Organisational Encounters and Reflexive Undergoings: A Speculative Weaving in Three Transpositions

Assembling threads from psychoanalysis, art (psycho)therapy, and the arts in an interdisciplinary project, I (re)examine the psycho-social role of reflexive art practice in honing sensitivity to the affective dimensions of human situations and experience.

Conceptualised as a process of speculative weaving in/through three transpositions, my research follows the intertwining dialogues and entanglements as I traverse institutional boundaries in healthcare and academia, unmaking, making, and remaking a body of work.

In the first transposition, I cross disciplinary boundaries, unmaking previous practices to open spaces for learning through experience. In the second transposition, I assemble frames through which to observe and experience a healthcare setting and myself therein. Weaving in approaches from psychoanalysis and art (psycho)therapy I move attention to the site of making as a multi-layered response to the research situation. In the third transposition, I remake the residual ‘body’ of work – deepening my understanding of it as I (re)situate, (re)present, and (re)perform it in settings that bridge art, healthcare, and academia. Challenging traditional relations between researcher and researched, I amplify the psycho-social presence of the ‘body’ as different audiences are implicated in the meaning-making process through receiving, handling, and response.

Viewed as a space for imaginative encounter and performative enactment, emergent threads indicate the speculative, entangled, and affective nature of the research process, and an ethics of responsibility, attention, and care for/of the body. Understanding emerges through the transpositional work of moving, (re)assembling, and (re)configuring diverse practices and materials, the interweaving of dialogues, and the negotiation of tensions and resistances encountered at the borders between domains. While ‘things’ are made and documented along the way, the emphasis moves to making as undergoing – conceptualised as a process of ‘speculative weaving’. Implicit in this process is ‘time’ and a capacity to endure and sustain the slow, messy, material, affective, and emotional ‘work’ bound into unmaking, making, and remaking, through which insights are gained. Claiming a position in the broad area of reflective practice(s) the ‘work’ of art amplifies both the significance of ‘transference’ as a method of reflexive enquiry, and the voices of ambivalence and embarrassment which resist moves towards exclusivity, absolutes, and certainties, and foreground the tensions arising in the spaces between disciplines.

As a site for reflexivity through which one may be pressed to notice and feel more acutely, the research value lies in the capacity of this method to embrace complex relationalities, engage our imaginative, emotional, and ethical sensibilities, and affectively (re)sensitise practitioners and researchers across arts and/in healthcare and the humanities in ways that may not emerge through more traditional approaches to reflective/reflexive practice(s).