Research that connects people....

 

Here is what I think it will be one of my lifetime passion: connecting people.  

As one can imagine, throughout the endless reading in research I found out so many of the people I read for are connected to each other in one way or another... This is simply history or timeline of thoughts, individuals affecting other people thoughts, ideas are questioned, evaluated, and re-explored... 

At some point during my reading I felt the need to see this inter-connectivity... to comprehend the larger web of thoughts and how each unique individual participated in a collective knowledge that reached my hands today. 

gatekeepers -for blog 3of3.jpg

 

This was a part of an initial map to understand the first batch of scholars and writers who are one way or another connected to my research field, the field of Islamic design, art, and philosophy. Many of these reference are related to the perennial philosophy, metaphysical and cosmological dimensions in the traditional Islamic art... This is however one part of a larger context, and so I need to expand the map to include contemporary parties... 

 

 

So the map grew to include creative professionals, academic scholars and institutes or organizations who are participating in informing the face of Islamic creative expressions... Evidently, the need for color coding system and graphics started to emerge in order to create visually accessible data. I owe this developed part to two of the inspiring creatives I met; David McCandless, author of the famous "Information is Beautiful" and "Knowledge is Beautiful" and Ebrahim Nehme; Editor in Chief for the Outpost magazine. In their own unique ways, they allowed me to explore the possibility of disseminating my research knowledge to the wider audience using easy and communicative method: graphics. 

 

Ebrahim Nehme, for example, created a utopian city in one of The Outpost issues, offering the possibility of imagining "world makers" of the Arab world being connected... and seeing their achievements collectively to understand the larger change they contribute to. 

 

For my research, it felt frustrating to barely see a connection between academics and writers with designers and artists. Both contributing to the field in a different way, yet I feel there is an urging need to bridge their contributions together...  Although this may seem almost impossible to achieve, yet it can be considered part of an ongoing, project that is always evolving... 

 

Closer look into one group/ category of the larger map; the graphics are adapted from the "world makers"" map from The Outpost magazine for the purpose of creating the initial data and will later form its own graphical language.        

Closer look into one group/ category of the larger map; the graphics are adapted from the "world makers"" map from The Outpost magazine for the purpose of creating the initial data and will later form its own graphical language. 

 

 

How I knew how my brain works!

This relates to a previous post about the creative process I am following. I had to speak about the intangibility and the spherical approach creative individuals may have.... and how can that be reflected in academic research in art and design... 

It started with an epiphany inside London Tube.... 

Suddenly it was all clear to me...

 

So this was articulated through a map using the same graphical language of London Underground map... This has helped me a lot in demonstrating the multiple layers of the thinking process behind my research without flattening its complexity... 

The result is... 

P.S. Please check the post titled "Mind Maps and Process..." for more insights about how it started... 

Writing Retreat

Two months ago I participated in one of the most useful and creative workshops for academics... Dr. Helen Kara offered us a "writing retreat" through which we had hands-on exercises that helped us visualize the writing process. 

The exercises were creative in the sense that it made writing process - which seems usually frustrating - feels simple, and not as complicated as we usually feel. 

One of the exercises started with free writing of what we do, what we want to achieve and our daily "work ritual", then we cut off all the words we've written to make a short poem (or Haiku) out of them... 

After we were all done, Dr. Helen Kara pointed: "the pile of words that you haven't used are the amount of work/text you have, and the poem you made is your thesis!" 

Suddenly the amount of work was justified, yet it was necessarily to put it into perspective ever so creatively... ! 

Dr Helen Kara have many publications, as well as her own official website: 

https://helenkara.com

@drhelenkara

Another website recommended by her is The Thesis Whisperer: 

https://thesiswhisperer.com

 

 

 

Mind maps and process...

I have always admired London Underground System, and the way it connects the large city through intertwined lines, while the map is graphically illustrated to be easily accessed and comprehended by anyone, no matter where do they come from. Even though it is a complex map, anyone can know where to go and how to navigate through the city. 

This has been the main inspiration when I was asked to document my own creative process; I had to research about design thinking and process and what I found out is that while some people propose a linear approach in creativity, others suggested a more organic approach that is very personalized and can take different directions. What I found in London Tube Map is the closest system to what happens in my head; because one can linger on a thought for while, then wind up drifting to a completely new thought. So taking my practice-based research as "the city", I can take one "line of thoughts", move on, or step backward, or take a completely different thread. 

Later on I started challenging this system each time I started a project, and guess what, it works perfectly each time! So here I am again arguing that it could be used as a map to plan my practice-based research, considering that the research itself is a design project of its own. 

 

 

Mindmap Key: 

Yellow: literature review

Green: Methodology

Brown: Document-loo

Blue: Research Outcomes

 

From this map it began a fascination journey with creative process and how artists/ designers think. I feel that this will find its way to be evident throughout my research, and explore how I, among others, can work together in a creative project.