The Dialogic: art work as method

J. Hammersley, Rachelle Viader Knowles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

655 Downloads (Pure)


This paper discusses how the multisite artwork The Dialogic demonstrates an innovative, supportive and generative artwork-as-method which resists overly reductive, and prescriptive tendencies within practice-led research. It continues a dialogue between participants that has been ongoing since 2012. The Dialogic has been adapted through the work of multiple artists, and this iteration is offered as a dialogue between the artists John Hammersley and Rachelle Viader Knowles in response to reflections in the work of Simon Pope. The Dialogic emerged as a method-work which imbricates the artist in socially situated exchange across multiple contexts, enacts coauthored and co-produced meaning-making, and challenges assumptions about the separation of art and research and notions of the detached artist-researcher. Its innovative contribution to practice-led research is how it demonstrates dialogical art as the on-going re-construction of a community of support, sustained through a commitment to knowledge mobilization, continued exchange and engagement in which the artist and their work are ‘answerable’ for the choices and actions in their art-as-research. The work functions as a generative research tool. It demonstrates how semi-structured everyday conversational-exchange-as-art can simultaneously lead to the emergence of subconsciously held insights, construct a community of practice that helps shape thinking outside of institutional frameworks, and act as a situated literature review that may disrupt traditional frameworks of knowledge production normalized in much fine art research. The authors argue that this method is appropriate to dialogical art-as-research as it makes a necessary contribution to the practice-led research tool box. It offers a method of distributive authorship grounded in an emergent, situated and more provisional mode of meaning-making that facilitates generous, democratized, peer-to-peer co-mentorship and skill-sharing contributing to understandings of dialogical art as research. This they argue is an increasingly necessary counterpoint to the reduction of practice-led fine art research to a training in mechanistic methods, reductive evaluation, and singular concrete outcomes aimed at satisfying the artist-researcher as customer and consumer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherNational Association of Fine Art Educators
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
EventNational Association of Fine Art Educators (NAFAE) Fine Art Research Network Symposium - Cumbria, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jul 201615 Jul 2016


ConferenceNational Association of Fine Art Educators (NAFAE) Fine Art Research Network Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

This co-authored paper was delivered at the National Association of Fine Art Educators (NAFAE) conference at the University of Cumbria, 15 July 2016, and published online at:

It is also based on 'Dialogic' which is a multi-site artwork.


  • dialogue
  • practice-led research
  • generative method
  • collaboration
  • community of support


Dive into the research topics of 'The Dialogic: art work as method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this