Lead partner: Orpheus Institute
Comparing her role of supervisor to that of a dramaturg in a creative process, Christel Stalpaert points at the importance of listening and of cultivating an openness towards different modes of knowledge production.
Christel Stalpaert is Professor Theatre, Performance, Dance and Media Art Studies of the Art Studies Dept. at Ghent University (Belgium). She is director of the research centre S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts and Media) and co-founder of the dance research network CoDa (Cultures of Dance).
Workshop summary Morten Riis – edited transcription
Workshop for doctoral supervisors in artistic research led by Heloisa Amaral at the Multiplier Seminar for Doctoral Supervisors in Artistic Research Orpheus Institute, Ghent, November 26th 2020.
Supervision conversation with Simon Waters
Among the key themes which emerge in Simon Waters’s presentation, which draws on 25 years of supervision of research students in artistic practice, is an anxiety about the creeping codification of the relationship between supervisor and supervisee. This is particularly evident currently in UK higher education, but also in initiatives to ‘benchmark’ provision and expectations across Europe, and is frequently couched in terms of improvement in the student experience. In reality such moves are more often motivated by institutional self-protection, and administrative mistrust of academics. Such initiatives, often also betraying an institutional anxiety or equivocation about the status of artistic or practice-based activity, may also serve to constrain the value and integrity of that activity, particularly in their prioritising of linguistic articulacy over other forms of knowledge-making, and in their methodological fixity. In general, an artificial consensus about the nature and methods of artistic practice is regarded as potentially antithetical to the value-richness and diversity of that practice.
Waters argues that it is crucial for a supervisor of artistic research to understand that a researcher’s rationale for undertaking a practice-based PhD may not be primarily academic. He suggests that it may also be productive to avoid being too ‘disciplinary’ in a world where much genuine research happens at the periphery of a given practice. Similarly, it is useful to acknowledge that the focus of a research project may change, as genuine research may also emerge at the periphery of the planned project. In this regard the writings of Lucy Suchman, on the manner in which plans transmute into ’situated actions’ in the improvised reality of human conduct, are apposite.
Waters also notes a change in the locus of ‘expertise’, acknowledging that “in many, even most cases now, I am, as supervisor, at the disadvantage of being less skilled, less knowledgeable, less familiar with the core area of the supervisee’s research than they are.” The key role of the research community, in which expertise may be distributed among all the participants: research students, RAs/post-docs and supervisors – is emphasised, though of course the supervisor may nevertheless bring a capacity for distance, and for the anticipation of problems.
Bacon, J., & Midgelow, V. L. (2019). Reconsidering Research and Supervision as Creative Embodied Practice: Reflections from the Field. Artistic Doctorates in Europe: Third-cycle provision in Dance and Performance
In this paper, Bacon and Midgelow offer the reader innovative processes to improve supervisory practices, research practices and the quality of self-assessment. This by providing field experiences and short examples of exercises in order to become aware of one’s role as supervisors, peers and doctoral candidates in the different phases of inquiry.
Benammar, K. J. (2004). Conscious action through conscious thinking. In (pp. 27). Amsterdam: HvA Publicaties
“In reflection we are interpreting experience as knowledge and knowledge as experience.” P.5
In this lecture-paper, Benammar explores reflection tools to be used for experiential learning in creative processes.
Blair, B., Blythman, M., & Orr, S. (2007). Critiquing the Crit. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/586074/Critiquing_the_Crit
In this final report, Blair, Blythman, and Orr (2007) sum up the main findings of the crit-related survey and study in the UK. Small group crits and written crits seem to do well as they allow dialogue and involvement. Adding the factor of tangible feedback, allows the student to enhance the learning experience. Different kinds of crits are discussed, different kinds of scenarios, stereotypes.
Halprin, L. (2014). The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment Choreographic Practices, 5, 39-49. doi:10.1386/chor.5.1.39_1
The RSVP score makes elements of the creative process visible and seeks to aid communication within artistic collaborations. Halprin suggests that it offers a significant framework for articulation, making accessible that which is usually hidden and implicit.
Verbalizing creative work and creative processes is one of the questions we deal with in the research project. For that reason further exploration of this cycle can be of use.
