Jen Southern is an artist and Ph.D. student at the Centre for Mobilties Research at Lancaster University. She is currently a Research Associate on the Catalyst Project www.catalystproject.org.uk. Her independent research is a combination of participatory locative arts, the sociology of mobilities and speculative software design (www.theportable.tv / www.satellitebureau.net).
Creative practice as mobile method
Mobilities scholars have more recently described the ways that artists address and contribute to the development of mobile and locative technologies, offering different perspectives on mobility.
This paper proposes a role for art practice not only alongside the sociology of mobilities, but as methodological innovation within the discipline and asks what productive synergies can be produced by working between art and sociology. In the context of my practice as an artist I briefly describe two projects: the #Patchworks project that took place within Catalyst, an interdisciplinary research project that brings together academics from social science, computing, design, art and management science to carry out research on citizen-led digital social innovation at Lancaster University, and a series of Skype meetings and workshops between the mobile media centre in Montreal and the Mobilities lab in Lancaster.
The paper outlines the benefits and problems of using creative method to engaging participants, composition as a method of analyzing data, and art work as a form of publication.