International Journal of Art & Design Education

Practice-Based Research Degree Students in Art and Design: Identity and Adaptation

Volume 22.1   2003



Within the United Kingdom higher education system there has been a recent growth in practice-based research degrees in art and design. This constitutes a relatively recent innovatory step in doctoral education, with students now able to submit for examination a written thesis combined with practical work in over forty academic departments. It also constitutes an intellectual innovation in terms of attempting to combine the creative impulse with traditional research criteria such as the need for systematic analysis, documentation, theorisation and so on. To-date little has been written about research students adaptation to such practice-based research degrees, and so, in order to chart the experiences of such students, qualitative interviews were undertaken with 50 research students at various UK universities. This paper based on those interviews examines one dimension of how students adapt to this kind of study, focusing on their conceptions of identity.