeavors catalyze generative thinking and support research development in design students’ thesis endeavors? This paper offers reflections from an industrial design masters student, a graphic design masters student, and their arts education professor in a School of Design at a Research I institution. Informed by theoretical and historical contexts of the design discipline and perspectives from composition studies and fine arts practice, we explore the potential of arts-based writing as an evocative, speculative tool and a distinctive form of reflective practice for the development of graduate design research. We suggest that arts-based writing’s iterative process, dialogic engagement, and speculative approach to knowledge-construction provide critical, reflective structures for working through uncertainties and thus are uniquely responsive to the evolving epistemologies of the transdisciplinary university. Three focal questions guide this reflection: What is arts-based writing? What role does arts-based writing play in students’ design research endeavors? How can arts-based writing practices support the growth of speculative and pragmatic design research?
UC SCHOOL OF ART MFA GRADUATING SHOW 2015 — TEXTS AND PROJECTS
This collection of texts and images brings together the work of graduate students and faculty in art history, art education, and fine arts at the University of Cincinnati in the spring of 2015. We invited students in art education and art history to write accompanying texts for the final projects of their peers in the fine arts graduate program – projects encompassing everything from multimedia installation, abstract painting, video animation, fiber-based sculptural assemblages, photography, and drawing. The students’ projects were presented at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, as part of the School of Art’s MFA Thesis Exhibition, which ran from April 1 and April 25, 2015. A process of looking, talking, looking again, writing, reading, and re-writing unfolded. Shorter versions of the texts were shown at the CAC alongside the artworks at the CAC. The process created a working space for artists and writers in dialogue, giving rise to new ideas and projects in turn.
Design: Sso-Rha Kang