• Rationalising practice as research: making a new graphic adaptation of a Trollope novel of 1879.

      Grennan, Simon; University of Chester (League of European Research Universities Social Sciences and Humanities Symposium., 2014-11-01)
      In the United Kingdom, practice-based research has been the subject of pedagogic debate for over a quarter of a century, in particular in the context of both the study methods and the adjudication of higher research degrees. However, there is still no agreed pedagogic definition of practice-based research in the visual and performing arts in Britain (Candy 2006:03). A report of the country’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, revised in 2008, could not identify ‘…any established or accepted prior definition…’ (Rust, Mottram and Till 2008:10). The term ’practice-based’ is widely used to describe the use of practice as a method of research, and its products as research outputs in themselves, not requiring the mediation of a text (Candy 2006:01). The term ‘practice-led’, on the other hand, refers to the processes and products of practice as topics for theoretical analysis utilising text, so that ‘…the results of practice-led research may be fully described in text form without the inclusion of a creative work.’ (Candy 2006:01). There is not a dearth of definitions, however, but rather a wide variety, predicated upon the developing programmes of individual places of study. Candlin identifies an extreme diversity of required research outputs, from the visual-only outputs required by Leeds Metropolitan University’s PhD by Visual Practice on one hand, to the requirement at the University of Hertfordshire for a written thesis of eighty thousand words to accompany visual material, on the other (Candlin 2000). The diversity of definitions of both methods and outputs is derived as much from a continuing debate on theoretical questions, arising out of debates about the practical issues of teaching and assessing research degrees. Three theoretical questions underpin the debates. First, are non-text outputs, artefacts, and the methods of their production, able to communicate knowledge rather than simply constituting knowledge? Second, by what criteria can this knowledge be adjudicated within an academic environment? Third, what is the status of these outputs and methods relative to the production of text?