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The Artist Researcher Garden

A begginers path towards growing satisfying creative self directed research projects

1. Introduction to Fruitful Research 🍅
thanks to Hypebae

Why dont you slide into your crocs and have a look through this green patch, after a while you will lean into your own processes and grow confident with them 😊✊👍

Images of contemporary artists engaged in gardens thanks to

🙄 research makes you feel like this ?

🥳 wander into your garden : your research will flourish 🌸🌿

Garden Hints - How to grow your tasty tomato 🍅🍅

We use the of research as gardening

From planting a seed to harvesting

This page supports your needs by helping you ...

find research seeds, plant them and grow them
sit in the garden-the power feed that is reflection
enjoy a variety of ways to prune and fertilise ideas


2. Gathering -Divergent Processes 🧩

Divergent processes : find research seeds, plant them and grow them
Divergent processes help grow an idea

Build a trellis : make a mind map : ideate !

Map your current thinking - leave room for growth
Try paper and pencil - make it fast or slow - branch out - let ideas grow
Go back over to use colour for seeing patterns and similar ideas
Naming patterns or groups of ideas produces - try for 5 keywords to start
Here is a video on brainstorming in a group. you can also do this on your own.
your mind map can be messy. messy is great especially as you start to make links on the page


Find and Plant Keywords

Reflect on the mind map and develop keywords that sum up your project - these become seeds that you can use to grow your research
One example of a search Oppression + Flag + Contemporary art brings you here (use the image search 😉)
Answer the questions: What is my project about? What techniques/ processes am I interested in ? Who/what am I looking at in this project? Who is talking or making about these ideas ? Whats the historical background? What do other cultures think?
of your keywords

I need to search for references for my ideas - how and who?

If you are working on a creative project ; find three artists who use strategies and approaches you admire, collect images and reference details of their work - if you can find an artist statement or some writing about the work - this is helpful - aim for contemporary artists then also look back in time - or work the other way around what ever suits you.

Into the Virtual garden - Online Searching

google search using your keywords
try a keyword + your discipline name ( art + bananas )
Try two keywords together (bananas + sculpture)
Use the time tools - search for the latest information to see what is hot right now - what is growing fast ? ! ( Since 2019 might be a good time limit on a search)
google image search is a brilliant way of walking towards your garden
Here is a little more info on cool tips for google searching
Dont forget sound references - try this sound chat based on gardens and painting : are great to listen to while feeding your garden 🌸😉

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Established Gardeners - the library search

We are using University of Sydney as our guide - all Universities offer this support
look at the library as a place of discovery - visit when you are relaxed - wander around 😎
has many books and places to relax
The secret image library - -
- they are friendly and here to help
The library can help with

Avoiding overwatering : find just enough information on a topic in a book or journal

Read the packet - look at the contents of the book - anything that matches your keywords
Read the introduction first paragraph - scan for keywords - if interesting read on - this is where the book is summarised
Read the conclusion - if you are looking at an article - a journal essay - look at the final parapgraph - does the conclusion relate to your keywords or topics of interest ?
Check the references or bibliography for keywords

Out the front gate : discovery on foot - looking over the fence

collect images on your camera or draw or paint
- walk in the neighbourhood city or non urban area
Go beyond the expected galleries and museums this project by Marta Ferracin

Back Garden - generating ideas by hand

draw or doodle aimlessly - tap into how you make lines - marks
make a paper model - make a garden of models - quick - playful 3d forms can trigger your imagination
draw a diagram or sketch of what your project will explore
making with card is also useful as you can work from 2d to 3d with ease

Talking to other gardeners

how to find out what other ‘gardeners’ think about your garden
Friends Don't underestimate the power of connecting to your friends about your ideas they might have some gardening tips you haven't heard of yet :-)
Some of the smartest students always ask for feedback from the teacher… Teachers can useful expert gardeners - they are waiting for your questions - email them they also like to hear about your ideas.
Sometimes your household might have some ideas about your project use them as your brains trust
- but be careful to not identify yourself - or use open response questions unless you are ok with ‘any’ feedback - anonymous responses can be varied and not always positive


3. Shoots Form - Reflection processes🤔

Reflection Processes : Sitting in the garden - the power feed

Build a padlet or use to map ideas and images and keep files handy for other assignments and projects
Aristotle and others who practice building skills and understanding talk about the importancentance of taking a break - to lean back - sit in the garden and take in what is growing and how it is growing - what is thriving ? What needs pruning?
Looking at feedback from last project - what is going to be cool to keep in the garden - what is ready for composting ?!
Reflecting on feedback is like an all on one fertiliser + weed removal
A Digital Sabbath is the practice of unplugging from all technology for one day per week, with the aim of increasing social connectedness and mitigating stress and burnout by decreasing our overuse of technology.

4. Pruning - Convergent Processes ✂️

Enjoy a variety of ways to prune and fertilise ideas

Understanding convergent processes... ...Once a sufficient number of ideas have been explored, convergent thinking can be used. Knowledge, logic, probabilities and other decision-making strategies are taken into consideration as the solutions are evaluated individually in a search for a single best answer which when reached is unambiguous.
After a little reflection - you can work out what is the most important part of this research for you
What is impossible to leave out ?
Inital drafts can include material that repeats unnecessary
Have a look at this page on
Testing ideas now involves more iteration
Testing or drafting ideas involves trial and error
First go rarely works - expect to take time and reflection - in an out - lean in an out to reflect on how is its going.
An image, table or diagram might make things clearer?

Pruning Camellia
Natural mineral pigment, Gold leaf on Japanese paper
27.3 x 22 cm

5. Credits

Image credit for header on site Helena Jaramillo
Most credits are on the same page as the image or link
Please report broken links to Jane in comments
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