Rebecca Collins
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Managing multiple embodiments in the life drawing class
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There has been growing interest in the role of sketching, drawing and other forms of artistic and/or creative practice as a research method within (and beyond) the social sciences. Such practices are often seen as particularly useful at engendering the slow contemplation and critical reflexivity demanded in order to immerse oneself in the field of inquiry and, in turn, to enable embodied learning to inform understanding. In this chapter I consider how auto-ethnography, as a state of ‘reflexive-thinking-being’, employed here within a space of artistic activity (life drawing classes), has enabled me to explore geographies of bodies, nudity, sexuality and intimacy by moving – physically, conceptually and recursively. As a life drawing practitioner of more than ten years, a life model of over six years and a critical feminist cultural geographer of nine years, these are my everyday identities. I relate how I manage opportunities and risks in an open-ended research project situated in a life drawing class. I focus on the shifting roles and positionalities I embody in this project, rather than the related but also separate drawings and interviews that form part of it.

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