"... realizing that the meanings we bring to the surface from the depths of life's oceans have already lost the natural quiver of their disturbed existence. (van Manen, 1990, p. 54)
I was reading the blog of another NZ educator today-
In my colloquium document I had argued that there is an advantage to be had in undertaking doctoral studies: there is no market force constraining the area of study or the form of submission. The process of my learning allows for a gift of research to participants who could not afford to have their fledgling projects studied. In respect for the gift of their time and their trust, the research process needs to honour the participants in a format that they can connect with and/or use. Reading a book (thesis) just might not do this. I am therefore arguing that data be presented in forms outside of the traditional written format. This argument is described by Weber and Mitchell (2004):
"...arts-based research can be more accessible than most forms of academic discourse, citing Williams and Bendelow (1998), they argue …artistic forms of representations provide a refreshing and necessary challenge to prevailing modes of academic discourse. The use of widely-shared cultural codes and popular images make some visual expressions far more accessible than the usual academic language. To the degree that the mandate of the academy is to provoke discussion and thinking, and to communicate research to a broader audience (even within the academy) the use of the visual arts becomes significant. (¶ 11)
While artistic representation can be more engaging, the important word here is can. As much as it might, it mightn't. There is risk. The mandate to provoke discussion and thinking and to communicate research to a broader audience requires a regard for what is being communicated and consideration as to whether text is the most appropriate means. The conventions of academia usually reflect a commitment to written text, but this as a tradition is subject to change. An exegesis within the performing arts allows for performance to be accompanied by text, "Since a performance cannot always present this information without ambiguity, it is appropriate that a written component is included." (Deakin University, 2006). But what if we were to consider text as but one performance? Logic would suggest a performance, whether written, visual or audio, always presents a level of ambiguity. If ambiguity is reduced through having (non text) performance enhanced by the use of text, then perhaps the converse is also valid, there is a potential for enhancing text by the use of (non text) performances.
Or is the inclusion of visual imagery, a fashion statement, a titivation? A seduction?
Dr Scott Lukas suggests that the digital facilitates human separation: a fascination with capturing of moments in a fragmented world. Drawing on Baudrillard, Lukas describes his photographs emphasize the lack felt on traveling beyond that moment. , conveying the state of the world in our absence. ... armed with a battery of artificial memories ... the digital facilitates human separation.
In this separation does the image add or take away? Does it make for fuller, thicker ways of knowing or detract, distract,distort. Does it do this any less than other media.
Does it add to that which quivers?