NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education


In ‘The long and winding road’ (NiTRO, Edition 20, 2019), Professor Carol Gray offers up

‘an alternative way of considering the role of artefacts / creative works in a doctoral submission, by offering the liberating concept of ‘epistemic objects’ – their possible forms and agencies, and the alternative display/sharing of the understandings generated from these through ‘exposition’ not exhibition’.

‘The sociologist Karen Knorr-Cetina (2001) articulates ‘epistemic objects’ as being characterised by the ambivalence of their ontological status as knowledge bearers, being both stable and mutable at the same time. They are stable in the sense that they comprise what the inquirer currently knows so far; and mutable in the sense that they are incomplete and ‘open’, allowing for further exploration by the creator and/or others towards new knowledge making… We identified some useful studies of the roles and agencies of ‘epistemic objects’ in architectural knowledge practices in design (Ewenstein & Whyte, 2009), in engineering and design education (Richter & Allert, 2011), and artistic practices (Borgdorff, 2012). In this sense artefacts generated in the process of creative inquiry need not be resolved ‘signature works’ rather they have an openness, giving the epistemic object a ‘capacity to unfold indefinitely’ (Knorr-Cetina, 2001).’

I recommend you see how Gray and colleagues handle these ideas in their article:

Gray, C., Malins, J., & Bristow, M. (2018). The ‘Epistemic Object’ in the Creative Process of Doctoral Inquiry. In R.W. Prior (Ed.), Using Art as Research in Learning and Teaching: Multidisciplinary
Approaches Across the Arts.


More from this issue

More from this issue

BY SMILJANA GLISOVIC — With the first edition for the year we’re going into the NiTRO archives to trace how some of the key concerns of the last 12 months have developed since the start of the DDCA publication.
BY NATALIE KRIKOWA — This research critically examines the evolution of queer representation in screen media and interrogates whether meaningful progress has been made.