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Journal ArticleDOI

The phantom ‘practice-only thesis’

01 Feb 2020-Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect)-Vol. 13, Iss: 2, pp 219-227
TL;DR: The authors argue that the notion of the practice-only thesis is not only an unrealistic illusion that puts pressure on students, but also does not reflect contemporary professional practices and argue that an art practice to communicate any sort of specific knowledge it must be embedded in a pre-existing and continuously evolving flux of discourse produced through written and spoken language.
Abstract: As universities become accustomed to the complexities of their art and design faculties, a body of literature has emerged that explores some of the possibilities of a doctorate in the creative arts. In the area of fine art in particular, although not exclusively, there has been a drive towards a purely practice-based thesis. This article argues that the notion of the practice-only thesis is not only an unrealistic illusion that puts pressure on students, but also does not reflect contemporary professional practices. For an art practice to communicate any sort of specific knowledge it must be embedded in a pre-existing and continuously evolving flux of discourse produced through written and spoken language. The American artist Trisha Donnelly’s 2014 Serpentine Gallery exhibition is taken as an example. Critical writing in the art press produces an accepted interpretation, and this is what the artist ‘Trisha Donnelly’ comes to stand for. So artwork that might appear to be producing its meaning autonomously should be seen as a collaborative practice involving the artist together with their professional interpreters. Research students are required to produce a self-contained project which would seem to preclude the incorporation of writing or academic interpretation by others. But it is fundamentally unfair to demand a thesis without any written component since it does not exist in an expanded notion of the contemporary art world.
Citations
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01 Jan 1983
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors studied the relationship between the production litteraire and the economy of a society. But their focus was on the relation between le champ de la production litteraires and the society.
Abstract: Etude de la production litteraire en termes relationnels, en construisant le champ litteraire, c'est-a-dire l'espace des prises de position litteraires qui sont possibles dans une periode donnee et dans une societe donnee. Les prises de position naissent de la rencontre entre les habitus d'agents particuliers et leur position, dans un champ de positions, defini par la distribution d'une forme specifique de capital. Ce capital litteraire (ou artistique, ou philosophique) fonctionne a l'interieur d'une "economie" dont la logique est inverse de l'economie plus large de la societe. L'"interet dans le desinteret" se comprend dans l'examen des relations structurales entre le champ de la production litteraire et celui des rapports de classes. De nombreux effets, a l'interieur du champ litteraire, naissent des homologies entre les positions a l'interieur des deux champs. Analyse du cas particulier du champ litteraire a la fin du XIX s. en France.

123 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
01 Nov 1983-Poetics
TL;DR: In this article, the authors analyse the structural relations between the field of literary production and class relations in late 19th century France and show that the interest in distinterestedness can be explained by the homologies between positions within the two fields.

991 citations

Book ChapterDOI
04 Oct 2010
TL;DR: Artistic research is a form of knowledge production as mentioned in this paper, and it is not formal knowledge that is the subject matter of artistic research, but thinking in, through and with art.
Abstract: This chapter examines artistic research as a form of knowledge production. It will conclude, however, by saying that artistic research seeks not so much to make explicit the knowledge that art is said to produce, but rather to provide a specific articulation of the pre-reflective, non-conceptual content of art. It thereby invites to ‘unfinished thinking’. Hence, it is not formal knowledge that is the subject matter of artistic research, but thinking in, through and with art. The expression artistic research connects two domains: art and academia. Obviously the term can also be used in a general sense. Every artist does research as she works, as she tries to find the right material, the right subject, as she looks for information and techniques to use in her studio or atelier, or when she encounters something, changes something or begins anew in the course of her work. Artistic research in the emphatic sense – and as used in this article – unites the artistic and the academic in an enterprise that impacts on both domains. Art thereby transcends its former limits, aiming through the research to contribute to thinking and understanding; academia, for its part, opens up its boundaries to forms of thinking and understanding that are interwoven with artistic practices. These specific ‘border violations’ can spark a good deal of tension. The relationship between art and academia is uneasy, but challenging. That is one reason why the issue of demarcation between the artistic and the academic has been one of the most widely discussed topics in the debate on artistic research in the past fifteen years.

144 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
John Wood1
TL;DR: The authors re-design academic writing protocols for design education, adopting a more empathetic model to make writing more like designing for a specified client, which may be useful in the competitive culture of bureaucratic work.
Abstract: Historically, the culture of design education reflects an uneasy liaison between the mediaeval monastic (‘book’) and the crafts guilds (‘design studio’) traditions. For this reason it has been difficult to integrate both modes of knowledge in design education. Common misunderstandings about ‘scholastic rigour’ are symptomatic of this confusion. ‘Rigorous’ writing is fundamentally rule-based and organizational, and can therefore be at odds with the situated, opportunistic judgements involved with much design practice. We should therefore re-design academic writing protocols for design education.By thinking about ‘rigour’ we may absolve it, perhaps adopting a more empathetic model to make writing more like designing for a specified client. The standard school essay implies a 180° relationship between authors and their unknown readers. It is profoundly linear, fact-based and rhetorical, therefore it may be useful in the competitive culture of bureaucratic work. For this reason, we need better practices of ‘s...

63 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined specific problems encountered by supervisors of practice-based research degrees, and portrayed some of the strategies developed and employed by supervisors as they attempt to guide student endeavour towards the successful combining of creative and analytical work.
Abstract: Literature on the supervision of practice-based research degrees in art and design is at present relatively underdeveloped, particularly in relation to empirical studies. This paper, which is based on qualitative interviews with 50 supervisors engaged in the supervision of practice-based doctorates in a range of UK universities and colleges, aims to begin to remedy this lacuna. It examines specific problems encountered by supervisors of practice-based research degrees, and portrays some of the strategies developed and employed by supervisors as they attempt to guide student endeavour towards the successful combining of creative and analytical work.

39 citations

01 Jan 2000
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the practical and conceptual consequences of art practice being acknowledged as academically valid, exploring in particular the advantages and liabilities of anxiety for all concerned, and argue that the demarcation of disciplinary boundaries is important for judgements concerning academic and artistic expertise.
Abstract: Like any other PhD, practice-based PhDs are also the focus of much anxiety but, significantly, those anxieties reach beyond personal doubt and are shared by supervisors, examiners and senior academic management. Here, I suggest that the anxiety concerning practice-based PhDs should not be lightly dismissed because it is a product of the institutional relations practice-based doctorates put into place. At least in the short-term anxiety is structured into the qualification and the aim of this paper is to examine why. I argue that the demarcation of disciplinary boundaries is important for judgements concerning academic and artistic expertise. To become an expert you have to have a specialised field, which can only be only mastered if it is clearly defined. Practice-based research crosses many of these borderlines thereby creating anxiety about criteria of competence, assessment and authority. Significantly, however, the practice-based PhD has involved a shift in the institutional arbitration of competence. In the past art that crossed disciplinary boundaries was nevertheless evaluated within art colleges and in relation to their traditions and practices, whereas in this instance art is being judged within an academic context and with a different set of expectations in mind. Unlike other previously contentious forms of art practice, this is not a change in medium or subject matter that nevertheless remains within the parameters of the art college, but is a shift in the way that the art object is legitimated as such. The paper goes on to examine the practical and conceptual consequences of art practice being acknowledged as academically valid, exploring in particular the advantages and liabilities of anxiety for all concerned.

33 citations