Roadmap for establishing a wider intellectual context for your topic(s) of discourse

1) your definition of xxxxxx

2) research online (at least 6 hours)

3) wait for 24 hours

4) your NEW definition of xxxxxx which may now be enforced / contradicted / confused 

= enrichment. 

(Note: Also let us have an idea of the research that led you to this new definition. I do not mean references in the classical sense of the word but you could link some things to pages where you found things that led you to your new conclusions.)


The citation machine

An excellent generator for references: http://www.citationmachine.net/


Search term combinations

You may start with one search term only, however it is an excellent idea to combine your search term with others. These may be terms that you come across while you are doing the initial search, or they may just be things that you want to try out. So, instead of searching just for "imagination" as a single term (as Misia is doing), it may give wonderful results that may really broaden her horizons if she combines "imagination" with let us say, "philosophy" "creativity" "science" "curiosity" and many others. Below, I am going to use Misia's search on "imagination" as an example, however this applies to all such searches. Simply substitute your own search term with "imagination" and find other terms that you think relate to it. (And, some of the ones that I listed above, may well apply to an extension of your query as much as they do to the term "imagination," therefore, by all means, use those also).

So anyway, I became curious myself, and coupled the terms "imagination" and "curiosity" in a simple google search:
Which led me to this very cool text - and incidentally this is the first result, so I didn't even have to look very far:

All of your topics will lend themselves to such combinations. And these combinations need not be related to one another - indeed the less related they seem to be, the more interesting will they be in terms of outcome. Oppositions, contradictions, synonyms, antonyms - you should be quite courageous in what you put together. And as I said above, it is good to always bear in mind that sometimes the second terms may also come out of the initial search for just the one term. So, be on the lookout for those also:

We can see how such secondary terms come out of a primary search when we look at the search results for the term "imagination" all by itself, the wikipedia link for it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagination) talks about "story-telling" right at the start. And also has a link to the term "story-telling." (Which you should be looking at, of course, since the page gives you a direct link). But what happens when we combine "imagination" and "story-telling" is this:
Where we find this, just a little bit down:
Which is actually based upon a TED talk. (So, I would search for that also, of course). But what happens now is that we have this link that suddenly gives us a completely new (and fascinating!) term - namely "fear" that the author is coupling with "imagination" and "story-telling." A triple combination which, I would suggest, will open entirely new vistas of thought for a creative practitioner since it is actually bringing together terms that may not be immediately related to one another... Which can then be combined with other stuff and other stuff and other stuff - until you reach an idea / viewpoint / discussion that you can expand upon and make your very own - as a text, but especially as the conceptual framework or content for new/enhanced creative output.



There are basically three ways to insert references into a scholarly text: These are footnotes, endnotes, and the enumerative bibliography; this last one being the list of full references with requisite fields (such as dates, names, publisher info, page numbers etc) that go at the end of the text.

Although there are many different ways of using notes, my advice is to use them either for explanations or descriptions that digress from the body of your text; or for material that is actually a reference but that you cannot cite in the proper manner since some of the information that you need for a full bibliographical reference is missing. This is particularly valid in our field where many artworks will inevitably be exemplified, but where publication data that is needed for a full reference is not available unless there is an exhibition catalog that you can quote from. (Such as for example, page numbers).


How to find / How to read academic texts

The fifth week was spent by taking the subject material that one of you is working on and using this as an example for finding related material that can be used for a literature review. 

The one we picked was Ceren's investigation into Eisenman's holocaust memorial in Berlin. In her diagram Ceren has declared one of her nodes to be "storytelling," and so this was the keyword with which we hit google scholar. And sure enough, even the very first document that came our way proved to be a good one, held inquiries that were relevant to what Ceren actually wants to discuss.


A good question to ask___Why are you a creative practitioner?

At this juncture, while you are deliberating upon what your work is all about; a very good (if not indeed downright crucial) question is why you are doing what you are doing. Differently put - what is the burning query that you are seeking an answer to? Such a quest does not only cover one project, it is not even about any of your output in general - instead it is about "you," the person who makes the stuff.

So, ask yourself. And then write down the answer. Again - not in long winded, over-intellectualized terms - not as an abstraction; but as a very real, tangible state of mind or as a quest that can be phrased in simple, clear language. I have a sense that pinpointing this will help you enormously in situating your practice - without which I do not think that you can really write about what you do with sufficient authority.

The question (and the answer) may or may not appear in your paper. In fact, most probably it won't do so. So, this exercise is for yourself, to help you come to grips with why you do what you do - out of which will then come the content of your text, since this will be about one of the things that you have actually created as a result of this global mindset or quest, which is simmering in the background, throughout your psyche.


Taxonomies instead of (bisociative) diagrams

We spent the 4th class examining the diagrams that I had asked you to construct in a bisociative manner - in such a way that you brought the unrelated strands of your practice together. What has emerged instead is that most of you have constructed elaborate and massive taxonomies (classifications that are used for scientific purposes) in which you are bringing together material that in most cases is not at all bisociative, but quite the opposite: Since there is so much stuff on these lists, most of it inevitably ends up being highly inter-related - to the point where in many cases these are even alternative descriptions of the exact same thing. So, even if creating classifications is your aim, as taxonomies these lists are not working either, I'm afraid; given that many of your items are repetitions. (And a good definition of what a taxonomy is can be found here by the way.) 

Even those of you who did attempt to do a bisociative diagram got lost in generalizations, over-complicated language and abstractions whose meanings can be stretched in an untold number of ways. What is needed however is this folks:

Onions >>>  Guacamole  <<< Avocado. Onions and avocado did not belong together until someone got creative and put them both in the same bowl and came up with guacamole!

That simple! So, I would now like you to go back and look at the tangible components - such as the elements, materials, inspirations/influences and ideas - that constitute your creative practice. Do not go for abstractions, or generalizations, or long winded, over intellectualized explanations! Single words, if possible! And absolutely no need for hundreds of nodes and lengthy lists. Put your practice in the center, in place of where guacamole is in the above line. And then 2 strands that go into it is probably enough! 3 just maybe, 4 is already stretching it. But most certainly not lists of hundreds since these are bound to start making "bridges" - and at this stage this is something that I am trying to get you to avoid, so that we have clear trajectories for the upcoming literature review - out of which you will then in fact be creating your own original bridges...