The rhetoric of research
In 1993 Christopher Frayling, the Rector of the Royal College of Art in London, published an article about the nature of research in art and design. The present paper revisits his threefold distinction of "research- in art, research-through art and research-for art", and considers why Frayling found the third category to be problematic. The analytical methods used are linguistic (a constructionist approach to the rhetorical effect of construing various prepositions with "research"), and philosophical (a Wittgensteinian approach, distinguishing between socially agreed normative criteria, and non-normative indicators or symptoms). The paper argues that the instrumentality of terms such as "research" should be contrasted by observations of how the register of artefacts is used in the advancement of the field. If one adopts a constructionist approach then one is forced to be sceptical about the reification of publicly agreed criteria. The paper uses Wittgenstein's distinction between criteria and symptoms to identify three indicators of research that may point towards a solution to Frayling's problem through the re-description of his category "research- for" art as "a work-of" art.