Mapping the practice: Reimagining the creative process through the metaphor of the river

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Arts and Humanities




Stevenson, K.J. (2017). Mapping the practice: Reimagining the creative process through the metaphor of the river. In P. Burnard, V. Ross, H.J. Minors, K. Powell, T. Dragovic & E. Mackinlay (Eds.). Building intercultural and Interdisciplinary Bridges: Where Theory Meets Research and Practice. An open access e-book of selected articles from “BIBAC2016 International Conference. (pp.150-158). Cambridge, U.K.: BIBACC Publishing.


This paper introduces the qualitative doctoral study, ‘Creative River Journeys’, conducted by the author at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Western Australia. The study investigated case studies of six artist-researchers engaged in practice- led research in higher degrees at ECU. Central to the research was a data capture tool called the Creative River Journey, based on in-depth interviewing and visual mapping of an artist’s critical moments during their creative practice. A diagram or ‘map’ of practice was co-constructed with the research participant as part of the interview process, using the metaphor of a river. Mapping the creative process via the Creative River Journey identified critical moments concerning how the artist-researchers related to key concepts in practice-led research such as research, practice and theory. Using one of these cases as an exemplar, this paper explains the study in order to illustrate how the metaphor was co- constructed and the rich data that this mapping produced. This paper demonstrates the benefit of the Creative River Journey as part of a repertoire of emerging practice-led research methodologies for individual artist-researchers, including the usefulness of reflection in identifying critical moments in their practice-led research. For the purposes of this paper, the participant has been de-identified.

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