Post-webinar thoughts: How can art be a practice of research?

CAN ART BE A PRACTICE OF RESEARCH was presented by guest speaker Professor Timothy Ingold, world renowned Anthropologist and author of books including: Lines (2016), Making (2013), Being Alive (2011) and The Perception of the Environment (2000).

Introduction Dr Catherine Baker
Introduction Dr Catherine Baker

The premise of the webinar was that it is a commonplace that scientists do research. We might reasonably ask the scientist to justify his or her research, to explain how it is done, and to disseminate the results. But that research is what the scientist does is not in question. With artists, however, it is precisely the opposite. It would have been unusual, in the past, for artists to admit to carrying out research, and even more unusual for the public to recognise it as such. Nowadays however, for a variety of reasons – partly institutional, partly to do withIntroduced by Dr Catherine Baker funding, but largely connected to changing practices in art itself – more and more artists present what they are doing as research. And this leaves the public puzzled. Are they pretending to behave like scientists? And if they are, what are they trying to find out, and what kinds of knowledge do they think their art can contribute that science cannot? That artists often find such questions difficult if not impossible to answer only serves to increase public suspicion.

Professor Tim Ingold
Professor Tim Ingold

In his lecture Professor Ingold turns these normal expectations upside down. He argued that research is fundamentally a practice of art, in which science has consistently fallen short.

This is a link to the webinar recording.

ME member Lucy Paris made the Lino cut below while listening to Professor Ingold. she shared the print with the BCU #printgang who meet Tues, Wed and Thursdays at 2:30 on Teams to discuss, debate and make. If you would like to join them make a request to

Lucy Paris shares her lino cut from the webinar

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