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Journal ArticleDOI

Writing experiments with a lateral leaning

01 Dec 2010-Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect Books)-Vol. 3, Iss: 3, pp 211-225
TL;DR: The drawing and writing experiment that I offered at the Centre of Learning and Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD) conference in Berlin, 2010 is related to my Ph.D. research.
Abstract: The drawing and writing experiment that I offered at the Centre of Learning and Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD) conference in Berlin, 2010 is related to my Ph.D. research (based at Leeds Metropolitan University). The research centres around what I am calling the lateral or supra-rational sides of designing processes. While the term lateral was originally made popular by de Bono (1967) in his book Lateral Thinking, its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox Humanities approaches to academic research. Schon (1983) in The Reflective Practitioner, Law on Beyond Method: Mess (2004) and tangentially, in terms of contemplating a network of practice, Lefebvre's Rhythmanalysis (1992) have all further influenced my research. The research project's particular portrait of processes emerged, in a first stage, from interviews with design students, designers/tutors and young designers in Leeds and at the Royal College of Art. The second, more speculative stage of research asks what might happen if such subject matter and such modes of practice are imposed on writing culture. The drawing and writing experiment in Berlin was a hands-on exploration of the theme of Observation.

Summary (2 min read)

Introduction

  • My Ph.D. research centres round what I am calling the ‘lateral’ or supra-rational sides of designing processes and practice.
  • Another element of the understanding behind the experiments is that there are primary modes of thinking that are visual and that can be annexed in writing perhaps.
  • In Berlin, the choice for the workshop was based on the intimation that, as the city itself is rich in all kinds of visual, urban stimulation, the focus on ‘watching, perceiving and noticing’ would be appealing.
  • The rest of this article, then, documents what took place through drawing and discussing, and adds some simple commentaries on salient points that relate to the larger research project with its now large body of experiments.
  • I would suggest from the experiments that emotions not only seem to be intrinsic ‘rhythms of practice’, but to be almost synonymous with health, perhaps vigour.

Discussion

  • HE’s drawing experience – Layers, also known as Figure 1.
  • Observation five: the intense and messy HE: For me, [the drawing] looks really messy actually, but it’s got a lot of things that have happened to me in the last few days.
  • The intensity of breathing in the city was for me not (this time) via the greatness of Berlin or its sad history or the sublime, but of a very down-to-earth, ridiculous in parts, array (not series) of impressions and sensual experiences, and the disparate subject matter are united through that experience, captured on paper and through the overriding emotion.
  • While the drawing would make an excellent kind of springboard for writing in various contexts, the notion behind the experiments is not ‘draw first, write second’ in the sense that the drawing is merely a ‘prompt’, although that may be an excellent practice.

Observation thirteen

  • This archiving of Berlin, the city, has gone back into history, huge tensions, and inevitably into the notions of fundamental splits rather than the more sensual appreciation of my own drawing.
  • Because you’ve got two halves – you’ve got east and west – yeah, it’s the city first of all […] although bits of the conference do feed into it because the crack is obviously a huge divide, also known as CT.
  • And even with the walls down, there are still people trying to climb to get to somewhere here, I think.
  • What is interesting is how CT asserts his respect for knowledge whereas I am bound (in this experiment) to expressing experience: I can imagine these two threads leading to divergent written outcomes.

Observation sixteen: the jester

  • There are a number of cross- allus- allusions going on, also known as CT.
  • The authors – this was just in my mind about the juggler, the spinner, the jester, but actually, he’s looking up, motivated to move on – perhaps that’s the optimism in the city.
  • CT’s jester brings another dimension, potentially a narrative: a symbolic character that hints at another kind of myth, or non-historical force.
  • CT therefore manages to convey a tension (always exciting) between two opposing forces in the city, one of the past and one of the present.
  • Observation seventeen: an angel CT: When the taxi driver […] brought us back, and she was really proud of the fact that the golden angel is over Berlin: she looks over us, she watches over us and I felt that was optimism.

End notes

  • The sketches are governed by individual circumstance and experience.
  • One is more sensual and layered with pleasures; the other is more narrative, illuminating a crack of history and an inherent tension.
  • Whatever the case, such a visual record is rich and provides rich pickings.
  • In fact, there are three texts emerging from this particular experiment: this piece for CLTAD, a poetry piece envisaged by Curtis Tappenden and a sound-image piece waiting for a post-thesis breathing space in my own case.

