Still harping on (about expert practitioner-centred modes of knowledge and models of intelligibility)

Melrose, Susan (2007) Still harping on (about expert practitioner-centred modes of knowledge and models of intelligibility). In: E-science institute workshop: digital representations in the performing arts, 18th July 2007, Edinburgh.

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Official URL: http://www.nesc.ac.uk/talks/784/MELROSEAHDSperfart...

Abstract

My presentation starts from a number of practical questions, each of which, if we unpack it, brings with it a number of theoretical perspectives, issues and enquiries. One such question has a precise empirical focus, which is how to establish a digital archive, working with the practitioner herself, in the case of thirty years of Rosemary Butcher’s making new ‘choreographic’ work, where a complication is added, which is that the practitioner herself continues to make new work in the time of archive production. This is new work that the act of archive production itself might have its impact upon. I am supposing that some of the problems thrown up by this particular exercise of archive production might have implications for archive production in the performing arts more generally, not least because the Rosemary Butcher undertaking is positionequite explicitly in the context of performing arts practice-led-research (and generously funded in large part by the AHRC). My own research has focused in recent years on the question of expert practitioner-specific modes of knowledge and models of intelligibility, on performance-making processes as distinct from the practices of spectating, and on the issue of what might be called the ‘signature practices’ of the expert practitioner. Against this backdrop, a further set of questions is bound up with the issue of digital archive production. First, how might we identify, document and archive disciplinary specificity, in performance-making practices, as distinct from the practices of expert spectating, upon which much performance-documentation tends to be modelled? What is at stake in this question is the issue of the university’s failure, over recent decades, to engage theoretically with disciplinary specificity as such, in contrast with the widely preferred and marketable ‘interdisciplinarity’. Second, what are the identifiers of signature practice, in the named expert practitioner, when and where do they emerge, and can they be/how might they be documented? Third, what constitutes performance-making expertise and is it the case, as I sense that it might be, that we know it when we see it, in the university, rather better than we know how to instruct others to identify it? The expression ‘as I sense it might be’, that I have just used, signals the tentative and speculative nature of my own enquiry and expertise here, and I am flagging up, in case there are any ‘hard-edge’ e-scientists amongst us, the wholly fuzzy nature of my certainties. I am setting up the formula, ‘as I sense that it might be’, to represent a major model of intelligibility that is central to the ways of knowing in this particular field of practice.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media & Performing Arts
ID Code:9287
Deposited On:03 Sep 2012 15:33
Last Modified:19 Jul 2014 06:07

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