“Studio Diary” Research Idea

Following my initial reading on “the studio”, I am interested in learning more about what goes on in and around the studio aside from art-making. As the studio could be characterized as a place where work is conceived, it stands to reason that all of the activities which take place within the studio could be said to have some kind of influence over any work that is produced. This notion is especially interesting when we consider the contemporary phenomenon of the “dispersed” or “networked” studio, in which art-making takes place across a web of different sites and relationships, with no one site acting as the “crucible” of production. Thus in the contemporary context, it is increasingly difficult to separate art-making activities from non-art-making activities.

Coincidentally, I have recently moved into a shared studio space in Leith with several of my peers, after working primarily in a small box room at home for the previous two years. I feel like this move to a more conventional “studio” setup might present an opportunity for me to undertake some [auto]ethnographic research into the activities of the studio, perhaps comparing the new context of the Leith studio to that of my already established domestic working space.

This research could take a number of different forms, though at the moment my main idea is to generate field notes based on observing the activities and processes occurring within each site. These notes could then be compared, and this in turn might shed some light onto the dynamics of the domestic vs. the “separate” studio environment.

My field notes/observations would be concerned mainly with those activities that appear to be unrelated, or only loosely related, to “art-making” – for example, conversations, errands, visits, maintenance, rest, refreshment, cleaning, finance, travel, and so on. These would appear to be activities that lie outside of “intentional” art-making, but which nevertheless must surely influence the overall environment, interactions, relationships and output arising from each studio site.

By mapping these various activities and interactions, it may be possible to sketch an image of the “ideal” studio or working environment – whether that be domestic, external, or something else. Additionally, by mapping these characteristics I may be able to discover what “gaps” or problems exist in the typical studio setup, and perhaps even seek to “fill” those gaps.

While just an idea at this stage, I feel like this could at least form part of may overall project, and I will try to develop the idea as my research progresses.

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