First seminar was held on
10 December 2008
10.30am - 4.30pm
at London Knowledge Lab
The main aims of the seminar were to:
- Explore the intellectual and practical opportunities, problems and risks concerning the rise in digital and multimodal research presentation – particularly that of the PhD thesis
- Provide a forum for the exchange of practice in this area
- Inform thinking, including that on regulations and guidance, regarding new formats for the PhD in education and the social sciences
- Provide better commerce between the creation of knowledge in the field and its dissemination to users
Richard Andrews, Caroline Pelletier, Andrew Burn: A survey of existing practice
Part of this presentation looked at examples of alternatives to the conventional written PhD thesis, drawing particularly on traditions of practice-based, studio-based, options for doctoral study. Certain models, especially in the field of art and design, have long histories, and variations on these have proliferated in recent years, addressing the interests and professional contexts of researchers, artists and designers in multimedia, games and virtual worlds. Recurrent themes in the discussions of these models include practical questions about the balance of different elements of the doctoral submission, epistemological questions about the nature of knowledge and the function of research, methodological questions about the relationship between investigation and design. These were briefly reviewed and opened up for discussion: a number of institutions currently running practice-based programmes were represented at the seminar.
Peter Halfpenny: The problem from an e-social science perspective
e-Social Science aims to harness innovations in digital technologies to enable social science to advance in ways not hitherto possible. Its drivers are the abundance of digital data, the availability of immense computer power and the ease of collaboration over time and space. e-Social Science affects every stage of the research life-cycle. As a consequence, it has numerous implications for the doctorate. Some of these were teased out in this talk.
Download Powerpoint file here.
Carey Jewitt: New multimodal and visual forms: what counts as knowledge in the doctoral thesis
Until relatively recently, the thesis has been a written form sometimes quietly ‘illustrated’ with visual evidence. The noise of audio files and multimodal media has been allowed to live in the appendix of the doctoral thesis. This separation of writing, image and multimodal forms is, however, challenged by the rise in research on and through digital media. Visual and multimodal perspectives, technologies and the data these generate in combination, put writing, image and the multimodal into new relationships. Further this has led to new forms of transcription and representation of data and findings and the re-thinking of what counts as knowledge. Contemporary multimodal texts will be used to explore the opportunities and problems of rethinking the relationship between writing, image, and other modes in order to comment on the possible futures for the PhD thesis. How might image and writing be put into more dynamic conversations within a thesis to move beyond the written comment on the visual or multimodal? What might visual and multimodal dialogues and arguments look like? In short, how might the multimodal move out of the appendix?
Claire Robins: Artists’ interventions and the doctoral thesis
This paper discussed the role of art practice within my doctoral research in which I examine the interpretive role of contemporary artists’ interventions in galleries and museums. I do this in part, by staging an intervention, An Elite Experience for Everyone, at the William Morris Gallery, London. Artists’ interventions draw on multi-modal means of communication, bringing together text, image, object, display technologies and performances, in this instance, set within a parodic frame. I propose that the potential of this element of practice allows for a close (embodied) examination of disruptive and parodic methodologies which are common to many interventions. My concerns are to gain insights into how parodic and confrontational practices can be understood to ameliorate years of sedimented privilege within cultural institutions promoted as panaceas for achieving social goals. In order to reconcile parody and irony’s somewhat denigrated status in education I draw on the writings of Bakhtin (1966), Hutcheon (2000) and Kierkegaard (1841), to explore the effects of distraction and disruption.