arts research funding, goldin+senneby, headless, higher education funding, humanities research funding, looking for headless, money, offshore, performance art, performative research, research methodologies, social sciences research funding, Times Higher Education Supplement
At the end of 2010 I was interviewed by the Times Higher Education Supplement about my involvement in Headless. The result can be found here.
Although the piece only touches on it, one of the more interesting aspects of Headless for me is its implications for research methodology. Normally this is something I tend to leave well alone, if only because my standard method boils down to ‘think…read….think….read a bit more….think…..write’. Although this neatly avoids all that tedious mucking about with field-work, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and the rest and is, therefore, extremely cost effective, for some reason UK funding bodies don’t seem to appreciate it. However, the sort of performative, semi-fictional, dialogic, dispersed methods employed by Headless have proved remarkably effective at opening the world of offshore up to audiences that would not normally touch it. Hence my comments, reported in the THES piece about ‘impact’. UK academics are all now requiired to demonstrate the ‘impact’ of their research. For the most part this seems to mean (no-one is yet entirely sure) economic impact in the sense of inventing some new gadget or process for managing new gadgets. For some reason the humanities and social sciences are feelng a tad left out of all this, partly because they (obviously) don’t make gadgets, but also because it is often very hard to communicate research with wider public audiences. Not everyone can write ‘popular science’ novels, for example. Performative methods open up all sorts of possibilities for collaborative engagements that do not mean all academics turning themselves into performing monkeys. Such activity as ther is of this kind (including Headless) seems mainly to be being led by the artist/performer community rather than the academics. We need to get more active about this stuff. Because it works.