Circle 7: The experiential in artistic practice and research: methods, knowledges and reflective processes

About the study circle

The new iteration of Circle 7 will consist of a series of symposia, which will aim to create opportunities to explore plurality of experiences through art practice and to gather methodological abundance by investigating practice-based methods and research strategies. This will be done through questioning and evaluating the experiential as a form of artistic reflection and a means to move the practice forwards.

Taking the questions How do knowledges emerge in artistic research practices through the experiential? and What kind of knowledges are they? as a starting point, this study circle will provide opportunities for investigating and experiencing other forms of knowledge through building trust in imagination, intuition and working-with others in the artistic practice process. 

The focus of this three year cycle is the investigation of the methods, knowledges and reflective processes involved in artistic practice research in a collective effort to explore and articulate how, in artistic research, experience informs experience and the experiential changes the researcher and the practice as it unfolds. Experience is what different disciplines of artistic research have in common, as Mika Hannula states, ‘artistic research is a way in which experience reflectively changes itself’ (Hannula et al, 2005, p. 39). As such, it is different from other types of research as it merges subject, researcher and process in the experiential as a way of advancing practice. 

Proposed Structural overview:

1.  Experiential Artistic Processes as Research (I)

 Winter meeting 2022 (place TBC)

In this initial session we will establish the methods for investigating and gathering the experiences. 

2. Experiencing Artistic Research Through the Senses

Summer meeting 2022 (Place TBC)

Investigating phenomenology (empirical research, direct experience) micro-phenomenology (experiences that trigger specific micro-gestures or micro-acts of attention) and reverse-phenomenology (how one experiences a landscape and how the landscape experiences one) as methods for reflecting on the experiential in artistic practice research. This symposium is inspired by The Microphenomenology Laboratory, A method for experiential protocols by Claire Petitmengin. Please refer to:

3. Social Distance, Social Togetherness and the Experience of the Other

Winter 2023 (Place TBC)

For this symposium we are applying for external funding in order to generate collaborations between artists and refugees. We will put a callout for artists working with socially engaged practices, with focus on creating spaces for mutual appreciation and respect. The call will be generated around the idea/question of guest and host, generosity, value of language, culture and tradition. The aims of this symposium are to counteract reduction of culture into stereotypes, to create spaces for mutual appreciation and healing in the community and to explore together integration, listening and reciprocal capture.  

4. Cognition in the Experiential in Artistic Research 

Summer meeting 2023 (Place TBC) 

Artistic research can provide other knowledges and other ways of cognising the world and each other. Exploration of how the experiential in artistic research can help in making sense of the world around us.

5. Transformative & Emancipatory Processes in Artistic Research

Winter 2024 (Place TBC)

Shared experience of the artistic practice as agent for transformation and emancipation. Ethics of care giving and taking, building mutual trust in self and collective investigation in experiential artistic practice research. 

6. Experiential Artistic Processes as Research (II):

Summer meeting 2024 (Place TBC) 

The last gathering of this cycle will be a reflection moment before the synthesis of its documentation and will complement the first symposium of the series. This symposium will focus on investigating reflection as a tool for artistic research in various forms, such as self-reflection, peer review, feedback and group crits. 

Together we will weave a prototype of the anthology, exploring what artists gather and let go in the artistic process. In practice, this will be done by inviting all of the participants from the 3-year cycle, to attend a webinar. 


Heidi Seppälä
Coordinator Study Circle 7

Heidi Seppälä is a dancer, choreographer, dance researcher and pedagogue. 

Born in Finland in 1987 but since lived in 10 countries around the world, Heidi’s artistic work is rooted in multiculturalism and explores the complexities of freedom and imprisonment in both mental as well as societal level. 

Heidi holds a BA in dance pedagogue (Tartu University 2009), BA Dance Theatre (London 2012) and MA in dance anthropology (2019). She is currently a student of Uni-arts Helsinki’s pedagogical studies for teachers in the arts, and runs a new international initiative for de-colonising the art of dance.

Marina Velez Vago
Coordinator Study Circle 7

Dr Marina Velez Vago is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher based in Cambridge. UK. She was born in Argentina, lived in Spain, The Netherlands and the UK and travelled extensively. 

Marina is the founder and organiser of Cambridge Sustainability Residency  and the founder and curator of Sustainability Art Prize at Cambridge School of Art. 

Marina has co-edited two books about art and sustainability, MILK. and ROAR. She is a member of the Dalvazza Group at the Swiss Artistic Research Network and a member of the British Art Network. 

Marina holds a BA, a Masters and a Ph. D.  in Fine Arts and she lectures at Norwich University of the Arts and the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research title is ‘Exploring value, meaning and worth through five art projects in rural Spain’.