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Writing experiments with a lateral leaning
Harriet Edwards, Royal College of Arts/Leeds Metropolitan University
With Curtis Tappenden, University for the Creative Arts
Abstract
The drawing and writing experiment that I offered at the Centre of Learning and
Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD) conference in Berlin, 2010 is related to my Ph.D.
research (based at Leeds Metropolitan University). The research centres around what I
am calling the ‘lateral’ or supra-rational sides of designing processes. While the term
‘lateral’ was originally made popular by de Bono (1967) in his book Lateral Thinking, its
association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected
to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are
harder to contain and evidence within orthodox Humanities approaches to academic
research. Schon (1983) in ‘The Reflective Practitioner’, Law on ‘Beyond Method: Mess’
(2004) and tangentially, in terms of contemplating a network of practice, Lefebvre’s
‘Rhythmanalysis’ (1992) have all further influenced my research. The research project’s
particular portrait of processes emerged, in a first stage, from interviews with design
students, designers/tutors and young designers in Leeds and at the Royal College of Art.
The second, more speculative stage of research asks what might happen if such subject
matter and such modes of practice are imposed on writing culture. The drawing and
writing experiment in Berlin was a ‘hands-on’ exploration of the theme of Observation.
Keywords
1

observation
drawing
experiment
participatory
discussion
writing practices
Introduction
My Ph.D. research centres round what I am calling the ‘lateral’ or supra-rational sides of
designing processes and practice. While the term ‘lateral’ was originally encountered
through de Bono (1967), its association in the research project embraces the kinds of
thinking and making connected to elements of discovery that are tacit, experiential and
heuristic in nature: ideation, visualization and intuition form other elements of a sphere of
practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox approaches to academic
research in the Humanities. The research project’s initial portrait of practice emerged
from interviews with design students, designers/tutors and young designers in Leeds and
at the Royal College of Art, London. The second and more speculative stage of my
research asks what might happen if such subject matter and such modes of practice are
imposed on writing culture. In other words, could writing be enriched in some way by
designing, thinking and making modes? Would it further reveal insights into practice
rhythms? I therefore took the very broad practice of drawing and created a number of
2

experiments that moved from drawing responses to the themes above, to speaking and
then to writing activities.
The research project itself interrogates the existing curriculum in proposing writing as
something that can be conceived of as a by-product of drawing. The writing element in
the experiments may include, or move beyond, the requirement for an evaluative or
reflective response; they may have a totally distinct, more expressive nature, or may even
be repressed, erased. These ‘experiments’ are so called rather than ‘workshops’ because
their nature is essentially exploratory and open-ended; they are not designed to transmit a
body of skills, for example, or to progress through exercises. In fact, the experiments
have something of the spirit of CLTAD 2010 with Susan Orr’s talk, ‘Reflect on this!’
(CLTAD 2010) in that there is a prioritizing of students’ primary practice and mode of
working. Howard Riley’s notion of the ‘visual essay’ (CLTAD 2010) has also taken up
this baton. Indeed, there are many echoes of the 2002–2006 national project,Writing
Purposefully in Art and Design’s forays here, for instance the imperative for writing to
match the purpose of the student-practitioner rather than to resemble an inculcation into
someone else’s culture. Another element of the understanding behind the experiments is
that there are primary modes of thinking that are visual and that can be annexed in
writing perhaps. Rudolf Arnheim’s book Visual Thinking (1969) emphasizes this
element:
3

‘What makes language so valuable for thinking, then, cannot be thinking in words. It
must be the help that words lend to thinking while it operates in a more appropriate
medium, such as visual imagery.
Words point to precepts
The visual medium is so enormously superior because it offers structural equivalents to
all characteristics of objects, events, relations […]’
To some extent then, the experiments are concerned with what is primary and what is
secondary. The ‘primary’ in this project is connected with the drawing itself, visual
expression, with experience and with processes of practice, for example. These might
include sketching out ideas – without preamble, deliberation or conscious planning. In
other words, the powers of visualization and intuition or ideation are called upon. The
‘secondary’ are words, both the verbal chatting around the images and finally the writing.
While the research project is concerned with how writing is manifested after drawing and
talking, this brief article will focus solely on the practical details of the actual encounter
that formed the experiment ‘Observation’, and will offer up a few ‘end notes’ from the
Berlin conference (CLTAD 2010). As Curtis Tappenden, the sole collaborator in this
experiment, illuminates,
‘This is a working document from the conference and not one simply brought to it’.
Setting up and first stage of the writing experiment at CLTAD 2010: Observation
Etymology of observation/observe:
Late 14
th
century: a watching over; to attend to in practice
4

