By Frank Millward
Anyone who attended the Symposium - Students in Creative Arts Research: exploring frameworks and models for the creative thesis, could not fail to note the commitment and passion with which the Higher Degree Research students presented their work.
While there were a variety of approaches in evidence, in many cases it was the personal, autobiographical and artistic journeys that formed a starting point for student’s research. Exploration of such approaches, presented alongside the idea of ‘models for the creative thesis’, gave the symposium a particular dynamic that invigorated discussions and debates.
Co-sponsored by the Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) and the University of Newcastle, School of Creative Arts, the symposium triggered open discussion on topics such as: how the Creative Arts can have impact; how that might be measured; the difference between impact and dissemination; measuring the economic impact of Creative Arts practices and issues involving business, industry and economic indicators of esteem.
Keynote speaker Professor Stephen Goss from Surrey University UK, who joined all sessions, enabled direct and relevant dialogue between himself and participants, in the intersections between UK-based research and Australian research conditions. Goss evaluated his own research and his evolving compositional process through a narrative of five stages: Decision making; Insight; Creating a structure for spontaneity; Tacit knowledge - finding the most important things; Refinement - the editing process, tacit and embodied knowledge built up over many hours of experience that enable various forms of intuition.
The RMIT Creative Writing Panel presented an engaging discussion titled, “Innovative Approaches to Knowledge and ‘Text’” as did the Australian Screen Production Education & Research Association (ASPERA) Research Sub-Committee on, “Writing with/on/for Screens: Screen Production and the Doctoral Experience”
Artistic research often takes place in contexts outside of academic institutions. The impact of research is felt in social, cultural and community environments, and connects the academy in meaningful dialogue with the world at large. Creative Arts research plays an important part in making these connections and we need to profile and celebrate those engagements. This symposium confirmed the need to hear the voices of those involved in this form of discovery and reinforced the notion that artistic research continues to find significant traction within the context of the academy and is defining its impact across and within disciplines and areas of postgraduate interdisciplinary study.
Many of the student presenters were new to research. Their involvement and collaboration during the event has hopefully inspired them in their research journeys, and also given them a wider lens through which to consider their work in relation to the research work of others.
The symposium proved to be a very powerful tool for developing postgraduate research in the Creative Arts and beyond. It was unanimously agreed that such coming together should continue and develop further through evolving formats.