Conversation words in art and design practice

A corpus-based ethnography

  • Darryl Hocking Auckland University of Technology
Keywords: art education, conversation, corpus analysis, creativity, discourse, ethnography


Spoken and written communication plays a crucial constitutive role in both the production and reception of contemporary art and design practice, and as a result ‘conversation’ words, such as discuss, talk, communicate and respond frequently occur in the texts and talk of art and design educators, their students and creative professionals. In order to understand more about the role of communication in art and design practice, as well as the conceptualisation of art and design practice as communication, this study examines the use of these ‘conversation’ words in ethnographic data collected from a site-specific instance of art and design discourse practice. To achieve this objective, the ethnographic data is treated as sets of corpora which are examined using the tools of corpus analysis. Findings indicate the different constitutive, functional and strategic roles of ‘conversation’ words in art and design education and professional practice. They also shed light on the potential of corpus analytical resources to contribute to ethnographic research.

Author Biography

Darryl Hocking, Auckland University of Technology

Darryl Hocking is a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. His research focuses on the interactional genres and communicative practices in art and design settings and how these impact on creative activity. He is the author of the book Communicating Creativity: The Discursive Facilitation of Creative Activity in Arts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Address for correspondence: School of Language and Culture, AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland1142, New Zealand. Email:


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How to Cite
Hocking, D. (2018). Conversation words in art and design practice. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 13(1-3), 97-121.