Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
Theme: Art as Communication: The Impact of Art as a Catalyst for Social Change, 2019

Organisational Encounters And Speculative Weavings: A Reflexive Research Enquiry

Arts in Society

This performative presentation is an invitation to engage with – and reflect through – material gathered as part of a practice-based Ph.D., in which I use art-making as a reflexive tool to critically explore and examine less visible aspects of organisational life. Drawing on my background in art psychotherapy and conceptualising my research as a ‘speculative weaving’, I follow the complex layers, intertwining threads, and reflexive dialogues woven in response to my encounters with – and experiences in and of – a community-based stroke rehabilitation centre, in the context of an academic research enquiry. The gestural, performative, and constructed nature of weaving offers rich metaphorical and textual material for exploring tensions, resistances, and complex personal, social, and political entanglements as I weave the work through different institutional spaces.

Responding with an authentic, open, and ethical attitude toward the organisational ‘other’, demands a slow, unhurried, attentive approach that may challenge and frustrate institutional practices in healthcare and academia – through its emphasis on the performing and experiencing of something, rather than outcome. Insights are speculative – resisting a fixed or stable position. However, certain threads are becoming evident through the art-making process and the dynamic interplay between myself, the institution(s) I am immersed in, the emerging body of artwork, and the audience. These draw attention to processes of care – care for and of the body – in turn raising ethical questions concerning our humanness and how the physical, psychological, and material body is valued and cared for – received, handled, supported, responded to, and treated in different institutional contexts.