The Tent I – Research Proposal

Picture credit: Helen Orr. 

The Tent research will address how site, an object and relationships open up collaborative tasks and dialogues in the forms of material art-making and immaterial products. The Tent intends to investigate an experimental space (a humanitarian aid tent), and a participatory art provocation, with local peoples and local issues.

For this research proposal, I would like to build on the previous project ‘Our Tent/My Pitch’. In 2013, I was a Professional Experience teaching intern with Daphne Flax, and together we facilitated the Masada College senior students towards original, contemporary art making in new ways. This became The Tent experience. The five metre (diameter), cream, blank canvas, tent was enabled by a UNSW / COFA Special Project Grant.

My goal is to extend this concept into public space, to research what and how creativity, relationships and art are produced, in a particular site. This is in order to open up channels of dialogue, understanding and creative solutions. Hence, The Tent, I.

A crucial element of this work is to gain similar experience to that which Green (2001) outlines, whereby “…artists found collaboration and other, modified types of authorship necessary to answer pressing questions facing contemporary art” (p. xi). Indeed, “pressing questions” also face contemporary society, including Australia’s cosmopolitan society. There is a particular need for appropriate and meaningful engagement with opportunities for public creatorship of ‘site-product’, as these are few. Evidence of this public creatorship will be captured through art made in response to, and as an experience with, The Tent. This evidence will also be caught in documented forms through video, photos and an online space. In this way, evidence of dialogues and co-creatorship will be published and made freely available. My role as researcher will be to enable this public art work, as a kind of production manager. I will facilitate and enable the work – such as ensuring materials are available to work with. I am aware that my choices and selections may perform curatorial functions, which may taint a purist objective of presenting a ‘voice/work of the people’. Additionally, a critical written and visual analysis of the project will be submitted. It is intended that The Tent be iterative research: what is observed and learnt from people, and from one phase to another of this project, will inform and frame further investigations.

Please note: Pictures by Helen Orr. News Corp Australia. From

Picture: Helen Orr.

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