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Ravetz, A., Gregory, H., 2018.

Black gold: trustworthiness in artistic research (seen from the sidelines of arts and health)

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Volume/Issue:3-4 (43)
Pagination:pp. 348-371

Rigour plays a central role in contemporary research culture. But how appropriate a concept is it to think, perform, and make judgements with on what is trustworthy and excellent in artistic research and its neighbouring field of arts and health?
The historical meanings of rigour suggest severity and rigidity: straight lines, austere habits, privations. As a word, rigour has a mixed ancestry - French, Latin, Middle English. Some of its earliest uses coincide with a feudal system of government in Europe, with rigge [verb] meaning to plough a straight line in a narrow strip, and rig [verb] to provide a straight ridge to a house. Rig [noun] a derivation of ridge, was used in England five hundred years ago of human and animal backbones, perhaps reflecting everyday physical burdens. Rigours [noun] conveyed the meting out of un-cautioned punishments and cruelty.
While the temperament of rigour might be appropriate for research that follows pre-set norms and standards of repeatability, its use to judge what is trustworthy in artistic research is questionable. Though artistic researchers need to understand the rigour concept, by contrast, artistic research as a kind of 'thinking through making' (Ravetz, 2011, 159; Ingold, 2013, 6), places value on improvisation, chance encounter, unforeseen admixture and the in- and outward- folding of process, affect and material. Once it is accepted that poiesis is part of the research process (Ingold, 2013; Haraway, 2016), it becomes apparent that artistic research cannot easily accommodate straight backed rigour.