Writers in the academy are researchers within an institutional community whose goal is the production of new knowledge. Asking key questions about the ontology of what I am calling the ‘Creative Writing Laboratory’ — the where, what, why and how of creative writing research — leads to an understanding of the outcomes writers produce and how they are shared with diverse audiences. Exploring parallels between scientific and artistic practice reveals how conventional research definitions can apply to creative knowledge generation and its epistemology. The terms ‘local’ and ‘global’ research distinguish between research that only enriches a project and the type that produces transferable knowledge. Especially at postgraduate level, a theoretical framework requires writers to confront their assumptions about knowledge and language as well as suggests appropriate methods for their goals. The dynamic relationship between practice, methodology, theory and artefact that exists can be conceived of as a rhizomatic system (see Deleuze and Guattari), which illuminates conventional, innovative and collaborative projects. An indicative reading of W. H. Auden’s poem, ‘Musée des Beaux Arts,’ reveals the multiple entry and exit points that can aid students at all levels to learn to ‘read like a researcher.’ In the twenty-first century university, the writing workshop has been crossed with an experimental site to produce a hardy hybrid — the Creative Writing Laboratory — where members research, test hypotheses, innovate and produce results, generating work that contributes to the collective stock of knowledge and culture.
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