My current (artistic) research as practice combines (auto-)ethnographic approaches (in lens-based, social, textual, performative and visual media) with facilitation in group and one-to-one settings. One theme which has come to bear within these methodologies centres around the ‘private’, familial spaces of biographical experiences of conflict and violence; probing boundary constructions between different spheres of experience as well as enquiring into the various ‘outsides’ of such domestic spaces.
The second theme emerges from previous institutionally-based research around labour process and the construction of work identities and its interjection into my present forms of arts-based inquiry: within co-research and DiY frameworks of self-organisation, an institutional critique is sought in a contemporary form while also investigating the possibility to articulate divergent positions and to bring these to bear within the context of an increasingly entrepreneurial and promotional environment for cultural relations under austerity.
These research practices and interests build on a ten-year period of primarily academic-based research at doctoral level and above that focused on the political economies of urban restructuring, labour process and social regulation. This previous research enquired into the ways in which public spaces were being produced by practitioners, policy-makers and all those who make various intended and unintended uses of such spaces. Methodologically, it centred on in-depth qualitative methods such as open interviews, focus groups, participant observations as well as detailed textual analysis; accompanied with more quantitative approaches where required. While deliberately centred around traditional policy fields, my doctoral and post-doctoral research actively cut across policy fields to provide a critical examination of conceptual questions to do with political economy and social relations. The empirical research was thus interrogated by as well as informative of a conceptual framework in which critical social theory, Marxist and post-structuralist approaches figured strongly.
This site’s (and my) intention is act as a research space for exploring current interests and themes as well as providing a resonance body to these. It also acts as a depository to previous work and research, linking elsewhere too.
Gesa Helms, August 2016
contact me: ghelms[at]ghelms[dot]com