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Joanna Foster‌The Artist As Troubadour: Exploring the process of creative encounter through the musician’s toolkit of song, travel and story.

Joanna Foster

This research investigation explores empathic travel, using the template of the troubadour to explore a creative process that can initiate connections between people and place.  Exploring performance as transformative experience relates to the idea of ‘a process of becoming’ by the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead.[1] 

As an artist and musician, research is practice-led using both investigative and reflective methodologies, including song performance, observational drawing, narrative writing and audio recording.  This multi-disciplinary approach addresses the significance of spontaneity; exploring the flexibility of a creative process that adapts in real-time to shifting, and multi-layered, conditions of encounter.‌ 

Exploring a relationship between song performance and observational drawing has led to current investigation of flow-state or immersive attention that can act as a conduit for connection.  In turn, the role of repetition in developing flow-state, and the materiality of drawings and recordings as traces of transformative experience.

Underpinning this investigation is a period of research undertaken in the Northwest Territories of Canada in 2014 where, as artist-in-residence at Sambaa K’e Print Studio, Joanna worked with the Dene of Trout Lake to develop drawings, prints and songs relating to the environment and community. 

This research investigation has cross-disciplinary outreach, contributing to current debate in the fields of process-relational philosophy and anthropology to do with perception and interaction, questions around the protection of indigenous communities, and contemporary developments in grass-roots music.

[1] Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead, Mesle, Robert.C., Pennsylvania:Templeton Press, 2008, p.50.