Ethics, Æsthetics, Ecology, Education

What Is Creative Research?

The Response of Creative Research

Creative research is the name of an emerging field that seeks to develop new ways of understanding, situating, and reconfiguring knowledge in the telematic age.  Specifically, it is devoted to the rethinking and recalibration of unstable, fast-changing relations between machine-generated data and human experience, theory and practice, life and mind, the possible and the real, perception and intelligence, truth and falsity, time and judgment, medium and matter, process and end-driven behavior.  It addresses the challenge of living amid virtually infinite streams of information while lacking adequate means of arranging, patterning, and making meaning of this massive accumulation of data.  Almost every human endeavor at present, whether academic, entrepreneurial, or professional, is now dependent on research even as the old protocols for carrying out research as well as gauging its value and significance have become largely inoperative; in some cases, they have disappeared entirely.

The OICR was created to address these challenges.  Through intensive training in critique, critical theory, and research design and methods, students examine approaches, practices, and protocols inherent to various forms of research, qualitative and quantitative, in terms of their ideological and epistemological assumptions, attitudes, and contexts as well as their political and ethical trajectories.  They learn how to assess the research of others as well as design their own research, drawing upon a range of methods from statistics, field research, surveys, and interviews to observation, experience, and so-called intuition.  They rethink critical questions and ruling assumptions pertaining to capture, documentation, aggregation, scalability, iterability, applicability, knowability, relevance, prediction, consequence, ownership, falsifiability, truth, belief, and judgment, among others.

Cultural historians predict that within the next one to two decades, the number of individuals capable of thinking both critically and creatively and with historical and theoretical depth will diminish radically.  Projected top-jobs lists, accordingly, include “poet,” a reference to the rare individual capable of combining rigor, precision, and imagination.  The major goal of OICR is to train a critical body of thinkers and practitioners to address crucial questions in substantially new ways, switching back and forth between the analogue and the digital, the linear and the nonlinear, the visual and the textual, the past and the future.  Particular attention is paid to investigations of the role played by experiential knowledge and sense-based critique as a respected tradition and exacting practice.  We seek to forge a discipline that does for the new relations obtaining between words, images, and objects what rhetoric accomplished for language; to unify the major strands of critical theory, revivifying the tradition as a powerful tool of criticism, critique, and social justice; and to create new means for distinguishing truth and falsehood in the digital age.