Loughborough University

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Drawing as a method of exploring and interpreting ordinary verbal interaction: an investigation through contemporary practice

posted on 2007-05-24, 15:07 authored by J. Saorsa
The primary research question for this project: whether drawing practice could be used as a method with which to explore and interpret ordinary verbal interaction, was derived from a philosophical concern as to the nature of the relation between our meaningful engagement with the art object, and our inherent predicament as human beings in a social world. The research was carried out in the manner of a reflexive exploration through drawing practice. Adhering to the principles of Grounded Theory, the research strategy was considered hermeneutic in that it was rooted in interpretative understanding. Series of drawings generated by the author were developed, as an integral part of the research process, from an initially creative and intuitive response to primary and secondary data: original conversations, audio recordings and written transcriptions respectively. The analysis constituted a continuous development of initial sketches, through tracings and overlayerings, to large-scale works. Linguistically orientated methodological approaches, derived primarily from the social sciences and including Content, Linguistic-Syntactic and Conversation analyses, were used continuously with the drawings in a comparative analysis procedure that explored equivalences between verbal and visual ‘texts’. The research culminated in a Pragmatic analysis of viewers’ responses to defined sets of drawings, demonstrating that far from being an isolated and subjective phenomenon, the experience of art could be understood in hermeneutic terms as a profound dialogical achievement, relative to the achievement that is definitive of a casual conversation. In accordance with the hermeneutic character of the process as a whole, reflexive content in the research was considered a crucial factor throughout the analysis and conclusions focussed on emotion, meaning and interpretation more than on cognitive research issues of artistry or perception. In terms of new knowledge, this project demonstrates a self-reflexive enquiry by means of drawing practice and its analysis as an original form of research. The potential for further work is consequently based on the development of the methodological approach in fields other that the fine arts, so that drawing practice, as well as fulfilling aesthetic ambitions and/or intentions, can also be considered a useful research tool.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • Arts

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Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. Illustrations are available on direct contact with the author: jacsoarsa@hotmail.com.

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  • en

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