“Publish or perish.” So goes the famous academic adage. But how does this apply when research results are not a document but a work of art, an awe-inspiring exhibit or a moving piece of theatre?
Concordia University researcher Louis Patrick Leroux is one scholar whose work often results in that type of outcome. A professor of creative writing and literature in Concordia’s Department of English as well as its Département d’études françaises, Leroux has spent years intimately involved in what is known as “research-creation,” a process that fosters the development and renewal of knowledge through aesthetic, technical, instrumental or other innovations.
“There’s a real need to bridge the gap between the creative and interpretive disciplines.” Leroux says. “If we can make that connection, we can link the humanities more closely to arts communities and create an important dialogue between academic and artistic creation.” He is now doing just that with his new book, Dialogues fantasques pour causeurs éperdus, published by Prise de parole.
By blending dramatic dialogues and thoughts on the creative process, Leroux gives his readers a new take on what it means to create as both a passionate and academic exercise. Before being compiled into a book, Leroux’s Dialogues were the fodder for a series of performative explorations, some theatrical, some filmed, others flirting with peformance art and installations at the Hexagram Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies.
Dialogues fantasques offers an artistic way to understand the creative process and, in so doing, helps unpack the mysteries behind research-creation. Equal parts academic treatise and work of fiction, it is constructed in a way that makes the reader part of the research-creation experience. Even the book’s layout, designed by Concordia Assistant Professor of design Nathalie Dumont, invites the reader to think more about what it means to create and experience.
“There’s a lot of fascinating work that goes on in universities around the world that never makes it into peer-reviewed journals,” adds Leroux. He has been taking this message far and wide in recent months, thanks to Keynote lectures and conferences on research-creation at both Quebec City’s Université Laval and the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile. He has also explored these ideas as a Visiting Scholar at Duke University's Centre for the Study of Canada, as well as through his current position as scholar-in-residence at the National Circus School in Montreal.
Leroux’s new book, Dialogues fantasques pour causeurs éperdus, will be launched on Thursday, November 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Librairie Le Port de tête (262 Mont-Royal Ave. E.).
• Dialogues fantasques pour causeurs éperdus
• Resonance Lab
• Les éditions Prise de parole
• Le département d’études françaises à l’Université Concordia
• Concordia’s Department of English Literature