In a recent essay Conversational Research: Praxis & Emergence, the curator Taarati Taiaroa describes a process that he undertook with others 'as a means to reframe the curatorial process to have human relations—people—at its centre' (Taiaroa, 2016). Through this process they developed a series of 'principles' of conversational research, which I will include here in full because these fit well with the relational methodology described in a previous entry.
'Principles for Conversational Research:
● To practice conversational research is to challenge oneself through an engagement with others.● Conversational research is a process that places emphasis on engaging in an on-going and potentially immeasurable relational commitment. It requires a commitment to the facilitation and maintenance of kinship—human relations.1● Conversational research does not have a deadline, although it can have breaks.● Geared towards a deceleration of outcomes, conversational research is a conscious decision to engage dialogically as a means to facilitate the emergence of knowledge, as opposed to focusing on the production of a predetermined outcome.● Conversational research can be haptic and/or silent.● Conversational research aims to slow down processes in order not to prejudge the outcomes of conversations, or even pre-empt them, but to be open to the emergence of gesture and/or collaboration.● Conversational research is collaborative, informal and flexible.2● Conversational research is a process that embraces contingency and uncertainty, aiming not to be limited by preconceived expectations or measures of success.● In the context of conversational research it is the duty of the curator to support the artist’s ideas, be informed about their complexities and attempt to construct a safe framework for the artist to produce their work or express themselves.● In the context of conversational research it is not the role of the curator to ask the artist to change their work towards a desired outcome.● Conversational research requires benevolence and kindness; however, it is not altruistic. Self-care is important.● All active participants in the conversation have the ability to voice their opinion and exercise the ‘Law of Two Feet’:3 to move to a space in which they feel they can contribute or learn, or to walk away from the conversation when it feels inappropriate or unsafe.● With permission from the collaborators the conversation can be opened up for advice and appropriate council, which has the potential to provide collective permission or possible embargo.● Conversational research can result in slippery authorship.● Conversational research resists the assumption that there is a designated ‘public’ or that conversational research needs to be broadcast to be valid as an outcome.● Conversational research accepts the need for public accountability and the need to support and encourage critical dialogue.● Throughout the conversational research process it is important that collaborators are exhibitors (that they are represented on their own terms) as opposed to exhibits of a curatorial process.● The question of how, what and to whom a conversation is made public is something to be determined in conversation with collaborators and must emerge through the process itself.'
Taiaroa, T. 2016, Conversational Research: Praxis & Emergence in Rebecca Boswell, Chloe Geoghegan & Balamohan Shingade (eds) A Year of Conscious Practice, 2016, Aotearoa, New Zealand: The Physics Room [Online} available at http://www.ayearofconsciouspractice.com/ [accessed January 2017].
References from the text -
1. S. Walker, A. Eketone and A. Gibbs, ‘An Exploration of Kaupapa Māori Research its Principles, Processes and Applications’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology 9, no. 4 (2006): 334.
2. M. Kovach, ‘Conversational Method in Indigenous Research’, First Peoples Child & Family Review 5, no. 1 (2010): 44.
3. A. Stadler, ‘Doing An Open Space: A Two Page Primer’, Open Space World, (n.d.).available at http://openspaceworld.org/files/tmnfiles/2pageos.htm