Emergence

Emergence

Because art and research both hinge on discovery, emergence (that which is unplanned that reveals itself) is held up as a critical element of an art-based researcher’s process, as this post will discuss. As Picasso once said, “if you know exactly what you are going to do, what is the point of doing it?”

.    While creativity can be defined as “the process of having original ideas that have value” (Robinson cited in TEDtalksDirector, 2007), emergence is an element on the journey towards developing such original ideas, as I will discuss in my literature review video (part 2 of the documentary). Discovery has a well-documented physiological effect on the brain (Kandel cited in Big Think, 2013), making us happy with the release of dopamine and activating the lateral habenula part of the brain which motivates us to keep seeking out discovery-based experiences (Tulley as cited in bigideasfest, 2010). It’s no wonder then that so many art-based scholars have indicated the importance of surprise in their work. For example, Eisner (as cited in VanderbiltUniversity, 2009) reports on the benefits of “outcomes you hadn’t anticipated” that come from “the opportunity to work at the edge of incompetence” (n.p.). McDermott (2008) advises, “as artistic inquirers we need to always be aware and awake because the ‘answers’ are unfolding each minute,” (p. 146). Norman (2008) observes, “the white spaces that always look empty but are ready at any moment, borrowing from Helene Cixous,  “to burst into letters” (pp. 58–59). My own personal experience with art and research confirms the same. How often have I walked away from a painting or a piece of writing, only to be struck with the most brilliant next step when I am nowhere in front of my work! How many times has one little word or phrase or image or sound inspired a thought, helping me to make a connection and tie things together in a way that no planning or studying could. Emergence represents trust and openness in relation to the universe, to collective intelligence, and to the natural, grand, and inexplicable processes of the mind. Cole and Knowles (2001) explain art-based research in the following way:
     Process is informed . . . by knowing how artists work. It is about fusing into one’s scholarship the      inspiration of an art and its processes and representations . . . . This knowledge of process is
.      infused into researching procedures in ways that make inherent sense and enhance the
.      possibilities for gathering a different quality of information, analyzing and interpreting and
     presenting it creatively (p. 5).
Eisner (as cited in VanderbiltUniversity, 2009) puts it simply, “surprise: it’s on no one’s list of goals, but it should be” (n.p.). Relinquishing finite plans and cultivating openness creates the opportunity for emergence and the creativity that flows from it to thrive. The aim of this research is to stress the importance of creativity for everyone and to illuminate alternative options to the status quo in educational practice and, secondarily, in research. Emergence is reliably fickle and predictably serendipitous and exciting—what an excellent recipe for working and learning.

 

References

bigideasfest. (2010, February 28). Gever Tulley: Turning curriculum design on its head:
.
.       Engage first, then look for learning within
.  Retrieved May 10, 2013, from
.
.       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sckY7cmmkOU
.
Big Think. (2013, April 8). Eric Kandel: How your brain finishes paintings.
.
.       Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoubVUSk7h0
.
Cole, A. L., & Knowles, J. G. (2001). Qualities of inquiry. In L. Neilsen, A. L. Cole,
.
.       & J. G. Knowles (Eds.), The art of writing inquiry (pp. 211–219). Halifax, Canada:
.
     Backalong Books.
.
Norman, R. (2008). Imaginative energy: Artistic and autobiographical dreams. In J. G. Knowles,
.
  .     S. Promislow, A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry: Imagining the arts-informed thesis or
.
    dissertation
(pp. 58–69). Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.
..
McDermott, M. (2008). Created worlds and crumbled universes. In J. G. Knowles, S. Promislow,
.
.       & A. L. Cole (Eds.), Creating scholartistry: Imagining the arts-informed thesis or dissertation
.
. 
    (pp. 135–150)Halifax, Canada: Backalong Books.
.
TEDtalksDirector. (2007, January 6). Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? Retrieved
.
.      March 25, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
.
VanderbiltUniversity. (2009, November 4). Prof. Elliot W. Eisner: “What Do the Arts Teach?”
.
      Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h12MGuhQH9E

 

 

Posted by Rebecca Zak

Bookmark the permalink or leave a trackback.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

or