Multimodal research applied to decision making by Incident controllers on the fire ground

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


I applied a Multimodal Research approach to a domain previously conceived of as a 'science'' that of decision making by Incident Controllers on the fireground. In the spirit of multimodality I synthesised a multimodal approach to creative research drawing upon Visual Culture, Social Semiotics, Art Education, and the concept of the artist-as-theorist found in Arts-based Practice. Fireground Incident Controllers responding to the live image of a fire must read the image immediately and decide how to respond, given their available resources. Against the backdrop of the visual and the artistic, the image Incident Controllers work with, work on, mould and shape, consists not only of the fire itself, but of the situation as a whole, incorporating risk, danger, sparse pieces of conflicting information and the pressure to act rapidly. I propose that Incident Controllers arriving on the fireground are basing their decisions on more than scientifically verifiable measurement and calculation. I maintain that they are aesthetically and somatically attuned to reading the fireground in the same way that an artist makes decisions about image construction or criticism. Rather than sorting and classifying, establishing types, looking for precepts and repeating patterns, and measuring effects, Multimodal Research is integrated and holistic, and individual points are deemed distorted and meaningless when not considered in relationship with one another.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterial Inventions
Subtitle of host publicationApplying creative arts research
EditorsEstelle Barrett, Barbara Bolt
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherI.B.Tauris Publishers
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780857737823
ISBN (Print)9781780769868
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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