16
th
century: watch, perceive, notice; a remark in reference to something observed’.
[http://www.etymonline.com]
As explained, each writing experiment is introduced via a main theme derived from the
Ph.D. interview data in 2008/2009. In Berlin, the choice for the workshop was based on
the intimation that, as the city itself is rich in all kinds of visual, urban stimulation, the
focus on ‘watching, perceiving and noticing’ would be appealing. The actual workshop
turned into a dialogue with Curtis Tappenden (CT), himself a practitioner of drawing and
creative writing/performance, as well as a tutor engaged in this kind of drawing-writing
crossover at the University for the Creative Arts. The workshop proved to be a
stimulating exchange of practice in terms of our respective research areas as well as the
experiment itself. The rest of this article, then, documents what took place through
drawing and discussing, and adds some simple commentaries on salient points that relate
to the larger research project with its now large body of experiments.
Observation one: physical space
The allocated room was of the large, institutional lecture kind: technology facilities and
large screens at one end with very long rows of identical chairs facing them. Setting up
for the experiment involved screening off a part of this room to provide an empty space,
slightly denuded of the larger efficiency, and slightly protected from more formal
learning connotations. (In fact, for almost all the twenty research experiments, we
occupied studio space or at least an informal space to spread out in).
5

References
More filters
Book
01 Jan 1983
TL;DR: In this paper, a reflection cycle and guiding questions are designed to assist licensure candidates in the reflection process and enable them to better understand the process and address the question; "How does this piece of evidence demonstrate my knowledge and skill level in this activity?".
Abstract: The reflection that accompanies the evidence a candidate presents in the performance-based product is a critical part of the candidate's development. Through reflection the candidate begins the ongoing process of blending the art and science of good teaching practice. Reflection requires thoughtful and careful reporting and analysis of teaching practice, philosophy, and experience. Understanding why an activity or practice was productive or nonproductive in the classroom is a key element in the progression from novice to master teacher. The reflection cycle and the guiding questions included in this packet are designed to assist licensure candidates in the reflection process. They will enable candidates to better understand the reflection process and address the question; "How does this piece of evidence demonstrate my knowledge and skill level in this activity?". The following reflection cycle offers a prescriptive structure while allowing the flexibility necessary for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and ability in the unique context of their area and environment. The reflections of the novice teacher are also vital to the assessors charged with the responsibility for judging whether the teacher has met the required level of performance for each standard based activity. Through their responses to the guiding questions, candidates will better be able to put evidence into perspective for the review team members by explaining how the evidence or artifact addresses the standard through the activity.

9,821 citations

Book
01 Jan 1965
TL;DR: Rabelais drew these images from the living popular-festive tradition of his time, but he was also well versed in the antique scholarly tradition of the Saturnalia, with its own rituals of travesties, uncrownings, and thrashings as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Abuse with uncrowning, as truth about old authority, about the dying world, is an organic part of Rabelais’ system of images. It is combined with carnivalesque thrashings, with change of costume and travesty. Rabelais drew these images from the living popular-festive tradition of his time, but he was also well versed in the antique scholarly tradition of the Saturnalia, with its own rituals of travesties, uncrownings, and thrashings. Finally, the carnivalesque character appeared on private family occasions, christenings and memorial services, as well as on agricultural feasts, the harvest of grapes (vendage) and the slaughter of cattle, as described by Rabelais. In the time of Rabelais folk merriment had not as yet been concentrated in carnival season, in any of the towns of France. Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) was but one of many occasions for folk merriment, although an important one.

3,871 citations

Book
01 Jan 1967

289 citations


"Writing experiments with a lateral ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...While the term ‘lateral’ was originally encountered through de Bono (1967), its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to elements of discovery that are tacit, experiential and heuristic in nature: ideation, visualization and intuition form other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox approaches to academic research in the Humanities....

