International Journal of Art & Design Education

A Fresh Theoretical Perspective on Practice-Led Research

Volume 36.1   2017



Practice-led research in art and design has now come of age and can take its place alongside other forms of research at the academic ‘high table’. It no longer needs to be treated with ‘special consideration’ as a new form of intellectual enquiry. The research craft developed by those involved in practice-led research admits them to a broader community of practice engaged in questioning the conceptual basis of how we perceive and make sense of the world around us. The objective/subjective divide that preoccupied an earlier generation of academics has eventually been replaced by a more nuanced epistemological framework able to embrace PhDs that include non-textual artefacts as part of their exposition. An increasing number of academic institutions around the world have taken up the debate and now participate in practice-led research programmes. However, for early-career researchers in these fields there are still many hurdles to overcome, some of which are unique to this form of endeavour, as we outline. This article has been developed from a series of seminars and workshops presented by the authors to early-career practice-led researchers as part of their Project Dialogue programme which seeks greater engagement between the arts and sciences.