Hannah, K., Langsted, J., & Larsen, C. R. (2010). Evaluation of artistic quality in the performing arts. Paper Department of Dramaturgy and Department of Music Institute of Aesthetic Disciplines
Hannah, Langsted, and Larsen (2010) developed the IAN-model that helps assessing artistic quality. Evaluation of artistic quality seems almost inevitable in the current reflective age we live in. The IAN-model is based on three concepts: intention, ability and necessity. The model is not an assessment tool but encourages dialogue by evaluating the presence/absence of the concepts.
The IAN-model gives food for thought when talking about artistic quality and perhaps can function as a starting base for feedback in evaluative discussions.
Henrik Frisk, K. J., Åsa Lindberg-Sand. (2015). Acts of Creation : Thoughts on artistic research supervision: Brutus Östlings bokf Symposion
Acts of Creation is an anthology of the discussions between a group of supervisors at Kontnärliga forskarkolan (KFS). The authors represent different fields of art and a wide range of approaches to artistic research supervision.
Healy, J. (2016). The Components of the “Crit” in Art and Design Education. Irish Journal of Academic Practice, 5(1). doi:10.21427/D7RBIV
Healy (2016) gives eight components that should be considered when implementing a crit. Timing, participants, formality, duration, audience, feedback, purpose, and location. Thereby he gives four external factors that can affect a successful crit. Scaffolding, ego, tutors, and technology.
Lawrence, C., & Dickinson, M. (2013). Documenting Verbal Critiques in Design Education. Paper presented at the Critique 2013: An International Conference Reflecting on Creatice Practice in Art, Architecture, and Design, Adelaide, South Australia.
In this paper, Lawrence and Dickinson, explore tools for critique scenarios in a Design-education context and the technology to facilitate the process. The student must be an active participant, there needs to be comprehensive Communication, the feedback must be both valid and reliable that is without judgment, there needs to be effective management implying that ego’s should stay in check, the format needs to be taken into consideration.
The authors describe tools for critique scenarios. However, no tools are described for mere creative work.
Lerman, L., & Borstel, J. (2003). Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process: A Method for Getting Useful Feedback on Anything You Make, from Dance to Dessert: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
The Critical Response Process (CRP) is a multi-step system for giving and receiving useful feedback on creative processes and artistic works-in-progress. The process puts the emphasis on the artwork instead of the artist itself.
“People who are used to giving feedback from a position of authority – teachers, directors, adjudicators – may feel at first that step three makes them sacrifice the right to tell the truth very directly. But many quickly discover that they can say whatever is important through this mechanism and in the process, get the artist to think more reflective than he might if the opinion or solution were directly stated” (p. 21).
Procee, H. (2006). Reflection in Education: a Kantian epistemology. Educational Theory, 56(3), 237-253. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.2006.00225.x
Interesting article on reflection and releasing creativity by making use of point reflection.
Sadler, D. R. (2013). Opening up feedback: Teaching learners to see. In S. Merry, M. Price, D. Carless, & M. Taras (Eds.), Reconceptualising feedback in higher education: developing dialogue with students. London: Routledge.
Sadler (2013) problematizes the effectiveness of feedback on learning outcomes, more specific on training students to have enough competencies to self-assess. Sadler talks about the knowledge needed is ‘knowing-to’ or in Polanyi’s words ‘tacit knowing’. He proposes a peer-assessment method in order to detect and to own certain qualities. Traditional feedback is problematized. Sadler roots for an approach that makes students competent to recognize when a work or process is going into the wrong direction.
Sadlers ideas on feedback and his focus on building tacit knowledge instead is refreshing. His tools for peer-assessment to enhance these competencies are interesting to look into. Thoughts: the text doesn’t take into consideration the problems that could arise in an artistic research context where doctoral candidates do already have (in most cases) this kind of knowledge.
Volakos, V. (2016). Dialogic Enquiry and Aspect of Interaction in Architectural Design Review of Undergraduates: Classification of Principal Oral Feedback Typologies. (Doctor of Philosophy). Cardiff University, Cardiff.
This doctoral thesis helps understand the point of view of the feedback practices in architectural education. It also suggests feedback typologies based on deep learning outcomes.
Wesseling, J. (2016). Why Write? On Writing as Art Practice. In H. Borgdorff & A. Lewin (Eds.), SAR International Conference Catalogue: Writing. Amsterdam: Society for Artistic Research & The Hague: University of the Arts.
In her essay, Janneke suggests that writing in an artistic PhD context can function as a clarification of a practice or to writing as a practice reflecting itself. Writing helps understanding what one is doing, and also changes the way we look at things and create.
Writing about the artistic practice as a tool for opening up the practice => opening up the practice for feedback.