Changes to the Creative Process through Autoethnography, Auto-Ethnomethodology and Reflective Practice

An ethnomethodology is an examination of common cultural actions, beliefs, and behaviors that make sense of everyday life. This is done through researching communications of everyday people through speech and other interactions (Allen 2017). However, ‘auto’ differentiates this method by prefixing ‘self’ to ethnomethodology. Instead of focusing on the standard or perhaps alternative ways of communication of everyday people, auto-ethnomethodology explores the researcher’s personal experiences. In the end, their personal experience highlights their cultural experience through actions of self-observation and self-reflection. Here, “reflexivity is key to developing a critical consciousness of how the practitioner-researcher’s identity, experiences, position, and interests influence their creative practice” (Lyle 2016)). This can be documented various ways but is often seen in research logs, revisions, notes, or drafted materials. Yet, academia has changed to incorporate modern forms of documentation which may also include blog posts, online journal entries, and social media posts. All of which are capable of documenting insights, difficulties, and pivotal events throughout the creative practice.

Through the auto-ethnomethodology the communication between self and self is usually done through informal documentation, as the primary aim is to keep the creative researcher in a natural setting. This may lead to biased retrospection. “Self-reflection is a problematic method in that individuals either do not have enough distance from their own activities to recognize patterns and sequences of significance, or they are so distanced from the actual activity that their memories cannot be considered accurate” (Lyle 2016).

Yet, the perspective of the artist is still important to note in order to obtain some type of understanding towards their composition. For the purposes of this research, the composition of soundscapes may be better appreciated with the description of the composer’s meaning to their work (Brandt 1992). Autoethnography is considered a useful research method where the researcher’s personal experience run parallel to self-reflection, where multiple layers of consciousness and perspectives are explored through relationships of the self and other or self to self via communication (Mendez 2013).

As mentioned earlier, this communication may be informal or formal, from blog posts to drafts of previous writings. Yet, it is important to note that communication does not solely mean verbal or written language. An exciting element to this project is the ability to explore beyond language and analyze the soundscapes, or other versions of art, generated throughout the creative process.

Change happens whether we document the process or not. With the help of ethnomethodology, I can examine how the creative process in my own research has transformed, depending on my self-talk and other influences.

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