Research – Attempts – Practice – Experiments
My research practice, recently, has become a practice of experimentations with forms and possibilities of collective working. At the start of the current Covid-19 pandemic lock-downs, there was little chance for a transformation of methodologies, the change was sudden and drastic: a participatory, collaborative and inclusive research process became solitary on the 24th of March, on the first day of the nationwide lockdown in Ireland.
My project would have been an investigation of modes of collectivity and commoning methodologies developed by artists in dialogical social arts practices in Ireland. Through a situated and participatory research process I was planning to empirically observe and critically reflect on specific commoning strategies and conditions, forms of social cooperation and their potential wider social effect or impact.
Attempts at Distanced Dialogues
As the necessary restrictions on movement and social interaction were introduced, my research questions seemed to lose their relevance. There was one important question left for my research to ask: how can we continue with participatory, collaborative practices in times when we cannot meet? Both my artistic and research practice is centered on conversation and discussion. I consider dialogue as research: my work involves an inclusive process of engagement with case studies. The challenges of our present public health crisis create a fragile situation for socially engaged collaborative practices where digital and online communication and interaction might not be a valid alternative. Distanced Dialogues emerged as an experimental process of having a live online chat with Deenview Project collaborators and trying to involve participants with intellectual disabilities who have limited verbal expression.
Situated and action research methods returned as inherent part of my work once it was possible again to meet and gather in small groups. I initiated the start of Y COMMONS: a small collective of like-minded people with shared concerns about the Earth and shared intentions to fully understand our environmental emergencies while searching for creative responses and forms of actions.
Throughout my work I discuss ethical questions comprehensively with contributors and participants, including consent agreements for recorded interviews, and considerations of co-ownership and co-authorship of material and outcomes.
Documents and documentation of the research are accessible here:
Tunde Toth is an artist, educator, arts advisor and researcher who lives and works in Ireland. Tunde’s professional arts practice has been centered on collaborative, socially engaged working processes since 2013. Her work includes the development and delivery of participatory, inclusive, often cross-disciplinary arts projects, working with participants from diverse, non-art backgrounds in various contexts. Tunde develops slow, conversational and experimental processes and investigates different modes of collective working while exploring and creating new forms of exchange, co-creation and co-operation.
Both her social arts practice and connecting artistic research evolve through dialogical, interdisciplinary and relational methodologies in social and political contexts. Tunde’s presently ongoing research investigates commoning methodologies developed by artists working in collaborative, conversational social arts practices in Ireland. It is an inquiry into modes of collectivity through four case studies. In July 2020, she initiated the setup of Y Commons: a collective of artists, activists and educators sharing knowledge and experiences in areas of eco-social arts practice, ecological/environmental activism and co-operative action.
Tunde graduated as MA in Art and Design in Social Practice and the Creative Environment at LIT School of Art and Design in Ireland in 2018, where her research and socially engaged arts practice focused on ethical issues related to documentation, evaluation, participatory consent, the concept of consent, and the afterlife of archives.
She also holds an MA in Literature (with Linguistics and Education) from the University of Pecs (PE) in Hungary (1998). Tunde has extensive experience in the field of arts education as well as arts in education. She was appointed as a Creative Associate on the nationwide Creative Schools programme by the Arts Council of Ireland in 2018.