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Constellations and connections: The playful space of the creative practice research degree
journal contributionposted on 13.08.2018, 00:00 by Craig Batty, M Berry
The academic space for creative practice research is dynamic and ‘is always in the process of being made. It is never finished: never closed’ [Massey, D. 2005. For Space. London: Sage, 9]. It is a research space filled with constellations of connections, which serves as a vital incubator for risk taking, reflexivity and fearless critical thinking. Higher degree by research candidates working in this space move fluidly between thinking and making, allowing their creative practice to become informed and innovative. They draw on a community of practice – of thinkers and makers – to make connections that form constellations in order to extend and expand what they would usually do. Their practice thus becomes their methodology in an environment that is responsive to new concepts and customs. Supervising research degree candidates involves being there with them in that messy space. When candidates try to organise ideas and practices into neat boxes, and those boxes leak, supervisors play an important role in making sure the content does not collapse. Often creative practice researchers themselves, supervisors are both the guardians of academic standards and the ones who dare candidates to ‘go there’. The result is the creation of a dynamic space for play, where boundaries can be pushed. In this paper we present a series of ideas about and reflective experiences of supervising creative practice research degree candidates, namely in the disciplines of screen and media production, and creative writing. We discuss the nature of the creative practice research space – philosophically, metaphorically and practically – and we discuss the role of the supervisor in creating and navigating this space. We end by reflecting on and how this type of space is not only important for creative practice research, but is also a vital component of the contemporary academy.