This Creative Practice Primer documents the activities that took place during the Experimental Research Network’s residential workshop, Working creatively with sound and image, at Dundee Contemporary Arts in November 2010.

During the workshop, 10 UK-based social science and arts researchers spent a week experimenting collaboratively with audio, visual and site-specific creative methods. We wanted to explore how such methods might be used to enrich and enliven our research.

We share the documentation of the workshop not as a set of research products, but rather as records of processes and practices. Our hope is that the Primer will be a source of ideas, inspiration and practical suggestions for other researchers wishing to experiment with creative methods of enquiry.

We are aware that terms such as ‘experimental’ and ‘creative’ are contentious. It could be argued that traditional research methods can be used creatively, and that what we present here is only ‘creative’ and ‘experimental’ in relation to norms within certain academic disciplines. The Primer is also dominated by work with digital media of various kinds; clearly ‘creativity’ does not depend on such technologies, and our use of them may owe as much to the current technological, social and economic context as it does to our collective sense of creativity. Nevertheless, we think that the Primer goes some way to sketching various (partial, speculative, not-fully-worked-out) possibilities for making research more diverse, playful, multi-sensorial and multi-modal.

Should you find this primer useful for your own work – or if you have any other comments – we would love to hear from you. You can use our contact form to get in touch.

Creative Practice Primer Pages


During the workshop, participants worked collaboratively on small research projects exploring Dundee and the local area. These were intended as vehicles for methodological experimentation; pilot projects rather than substantive pieces of empirical work. In many cases, the projects linked up and crossed over with one another owing to the collaborative nature of the workshop.

A Walk Through the City
Documentation as Creative Practice
Dundee Transect
Interactive Walks
Postcolonial Encounters
Resonances and Glimpses – Connections and Reflections
Roads and Pictures

Techniques and technologies

These pages document some of the practicalities of the methods and equipment used during the week. They are personal accounts of participants’ skills and kit lists rather than general ‘how to’ guides.

Choosing a camera for video and stills
Contact microphones
Field recording 1: overview and technology
Field recording 2: technique and examples
GPS-enabled PDA
Sound collage and synthesised soundscapes
Still photography in low-light situations with a digital SLR camera
Working with polyphony in field recordings


These pages present personal reflections on the workshop – and the process of collaborative experimentation – from individual participants.

Inês Amado
Jessica Jacobs
Bradley L. Garrett

Workshop attendees

Inês Amado
Jackie Calderwood
Tom Croll-Knight
Michael Gallagher
Bradley L. Garrett
Jessica Jacobs
Jonathan Prior
Brian Rosa
Jennifer Rich
Amanda Thomson


The workshop and this Primer were generously funded by a Vitae Innovate award

Creative Commons License
Unless otherwise stated, the contents of the Creative Practice Primer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.