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  • Author or Editor: Steve Pool x
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This chapter considers how arts and humanities approaches can offer a different lens which expands possibilities in terms of ways of knowing and ways of communicating. This process can then make space for different voices to come to the fore and can raise issues of power, meaning and ambiguity. The chapter considers the potential of co-production as a methodology to do this. In community contexts it might mean shifting attention away from preferred ways of knowing and being to unfamiliar ways of knowing and being for all involved. The chapter suggests that there is the potential for spatially situated methodologies to surface different kinds of knowledge. The chapter suggests that society needs to build new ways of knowing together. The chapter provides for example an experience of co-producing a film with the youth service and a group of young people in Rotherham for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

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This chapter explores the role of theory in the work of collaborative research. To try to explain how theory comes into the lives of our projects, we tell personal stories about moments of realization where the reading of theory directly connected to how we understand the world of our projects. In the middle of the process of making and doing within the thick of it, new concepts of research and knowing emerged.

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This chapter articulates an approach to knowing through art, in that we recognise the need for artists as individuals to intervene and change the world. It also argues that the process of making involves a process of change, and art includes a huge diversity of practice and a commitment to knowing together and making together. Art as knowing can be developed through conversations, walks, in moments of interaction that create spaces for more things to happen. Art is a process, and here we think about how things emerge — stuff comes from stuff: trying, helping, working, making, talking — new ideas come from doing.

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This chapter draws on a conversation held in Rotherham central library café between the artist Zahir Rafiq, Kate Pahl, and Steve Pool. All of the quotations from Zahir in this chapter come from the transcript of this conversation. The chapter explores with Zahir Rafiq his lived experience of Rotherham, and how he has used art to create a space for conversations and for the articulation of experience. In doing so, this chapter asks the question, ‘What can art do?’ and in this process, it argues for the arts as a mode of enquiry as well as an articulation of experience.

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This chapter attempts the question: how can one re-imagine provision for parenting and families with young children in Rotherham through the knowledge that exists in these families and communities? It does so by detailing a series of family den-building events, with community partners, in order to think through how children learn and have experiences in places. By foregrounding and valuing these everyday lived experiences of families and children, the chapter offers more realistic accounts of what it means to parent young children, which should inform policy and practice regarding how young children should be cared for and should participate in communities.

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This chapter draws on arts practice to discuss ways in which artists have collectively re-imagined better futures. It takes the form of a conversation, which has been edited to reflect the ideas of four people who work in the arts with a focus on how the arts can support transformational change in communities. The conversation is situated within theory that looks a the role of arts in communities, and relates to the field of socially engaged arts practice. The role of the arts in effecting change is debated.

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This chapter provides an overview of the value of getting lost in research and refers to arts-based methods as a way to do this. It proposes the idea of ‘unplanning’ as a way of exploring what it is to get lost. Using the concept of the ‘clew’ is helpful in this process. This provides new insights into the processes and practices of doing collaborative research.

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In this project the legacies that artists left when they worked with universities on collaborative interdisciplinary projects are explored. This chapter discusses how artists influenced such projects and what kinds of contributions they made. An introduction to the histories of artists working in community projects is provided. Then the approaches to understanding what artists did on these projects is outlined. In order to find out about their practices, the authors drew on a number of methodologies, using experiential as well as empirical methods. It is concluded that artists deployed a number of different ways of knowing to create spaces for co-produced ideas to emerge in collaborative projects. Through a process of analysis it is found that while in some cases artists were devising activities based on ideas that had been constructed in the main by academics, in others, ideas and project directions were jointly constructed, sometimes leading to a new outcome or object. The conclusion to the study was that the effect of artists working in collaborative interdisciplinary projects can be profound and far-reaching for research and the knowledge it produces.

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The Poetics of Letting Go

This book invites the reader to think about collaborative research differently. Using the concepts of ‘letting go’ (the recognition that research is always in a state of becoming) and ‘poetics’ (using an approach that might interrupt and remake the conventions of research), it envisions collaborative research as a space where relationships are forged with the use of arts-based and multimodal ways of seeing, inquiring, and representing ideas.

The book’s chapters are interwoven with ‘Interludes’ which provide alternative forms to think with and another vantage point from which to regard phenomena, pose a question, and seek insights or openings for further inquiry, rather than answers. Altogether, the book celebrates collaboration in complex, exploratory, literary and artistic ways within university and community research.

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