JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for PHD-DESIGN Archives


PHD-DESIGN Archives

PHD-DESIGN Archives


PHD-DESIGN@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

PHD-DESIGN Home

PHD-DESIGN Home

PHD-DESIGN  February 2008

PHD-DESIGN February 2008

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Pragmatism, Mixed Methods, Practice-Based Design, and Completed Dissertations

From:

Gavin Melles <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Gavin Melles <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 12 Feb 2008 11:03:57 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (212 lines)

Hello PhDisters
I would appreciate it if anyone knew of completed PhDs in Design fields
(hopefully available as digital dissertations or contact details to
request this and discuss) with a practice based material focus
(including the production of artefacts or studio projects as part of the
submission - so I don't want design history etc., as the focus), which
make any theoretical claims about pragmatism (Dewey, James, Rorty)
and/or use mixed methods. I don't particularly care what designerly
discipline it is from architecture, built environment, through to
interior, industrial etc. The aim, in addition to other things I am
attempting to pull together in writing, is to illustrate and exemplify a
point. Appreciated.

>>> David Durling <[log in to unmask]> 24/01/2008 9:17 am >>>
I thought that this article, which apparently appeared in the 2  
November 2007 issue of the USA Chronicle of Higher Education, may be  
of interest to members of phd-design list too.

---

HOW EDUCATED MUST AN ARTIST BE?

By Daniel Grant

Job security is a relatively new concept in the ancient field of
teaching art. Historically artists have created, and been judged
on, their own credentials - that is, their art. And the master
of fine-arts degree, often described as a "terminal degree," or
the endpoint in an artist's formal education, has long been
sufficient for artists seeking to teach at the college level.
But significant change may be on the horizon, as increasing
numbers of college and university administrators are urging
artists to obtain doctoral degrees.

We shouldn't be surprised; the M.F.A. has been under attack for
some time now. The M.F.A. has become a problem for many
administrators, who are increasingly uncomfortable with
different criteria for different faculty members. They
understand the lengthy process required to earn a doctorate - of
which the master's degree is only a small, preliminary part -
and see hiring a Ph.D. over an M.F.A. as the difference between
buying a fully loaded showroom automobile and a chassis.
Administrators like the background Ph.D.'s have in research,
publishing, and grant writing (though if their principal concern
were the teaching of studio art to undergraduates, they wouldn't
focus so much on the doctorate).

Holders of M.F.A.'s - often adjunct instructors or would-be
instructors at universities - have noticed the trend, and many
believe that their degree holds them back in a realm where
advancement and larger salaries go to Ph.D.'s.

The most recent development in the studio-doctorate trend is the
creation of the new Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual
Arts in Portland, Me., which offered its first classes this past
May for a Ph.D. program in philosophy, aesthetics, and art
theory. A studio M.F.A. is a prerequisite for admissions, and
the institute's president claims that the program "will provide
rigorous training that will help artists expand their studio
practice." His aim is to turn artists into theoreticians of art,
fully versed in critical theory and able to teach it at the
college level, but still be practicing artists.

Other doctorate programs can be found at the University of
Rochester, Ohio University, and Texas Tech University (though a
large percentage of their students have performing, literary, or
studio-art backgrounds). More may be on the way: The School of
the Art Institute of Chicago, the California Institute of the
Arts, and the Rhode Island School of Design are expected to be
offering studio doctorates within the next several years.

Studio doctorate programs do have high-minded and practical
aspects. They try to make artists better versed in critical
theory, which would presumably be helpful for their art, and to
help graduates get and keep university jobs. Another benefit of
a doctoral degree, artists and university administrators say, is
the ability to teach a wider variety of courses, such as classes
in art theory and history, previously the province of art
historians. However, the first goal has yet to be achieved - can
anyone name a great Ph.D. artist of our time? - and the second
merely indicates what is wrong in academe, which is that it
elevates credentials over everything else.

And what of the students? Students by and large want their
studio instructors to be working artists. In fact, art schools
and university art departments promote their studio faculty
members to prospective students in terms of those
artist-teachers' presence in the art world, their commissions,
or their work in the realm of nonprofit and for-profit
galleries.

I am not opposed to artists who want to pursue doctoral programs
in critical theory. My complaint is that, without a doctorate,
professional artists are finding it increasingly difficult to
get and keep a full-time job with benefits teaching B.F.A. and
M.F.A. students.

