Research Training in the Creative Disciplines: The 'Double Doctorate, the 'Clayton's PhD', or 'a New Kind of Practice'?

Jennifer Webb, Donna Lee Brien

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


This paper emerges out of our recent OLT-funded project into an examination of creative doctorates; some recent ALTC-funded projects on the same topic (Webb and Brien, on creative writing, 2008; Philips, Stock and Vincs, on dance, 2009; Baker, Buckley and Kett, on visual art, 2009); and a handful of investigations conducted in the UK (Wisker et al., on doctoral learning, 2010; Hefce, trends in doctoral education, 2011; AHRC, research review, 2007). These official reports are supported by a body of research publications covering the same issue: what it means to conduct research in and through creative practice, and what constitutes a doctorate in this mode. While the creative community has built knowledge on this topic over the past decade, the information we have gathered from our respondents makes it clear that, whether in policy, practice or discourse, there is considerable uncertainty about this area of research training. Comments offered by our respondents present three distinct perspectives on the creative doctorate, identifying it variously as a ‘double doctorate’, a ‘Clayton’s PhD’, or as ‘a new kind of practice’. None of these epithets reflect the picture of creative doctorates presented in the policy documents that govern research training in the arts in Australian universities; but they provide a very clear picture of the experiences of individual candidates, supervisors and examiners in creative disciplines. We suggest a way of reading the gap between policy and practice, and how that gap might provide a way of re-thinking this aspect of contemporary art and design education
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegion and Isolation
Subtitle of host publicationThe Changing Function of Art and Design Education within Diasporic Cultures and Borderless Communities
EditorsClive Barstow, Digby de Bruin, Julian Goddard
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780975836088
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventACUADS 2012 - Region and Isolation: The Changing Function of Art and Design Education within Diasporic Cultures and Borderless Communities - Central Institute of Technology, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
Duration: 3 Oct 20125 Oct 2012


ConferenceACUADS 2012 - Region and Isolation
Abbreviated titleACUADS 2012
OtherIt is with great pleasure that we present the collected papers of the 2012 Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools conference. The 2012 conference was jointly hosted by Central Institute of Technology, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University.

The title of the 2012 conference was ‘Region and Isolation’, suggesting a theme that we feel is particularly pertinent to current trends in art and design education. For some, the Twenty-first century is proving to be an era of unprecedented freedom; travel and migration have never been easier. The tribulations of geographic distance are, to a great extent, a thing of the past; increasingly sophisticated technologies enable us to stay in touch, even when far from home. And yet, for many others, remoteness and isolation remain a daily reality. The vexed issue of Globalisation presents both challenges and opportunities for art and design educators. While isolation, geographic or otherwise, may often be seen as detrimental to art education and culture, it is important to recognise the possibilities inherent in regionalism: seclusion has the capability of fostering unique and vital cultural identities. Conversely, it is the job of art and design education to ensure that creative cultures are identified, maintained and encouraged in the face of Diaspora and migration. Whether located within a borderless, globally integrated community or operating out of a more remote region, educators must identify strategies for turning their situation into a virtue.

Many of this year’s papers examine the ways in which tertiary art and design schools are changing or need to change in order to deal with the global realities of the Twenty-first century. Over the course of our three-day program we were also delighted to feature papers that considered educational strategies and techniques in a broader context, as well as presenting a wide range of research reflecting the diverse interests and practices of our sector
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