Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Creative Fellowship Programme 2020/21: "An Art Practice Predicated on the Unknowable"

‘"An Art Practice Predicated on the Unknowable" – Using Poetry to Disrupt and Expand our Ideas about Knowledge’

In ‘“An art practice predicated on the unknowable” – Using Poetry to Disrupt and Expand our ideas about Knowledge’, experimental poet Dr Mariah Whelan will work with students and academics at The Institute of Advanced Studies to explore how poetry writing methodologies can intervene in and disrupt our ideas about what knowledge is and how we produce it in academic contexts.

In the Humanities and Social Sciences, ‘not knowing’ is often seen as the catalyst for research activity. It precipitates the thought, experiment and analysis that transforms an absence of knowing into knowledge that fills this ‘gap’. Over the course of the Fellowship, Dr Whelan will ask what new forms of knowing we might discover if we bring academic practice into dialogue with the unknowability of poetry. Connecting with academics and students, the project will explore poetry as a set of dynamic practices of reading, feeling, thinking and writing. Dr Whelan will guide project participants through a process of experimentation with using poetry-writing methods to think about the embodied experience of research, exploring knowledge as an ongoing conversation between ourselves, our bodies and the world. The project will also explore how this notion of knowledge as a ‘conversation’ might be used to precipitate ethical decision making, experimenting with using creative practice to imagine better futures for ourselves as individuals and as communities.

Through a series of collaborative poetry workshops that explore the intersection of text, image and object, participants will use creative approaches to formulate and explore novel research ‘questions’. These workshops will then provide the raw material for an online poetry installation. The installation will consist of a ‘playable’ website where visitors can have interactive encounters with text, images and sound produced in the workshops and from Dr Whelan’s own independent creative responses.

Please find out more on Dr Whelan's website and follow her on Twitter.

Images of previous works by Dr Mariah Whelan: