Changing the Vocabulary of Creative Research: The Role of Networks, Risk, and Accountability in Transcending Technical Rationality

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter seeks to question the ontology and underpinning discourse of ‘composition as research’, proposing that for too long the artistic community has accepted without modification an uneasy mapping of questions and frameworks from the sciences onto the processes, contexts and situations of artistic creativity. However, this is not a straightforward claim for inapplicability, rather a call to action to address the contemporary demands of an interdisciplinary research landscape where complexity, context, risk and emergence play a significant part of research that exceeds the boundaries of that which can be described by technical systems alone.
The chapter notes that artistic creation is articulated through culture by a complex and networked service-dominant logic, rather than a linear supply chain of artistic ‘goods’ from creator to perceiver. In doing so, it suggests that the arts function as a complex system and that traditional research models for creative practice - often themselves based on linear relationships between research process and research outputs - have consequently become crystallised around nineteenth century values of artefact production and singular points of knowledge ownership.
A starting point to disrupt these links is offered through a modification of the vocabulary of how creative research is framed in scholarly practice. The straightforward idea of the creative question is introduced to supplement the classical notion of research question, so that a dependence on the act of translation between textual and non-textual domains in encapsulating enquiry in creative research can be reassessed. Risk, within this untranslated remit, changes behaviour from a force to be mitigated to an agent for enabling emergence and exploration. Broader, interdisciplinary research domains today encompass an experimental system far wider than that which can be described by technical rationality alone. To this end, artistic accountability is proposed as a challenge to procedural justification in the academic presentation of musical composition research, with a view to enabling contextual discourse which is outward-looking and connective by default.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSound Work
Subtitle of host publicationComposition as Critical Technical Practice
EditorsJonathan Impett
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherLeuven University Press
Number of pages15
EditionOrpheus Institute Series
ISBN (Print)9789462702585
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Cite this