Using Phenomenology in Contemporary Arts Research: an introduction

Andrews, Jorella G.. 2019. 'Using Phenomenology in Contemporary Arts Research: an introduction'. In: Test Lab Central St Martins. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, United Kingdom 1 May 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This workshop was a practical introduction to a range of phenomenological research orientations and techniques which are particularly useful in the early stages of the research process when researchers are (a) seeking to become intimately acquainted with your visual, textual, and other source materials and (b) searching for or developing critical and contextual frameworks for engaging with their sources in ways that will do them the most justice in terms of the insights they may potentially yield. More broadly, the workshop argued for the vital repositioning, reconceptualising (and thus decolonising) capacities of these techniques, techniques which – perhaps at first sight counter-intuitively – insist upon immersing us as scholars within the realms of the pre-objective and pre-critical.

Students worked with one or two specific visual, textual or other sources of their own choice relating to their current research. Three key phenomenologically-based skills were be addressed:

Drawing as a practice that assists and prolongs perception and activates crucial embodied, intuitive and pre-verbal or non-verbal modes of attention.

Description (defined by the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty as ‘the first philosophical act’) in its varied modes as enabling nuanced and multi-perspectival scholarly exploration.

Modes of semi-structured and open-ended interviewing, analysis and interpretation(drawn from a recently-developed qualitative research methodology called Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis or IPA) whether of persons or, more controversially, of texts, images, objects and situations.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Talk)


art research phenomenology drawing description precritical

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


17 April 2019Accepted
1 May 2019Published

Event Location:

Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, United Kingdom

Date range:

1 May 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Oct 2019 14:51

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 14:51


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