M.F.A. and Ph.D. programs move in different directions. Earning
an M.F.A. means spending another year or so in the studio,
developing a body of work that, ideally, prepares students to
enter the art market. The program is a timeout from the world of
galleries and selling that helps graduates re- enter that world
more successfully after graduation. Doctoral programs, on the
other hand, are research-based.

Pushing artists toward doctoral programs fundamentally changes
their focus and goals. The Ph.D. says to the university, "I am
committing myself to aca- deme," whereas the M.F.A. primarily
reflects a commitment to developing one's skills as an artist.
Requiring studio artists to become researchers as well would
diminish their ability to keep one foot in the exhibition world.
Some might be able to do it all - teach studio art, research,
publish, and exhibit - but not many. There are only so many
hours in a day.

Devaluing the M.F.A. or making the doctorate the fine-art
world's terminal degree is likely to drive away professional
artists who have a lot to offer in terms of guidance and
example. Having active, commercially viable artists working in
colleges and universities is something that should be
encouraged. Are we likely to have artists of high caliber
employed at the college level if they are required to undergo an
academic program that takes five or six years, rather than just
one or two? Requiring a Ph.D. is also likely to drive artists
away from art, as time spent working on the dissertation equals
time away from the studio. Some artists may leave the field of
fine arts entirely, becoming theoreticians, historians, and
fine- arts scholars instead of practitioners.

Inevitably, the years spent focused solely on theory will
diminish other areas of instruction. The training of artists has
already largely moved away from techniques and skills - how many
artists now can mix their own paints or even know what is in the
paints they buy? - and toward theory. Concept-based art is what
a good many schools already encourage their students to create.
The current training of artists barely maintains a delicate
balance of studio practice and art history, criticism, and
theory. Could such a balance be maintained with professors whose
education is weighted so heavily on the side of theory? It
hardly seems possible.

Another scenario is that the same type of instruction currently
offered will continue to exist but will be provided by
overqualified instructors. Aestheticians, rather than working
artists, will teach basic drawing. Performing-arts faculties at
some universities are already seeing plenty of this. (A friend
of mine, a pianist who studied at the Juilliard School, Oberlin
College, and the New England Conservatory, needed to obtain a
Ph.D. in music to get a job as an adjunct teaching students at
the University of Vermont how to play the piano.) Writers, too,
are being told to get doctorates in order to teach college
students. The M.F.A. in creative writing is losing its hold, as
more and more writers seeking college-level teaching work are
choosing doctoral programs that have a "creative dissertation"
requirement.

The shift toward requiring Ph.D.'s is likely to be slow and
uneven, as some institutions will balk at the trend while others
jump in with both feet. But ultimately more graduate schools
will have to create studio doctorate programs to meet the
demand.

We are already on the slippery slope. Before we slide any
farther, we should set out what is actually desired in the
education of artists; what is the balance of manual, perceptual,
and conceptual skills that artists need to have; and to what
ends are those artists being trained. Judging artists on the
basis of their academic credentials rather than of their art,
and devising programs that lead them away from making art, is
absurd and ahistorical. University departments of art history,
the likely employers of this new hybrid group, should reconsider
this focus on academic qualifications. Do we really want to turn
the creation of art into a thing of the past?

Daniel Grant is a contributing editor for American Artist
magazine and author of Selling Art Without Galleries: Toward
Making a Living From Your Art (Allworth Press, 2006).

Copyright © 2007 by The Chronicle of Higher Education



_______________________________________________

David Durling PhD FDRS  |  Professor of Design
School of Arts & Education, Middlesex University
Cat Hill, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN4 8HT, UK
tel: 020 8411 5108  |  international:  + 44 20 8411 5108
email:  [log in to unmask]  |  [log in to unmask] 
web: http://www.adri.org.uk |  http://www.durling.info 
http://www.dartevents.net 
_______________________________________________

-----
Swinburne University of Technology
CRICOS Provider Code: 00111D

NOTICE
This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and intended only for
the use of the addressee. They may contain information that is
privileged or protected by copyright. If you are not the intended
recipient, any dissemination, distribution, printing, copying or use is
strictly prohibited. The University does not warrant that this e-mail
and any attachments are secure and there is also a risk that it may be
corrupted in transmission. It is your responsibility to check any
attachments for viruses or defects before opening them. If you have
received this transmission in error, please contact us on +61 3 9214
8000 and delete it immediately from your system. We do not accept
liability in connection with computer virus, data corruption, delay,
interruption, unauthorised access or unauthorised amendment.

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998


WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager