IICSI research is currently indexed to 3 strategic research priorities: Improvisation as Practice-Based Research; Improvisation, Community Health, and Social Responsibility; and Improvisation, Intermediality and Experimental Technologies.
Improvisation as Practice-Based Research
Research on improvisation as a social practice is necessarily “practice based”; it manifests as research in performance, community outreach, social policy, pedagogy, therapeutic modes, technology, and other forms of embodied agency. Practice-based Research (PBR) methodology shares in the belief that artistic practice is itself a mode of knowledge production and that the kinds of knowledge generated by means of artistic practice cannot be achieved through conventional approaches to research alone. According to the Canadian Journal of Practice-based Research in Theatre: “Practice-based artistic research is experiential, reflective and communicative. One of its main concerns is finding ways of making available for others the tacit knowledge that usually characterizes an artist’s creative process.” Informed by our groundbreaking commitment to this under-attended form of inquiry, our work takes a cross-practice perspective in the performing arts, comparing practice-based research modalities in and across different disciplines. Sample Research Questions: How do arts-based improvisatory practices themselves suggest new models of knowledge transfer? How might these practices help us measure the impact of our research activities, and how might they enable a broader range of stakeholders to engage with these activities?
Improvisation, Community Health, and Social Responsibility
Through a number of successful pilot projects with partners, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of improvisation as a tool for reaching at-risk youth and aggrieved communities. IICSI documents and analyzes the myriad relationships between specific improvisational activities and their therapeutic effects, particularly in relation to issues (such as socialization, trust, self-esteem, responsibility, and participation) that are central to the formation of healthy communities. Sample Research Questions: How do improvisational arts-based practices contribute to the development and flourishing of healthy communities? How (and to what extent) do these practices help communities (particularly at-risk and aggrieved populations) produce new understandings of identity, history, memory, and the body?
Improvisation, Intermediality, and Experimental Technologies
Both existing and new technologies provide exciting opportunities for connecting people in real-time improvisational settings: be that through pedagogy, performance (in music/theatre/dance/new media art), symposia or other forms of social exchange. Explorations of such intermedial technologies are proving to be potent forces for increasing democratic participation in the arts and in social/political fora. IICSI will act as a hub where we present international improvisational telematic events, develop new forms of digital and performance-based intermediality, and document, archive, and analyze the effects (and effectiveness) of these new forms of communication. Sample Research Questions: How can new technologies help facilitate the ability of communities to improvise across time, space, and ability limitations? How might intermedial co-creation develop new opportunities for mobilizing knowledge?