Creative Collaborations: a workshop with Paul Carter and Estelle Barrett

Friday 18 September 2009
Deakin University, Burwood

A report of this event is available

Postgraduate students and Early Career Researchers working in the broad area of creative research are warmly invited to apply to attend Creative Collaborations, a one-day workshop with Paul Carter (independent scholar and creative director of ‘Material Thinking’ creative research studio) and Estelle Barrett (Assoc. Prof. in Art Theory, Media and Communication, Deakin University).

‘Creative Collaborations’ offers an opportunity for participants to explore a range of themes related to the roles of creativity, creative practice and collaboration as they occur both inside and outside the academy. The workshop will address questions such as:

Following an inclusive group session in the morning, Paul Carter and Estelle Barrett will each convene a discussion session: one focused on the role of creative methods in cultural research projects, and the other on the application of creative (or practice-based) research in cross-disciplinary academic and industry-based projects. Participants should come ready to talk about their own creative research projects, and to take part in lively discussion and group work.

A maximum of 12 participants will be chosen via competitive application, and a limited number of bursaries covering travel and accommodation expenses will be available to support applicants from interstate. The workshop will be free of charge to successful applicants, and will include lunch and morning/afternoon tea.

To apply, please send a short (two page) CV accompanied by a 300 word introductory statement explaining your current research and your interest in the workshop. Applications must be received by Friday 10 July 2009.

For further information and to lodge your application, write to Dr Emily Potter:


Higher degrees by creative works are now an established mode of research in the academy, while scholars working in the fields of creative practice – challenged by the recent RQF and ERA – are developing strategies that enable creative practice to be ‘counted’ in terms of academic output. Despite this, in very real ways, the relation between creativity, creative practice and research, remains ambiguous and invites interrogation – there is a need to critically think through the parameters set in place by institutional definitions of creative practice and its relation to theoretical work. More broadly, how can we understand creativity in terms of cultural research? This question invites reflection on the intersections of creative practice and cultural research, in terms of creative methodologies, interdisciplinary collaborations, and creative or practice-based research, which refers to the location of theoretical work within creative projects.

Specifically, this one-day workshop will focus on two key concerns that emerge from thinking about the creativity/cultural research nexus: the possibilities and limitations of utilising creative methods in cultural research projects; and the potential scope of creative research (or practice-based research) as a research practice that can be put to work in collaborative, interdisciplinary, and industry-related projects. This range of issues – the role of creativity in research, the capacity of research to intersect with creative endeavours, and the interdisciplinary collaborative capacity of creative practice – are subtly distinct while nonetheless related. This workshop provides an opportunity for postgraduates and early-career researchers to explore these concerns from their own research/practice context.

About the convenors:

Estelle Barrett teaches Art Theory and Media and Communication at Deakin University where she is Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Creative Arts. She taught Communications and Cultural Studies in Western Australia for many years before completing a PhD entitled ‘Art and Subjectivity’. She is an art writer, reviewer and curator and is also interested in fiction writing. Her research interests include psychoanalysis, feminist theory and practice, notions of embodiment tacit or non-discursive domains of meaning, the role of affect in creative practices and word/image relationships. These interests have informed more recent publications on practice-led research. She is the editor (with Barbara Bolt) of Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry (2007). She is currently investigating embodiment, aesthetics and materiality in meaning-making and the production of knowledge, completing a book on Julia Kristeva and the relevance of her work for the production and reception of art entitled Kristeva Reframed (forthcoming 2009), and co-editing (with Barbara Bolt) a new essay collection, Carnal Knowledge: Towards a “New Materialism” in the Arts (forthcoming 2009).

Paul Carter (MA Oxon, D Litt Melb) is Creative Director of Material Thinking. He is well-known internationally for such books as Parrot (2006), Material Thinking (2004), The Lie of the Land (1996), and The Road to Botany Bay (1987). His latest book, Dark Writing (2009), explores the nexus between spatial history and placemaking theory and practice. He collaborates with graphic artists, performers, architects and landscape designers and has received many national and state awards. Recent clients include: Olympic Co-ordination Authority, Lend Lease, John Wardle Architects, Taylor, Cullity & Lethlean, Federation Square Public Art Program, Sydney University 2010 Program, Liverpool Capital of Culture Festival and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Paul holds honorary professorships at the University of Melbourne, RMIT (Melbourne) and the University of Queensland. In 2006 he was George Simpson Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Emily Potter is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University. She has a PhD in English Literature and a background in interdisciplinary research concerning creative arts practice, environmental and sustainability theory and cultural studies. Her postdoctoral project at the University of Melbourne was a collaborative project of creative research (with Paul Carter) that explored the role of poetic practice for sustainable place-making, particularly in drought-affected environments. Her research has been published in a range of Australian and international journals including Continuum, Media International Australia, Australian Humanities Review, Cultural Studies Review and Antipodes. In 2007 she co-edited a collection of writings on water cultures and communities, Fresh Water: New Perspectives on Water in Australia (MUP).

Getting to Deakin, Melbourne Campus at Burwood

By tram
Route 75 (City to Vermont South)
NB: Zone 1 & 2 ticket required
Other public transport options can be found at:

By car
Melways Reference: Map 61 B5 (detailed Campus maps are on pages 477 and 478)

Information about parking for visitors can be found at:


Creative Collaborations was a one-day workshop for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers held at Deakin University, Burwood, on Friday 18 September 2009. A group of fourteen participants—from fields including creative writing, theatre, dance, visual art, graphic design, community arts, and policy studies, and from universities across Australia—gathered to investigate a range of concerns that are key to the practice of creative research in the university.

Under the guidance of Paul Carter, Professor of Creative Research, Deakin University, the group was asked to think of the ‘place they’d like to be’ in the morning session; through this imaginative exercise, Carter enabled participants to think about what sorts of unique knowledge their creative practice can bring to ‘real world’ problems. In the afternoon, Estelle Barrett, Assoc. Prof. in Art Theory, Media and Communication, Deakin University, asked participants to turn the gaze onto their own creative practice, and consider how their creativity operates as a research methodology.

This was the first CRN event to focus on creative, or ‘practice-led’, research, and was a timely intervention in a range of debates surrounding the location of artistic practice in the University, when higher degrees by creative works are becoming well-established in the academy at the same time as creative work finds itself in an ambiguous position in terms of institutionally defined ‘research output’.