Research Advisory Group Session Leader, Collaborative Practices in Research, Chinese Arts Centre

Research Advisory Group Session Leader, Collaborative Practices in Research, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA).

Manchester, 21st March 2013.

Let us begin by considering the space in which we find ourselves today. How our intention is to activate the discourse surrounding research, research dissemination, developing stronger research collaborations for the future, and discussing how we can continue this within and beyond the cultural institution but also as part of the researcher’s independent career development as an academic practitioner. Or as Goldsmiths College Graduate School webpages call it: “wider academic practitioner.”

This session will deal with questions and issues that would be familiar to many who undertake the PhD in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. I will concentrate on the PhD in the arts for the session so that we might all be able to share and develop an understanding of the mutual benefits, the concerns and positive outcomes of collaboration both from the perspective of the researcher, the academic institution and the cultural institutions. Specific discussion will concentrate around training for students in order to become professional academic practitioners within and beyond their affiliated educational institutions. I will then continue the discussion on collaboration, which will bring us back to the original key ideas.

We will consider how this discussion might better place the researcher into the role of Wider Academic Practitioner, while we discuss the contradictions and positive flow between the activities of private and private research, collaboration beyond the academic environment and within the cultural institution, and how we might take these experiences to foster new approaches in which a cultural institution might develop research as part of the activity of the HEI. Taking the specifics of the environment we find ourselves today we will consider how to develop shared goals between HEIs and the cultural Institutions.

Topics covered:

Discussion one – The researcher, the Higher Education Institution, the cultural institution

  • Should all areas of research result from the ambitions of the Higher Education Institution?
  • How might the PhD in the arts affect the expectation of the supporting bodies and cultural institutions?
  • Might it be necessary for academic practitioners to be able to develop concepts and ideas beyond these expectations in order to aid broader intellectual and creative activities within the cultural sectors and beyond in to education, politics, social and civic environments etc.?
  • Do researchers, regardless of gaining or not gaining scholarship, have a responsibility to remain ‘present’ beyond the academic institution?

Discussion two: academic practice

  • What are the positive and negative aspects of an ‘academic practice’ training for art practitioners and how might we sort to reconcile this?
  • How might practice-based researchers in art differ from practices in other research fields, and what might be learned from either side?
  • Are the concerns of integrity to one’s own creative and intellectual processes and progress as prevalent in other areas of research?

Discussion three: Collaborative practice – researcher and researcher, Higher Education institution, cultural institution

  • Leading on from the last point, let’s begin by considering our engagement with each other within the context of CAC (you might wish to look at CAC as a specific example or as a general example of a “cultural institution”). I would like to ask how the collaboration might be established and continued in a way that supports the individual’s ambitions for self-development against the institutional expectations of the HEI, funding bodies and cultural institutions?
  • How might we activate more inclusivity into our activities? Do we feel the need to build inner and wider communities?
  • From the perspective of the academic practitioner, how does one negotiate their research beyond the academic environment if one does not have a “practice” that is easily positioned within a public setting?