Asking questions of art: Higher Education, research and creative practice

Judith Mottram

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPractice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts
    EditorsHazel Smith, Roger Dean
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh, UK
    PublisherEdinburgh University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780748636280
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Author's note: The invitation to contribute a chapter to this book asked that I address the history of creative work in the university sector and the form and quality of PhD theses in the creative arts. Developing on the work undertaken previously for the chapter in the Elkins book, the chapter focuses closely on doctoral work in fine art. Several propositions are explored, including the linkage between the identity of fine artists as creative practitioners, and the meaning-making arising from the generation of valued objects or experiences, and the way this seductive relationship influences thinking about practice in advanced enquiry as conceptual models are generated to accommodate valued activities. The argument is made for reconsideration of the generic intentions of universities as places of learning and custodians of intellectual capital rather than working with Sullivan’s question of whether fine art practice could ‘be accepted as a form of research’ for artists who work in art schools within universities.

    The core material is an analysis of fine art PhD abstracts from 1986 to 2005 testing the utility of Frayling’s model of research into, through or for practice. Early projects through practice indicate that forms of experiment provided the dominant strategy for investigation. The use of the ADIT database as a research dataset in itself provides a clear model of how the field can generate its own tools to understand the field.

    The book has been reviewed in Media International Australia and the Australian edition of the Global Media Journal, is being regularly cited and is appearing on course booklists. One review comments that the editors ‘have tapped into the leading thinkers who have taken an early but definitive step towards validating and theorising the use of the creative arts in research practices.’

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