barrettEstelle Barrett, Keynote Speaker



Estelle Barrett is amongst Australia’s most eminent experts on artistic research. Her 2007 co-edited volume, Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, has been one of the most influential international publications in developing and articulating a paradigm of artistic research and its pedagogical issues. 

Barrett’s broad ranging expertise encompasses contemporary critical theory, psychoanalytical theory, trauma studies and new materialisms. Her monograph, Kristeva Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (2011), brought these discourses into dialogue to offer ‘a significant contribution to the extensive body of literature on Kristeva and aesthetics, and to the discussion over the space of the arts within contemporary societies.’ In addition to her monograph, numerous book chapters and journal articles, Barrett has published three co-edited books. Currently, Barrett is a team member of the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching's funded project, Developing New Approaches to Ethics and Research Integrity Training Through Challenges Posed by Creative Practice Research.

Since 2013 Barrett has been Professor of Research and HDR Coordinator at the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) at Deakin University. In this role, she has worked with Indigenous Australian researchers to develop a research training pedagogy using relational methodologies built on Indigenous epistemologies that articulate the ethics and protocols for conducting intercultural and Indigenous research.


Disruptive and Disrupting Paradigms: Artistic Practice and Indigenous Epistemologies as Research


Key Words: Creative arts research, Indigenous knowledge systems, paradigms, refutation, resistance, interpolation, relationality.





In this paper, I will extend my previous accounts of creative practice-based research

(Barrett and Bolt 2007) by drawing on the work of Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper and other philosophers of science to suggest that transgression, resistance and revolution are necessary ingredients of progress in spite of the disciplinary constraints exerted by traditional knowledge systems and paradigms. I will discuss the specific features of artistic research conducted by artist practitioners, and Indigenous research founded on Indigenous epistemologies that challenge many assumptions fundamental to science and more established approaches to research and will extend this to a consideration of the similarities and differences between the two paradigms.


I argue that creative arts research and Indigenous research employ transversal approaches that can inform traditional paradigms and shift understandings of the way in which knowledge emerges and functions. Despite having some affinities with other qualitative approaches, these aesthetic modes of cultural production are built on fundamentally disruptive differences that can be conceptualized through the notions of “interpolation”, “relationality” and the New Materialist conception of intra-action. As such, they permit a refiguring of basic ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions of conventional approaches to research.


In the final part of this paper, I will draw on specific examples of research from these two fields in order to illustrate how they operate as subjective, emergent and intuitive modes of knowledge production, and to demonstrate the importance and value of positioning both paradigms more firmly within the broader arena of research.