Central to PAR is a relatively short and reiterative cycle of observation, analysis and action. It employs a set of ongoing inquiries – for oneself, personally; for the group setting which is at the centre of that piece of PAR and the wider context. So, at any time, many questions are being asked. The course I went to over the weekend was Part 1 in Group Facilitation run by the Business and Management School at Bath University.
As part of the weekend, we were early on asked to formulate such inquiry for ourselves. It’s a different take on asking about participants’ expectations for a course. But, formulating it as a personal inquiry is more specific as it:
- Has to be compelling
- Needs to energise you
- Makes you want to answer it
- Leads you into the unknown.
I think this goes for any piece of (social science) research but also for fine art pieces, doesn’t it?
Learning, however, really only happens outwith that comfort zone: when stuff is difficult, when it’s something new, unknown, experimental and a bit scary.
So: the unknown bit is crucial.
Part one on learning and creativity is thus about asking compelling questions: What is the stuff I want to find out more about? Get to know? Try out?
For pretty much any of my paintings, there were questions like this… some more compelling than others: how can I work with light? How can I include those fabulous clouds? Some were plain daft questions: when will cartridge paper dissolve?
If those questions weren’t there, I end up with pieces that clearly didn’t rock me; were so/so; quite ok but really rather lukewarm.