"DESIGNERS ENJOY DESIGNING
The practicalities of the design-based Ph.D (or Ph.D's generally in the creative arts) often fails to recognise the wider needs of the researcher who would typically have bachelors and masters degrees in their field and where the structure of their degree programme(s) would have been practice-based i.e. they have considerable prior history of creative practice; they enjoy creative practice; and they may well miss the fulfilment of creative practice if none was undertaken during a three to five year full time Ph.D.
STUDENTS NEED TUTORS THAT CAN DESIGN
Practice-based learning at undergraduate and masters level requires a significant taught input by competent practitioners. It is all too common for academics to loose or fail to develop capability in practice as they move through an academic career that is based on teaching and research. The typical route by which full-time academics with a practitioner background acquire a Ph.D is through part-time study. In order to maintain competence as a practitioner for the benefit of students, there is a case to encourage the use of practice in staff Ph.D's.
RESEARCH OUTCOMES NEED DESIGNING
An unexpected outcome from the author's experience of Ph.D supervision in creative disciplines has been the scenario where professional practice was necessary for the progress of the research. 'Tools' are a popular and relevant outcome from design-based Ph.D's and situations arise where the tool itself must be designed in order to facilitate its validation. It is therefore necessary to consider the use of researcher-practice where practice is not a direct means of the data collection but a process by which research outcomes can progress to validation."
(Mark Evans, p.75, 2009)
Evans, M. (2009). "Creative professional practice in methods and methodology: case study examples from Ph.Dís in industrial design". EKSIG 2009: Experiential Knowledge, Method & Methodology, Experiential Knowledge Special Interest Group.
"This paper considers differing understandings about the role and praxis of practitioner-based research for the arts. Over more than a decade the nexus between theory and practice has been a point of debate within the contemporary arts school both in Australia and overseas. This paper attempts to reveal ways of approaching this issue from within and across the disciplines. Discussions with colleagues from the arts representing fields as diverse as music, visual arts, creative writing, women's studies, dance and theatre studies indicate that the research principles explored, albeit briefly, here have resonance for each of these disciplines. Consequently, in an attempt to be broadly relevant for these diverse fields I have chosen to position the model as practitioner-based. Within this widened context I will be exploring the different ways in which studio-based practitioners and academics conceptualise the processes and characteristics of research in the arts and professional practice. However, as this is still work in progress, my exemplars will largely reflect my own field of the visual arts. Further research will enable this model to expand.
Presented is a way to conceptualise and explain what we do as studio-based researchers in the arts. In so doing I am recognising that contemporary practices in the arts reflect a meridian era of evolution, which requires us to be articulate practitioners. This includes being able to analyse and write about our practice in sophisticated ways. I see practitioner-based research and the resultant exploration of personal praxis as a way to achieve this. What I propose is that as artists we open up a larger domain by recontextualizing and reinterpreting aspects of standard mainstream research processes, looking at the resemblances, the self-resemblances and the differences between traditional and practitioner-based research methods as a logic of necessity."
(Robyn Stewart, 2001)
TEXT Vol Vol 5 No 2 October 2001 [http://www.griffith.edu.au/school/art/text/]
"A brief is basically a set of instructions that set out what you want your designers to do, along with the objectives and parameters of the design project.
It should make clear what falls within - and outside - the scope of the work. This will help everybody refer back to where they started and make sure that the design work is developing according to your objectives.
It will also help you determine how successful the project has been when you reach the end. ...
Unfortunately, all too often briefs are agreed verbally - but a well-considered brief can act as a general grounding document if the project appears to be heading in the wrong direction, so it's well worth putting something in writing.
And remember, the brief isn't carved in stone; it can be adapted as you go along, as long as it's done in collaboration with everyone involved and the new version is also written down."
(Design Council, UK)
A reflective journal is both a communication tool and a design method for developing professional practice. Such journals allow designers to publish their projects as they progress and provide a platform for critically reflecting on creative works and the design process.
Reflective journals can be used to discover insight about how designers approach their creative problem-solving. This is commonly understood as a central requirement for designers to develop their professionalism and to become experts in the field. They do so through reflecting on their work - characterising common features and critically analysing successes and failures.
Reflective journals also help designers situate their work within the broader creative industries and contemporary visual culture context. Designers might use their journal to document developing trends and to collect examples of inspirational works. These collections might be made as part of the research phase of a given project or contribute to a more general understanding of a design field.
Such journals should take an appropriate form so that they communicate effectively and provide necessary insight. They might exist in a singular form e.g. a workbook, a weblog or they might exist as a collection e.g. as a workbook of sketches with notes/annotations and as a weblog/Tumblr of photographs/videos with associated critical reflections.
The following are examples of art and design reflective journals:
"Are you ready to be part of our golden generation? We've built a new agency that blurs the line between the physical and the interactive. Now we're looking for exceptional people to work in multi-disciplinary teams, creating experiences that make them, and us, famous. We need supremely skilled Designers, Developers, Strategists, Copywriters, Account Handlers and Producers. If that's you, then there's a place in our graduate academy to define your career and craft in this connected world. Closing date for the July intake is Friday 13th July."
(Start JudgeGill, UK)