    [...]

  • ...While the term ‘lateral’ was originally made popular by de Bono (1967) in his book Lateral Thinking, its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to…...

    [...]

  • ...While the term ‘lateral’ was originally encountered through de Bono (1967), its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to elements of discovery that are tacit, experiential and heuristic in nature: ideation, visualization and intuition form other…...

    [...]

  • ...While the term ‘lateral’ was originally made popular by de Bono (1967) in his book Lateral Thinking, its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox Humanities approaches to academic research. Schon (1983) in ‘The Reflective Practitioner’, Law on ‘Beyond Method: Mess’ (2004) and tangentially, in terms of contemplating a network of practice, Lefebvre’s ‘Rhythmanalysis’ (1992) have all further influenced my research....

    [...]

  • ...While the term ‘lateral’ was originally made popular by de Bono (1967) in his book Lateral Thinking, its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox Humanities approaches to academic research....

    [...]

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Abstract: In this article we reflect on reflection. To do this, we share examples of pedagogic approaches used in undergraduate performance programmes at York St John University that re-situate reflective practice within creative practice. For example, we explore the creative, multimodal use of a catalogue document that two of the authors used to encourage students to reflect as part of the B.A. (Hons) Theatre level 2 modules entitled performing the self & artist as witness. These modules aim to encourage students to consider themselves in some sense auteurs of themselves and their art practice. The case study illustrates that we need to go beyond the familiar if we are to be reflexive about the role of reflection in creative practice education.

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Frequently Asked Questions (11)
Q1. What are the contributions mentioned in the paper "Writing experiments with a lateral leaning" ?

While the term ‘ lateral ’ was originally made popular by de Bono ( 1967 ) in his book Lateral Thinking, its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to ideation, visualization, intuition and other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox Humanities approaches to academic research. The research project ’ s particular portrait of processes emerged, in a first stage, from interviews with design students, designers/tutors and young designers in Leeds and at the Royal College of Art. Schon ( 1983 ) in ‘ The Reflective Practitioner ’, Law on ‘ Beyond Method: Mess ’ ( 2004 ) and tangentially, in terms of contemplating a network of practice, Lefebvre ’ s ‘ Rhythmanalysis ’ ( 1992 ) have all further influenced my research. 

Seeing drawing through such experiments is to witness its strengths in terms of ideation, as a trace or document, a generator of something whole; it can in addition prove a compelling medium for communication, where writing becomes a fruitful (not compulsory) by-product. 

I recognized that not knowing what The authorwas doing was a strength – a bypassing of the conscious that Jane Graves refers to in her description of the creative process in ‘The Secret life of Objects’ (2007). 

CT’s emphasis on the more intellectual enquiry behind who the authors are that enters the drawing is something The authorneed to counterbalance against my own enthusiasm for the ‘primary’ of drawing and a strong leaning towards ideation. 

The angel in the drawing was observed, pointed out, an actual statue, and it connected to the family experience and the taxi contact, as well as representing a strong sense of an optimistic mood. 

The writing element in the experiments may include, or move beyond, the requirement for an evaluative or reflective response; they may have a totally distinct, more expressive nature, or may even be repressed, erased. 

While the term ‘lateral’ was originally encountered through de Bono (1967), its association in the research project embraces the kinds of thinking and making connected to elements of discovery that are tacit, experiential and heuristic in nature: ideation, visualization and intuition form other elements of a sphere of practice that are harder to contain and evidence within orthodox approaches to academic research in the Humanities. 

CT’s jester brings another dimension, potentially a narrative: a symbolic character that hints at another kind of myth, or non-historical force. 

The research project itself interrogates the existing curriculum in proposing writing as something that can be conceived of as a by-product of drawing. 

While the drawing would make an excellent kind of springboard for writing in various contexts, the notion behind the experiments is not ‘draw first, write second’ in the sense that the drawing is merely a ‘prompt’, although that may be an excellent practice. 

In fact, the experiments have something of the spirit of CLTAD 2010 with Susan Orr’s talk, ‘Reflect on this!’ (CLTAD 2010) in that there is a prioritizing of students’ primary practice and mode of working.