One of the PhDs I nearly did.

Over the last 15 years I have taught Fine Art, Graphic Arts, Electronic Media, Printmaking, Illustration, Time Based Media, Sound Installation, Performance, Cultural Studies, Contextual Studies, History of Art and Design, Performance, Live Art, PGCE PCET, PGCHE, BA, BSc, MA, PhD, NVQ and GNVQ, ND and HNC, Access to HE and FE, MEd, Cultural Tourism, Enterprise, Entertainment Management and Urban Geography. I have worked at beginner level and with PhD students, I have done curriculum development in FE, HE, and at post-graduate level. I work in partnership, on partnerships, site specifically, traditionally and non-traditionally with learning spaces and learners, in schools, universities, colleges, festivals, nightclubs, galleries, shops, journals, art catalogues, on and offline and in zines. In writing, in performing, in making, in doing, in DJing, in dancing, in teaching, in developing, in negotiating, in dialogue and in monologue. I eavesdrop, I mentor, I’m  externalling and internalling, I support, I meet, I facilitate, I do…..

In many ways I feel schizophrenic, torn, dis-located, homeless, nomadic. In other ways I am stimulated and motivated by transgression, by exploring boundaries, by travelling, by wandering, by facilitating, by meeting, by stopping and starting, by being swept along by enthusiasm, by being stopped in my tracks and resisting and complying, and succeeding and failing, and trying and opting out, and wanting to be something and not wanting to play. I’m an interdisciplinary practitioner working in the very spaces where disciplines are born, defined, maintained and defended. Personally I’m comfortable with my madness – most of the time….

Once upon a time I started a PhD. I wanted to write about why art students don’t like writing and interdisciplinary strategies to help them get going. So I wrote a chapter about criticalities, got interested in my many voices, explored hybridities, and polyvocality, and ideas about unique critical takes, transferability and reflective academic practices. I was reading Bakhtin and thinking about the culture of the weekend as I went out into nightclubs and played records. I was thinking about open bodies and travelling concepts as I wandered around music festivals. I did some more research on disciplinary formation in the University. Where did essays come from? What is a lecture? Why do we defend these forms? Is the university some kind of war zone where battles are fought over disciplinary contexts, languages, philosophies and practices? I used words like separatist to describe my experience of the way in which these disciplinary notions were policed and I thought about border guards and watch towers and things being lost in translation. And then I stopped the PhD because it was a bit depressing and it felt wrong. What is the discipline of a PhD? How is this policed? How can I be so hypocritical? It was conforming to all those institutional legalities I was challenging, it was working with a set of values, an academic and disciplinary culture, that were at odds with my ideas. Full stop…..

This work focussed on perceived intradisciplinary tensions in Fine Art between writing and making. However, many of the questions I want to ask are the same. This work initiated a process of mapping out the geography of the ‘art college’. I asked where is the written element located, in relation to studio practice? How does one travel between these elements as a student? In thinking about these ideas and the students’ responses to these ideas, my thinking jumped about. First, exploring the critical thinking debate, then back (as has happened often since my MA) yet again to linguistic imperialism and to resisting readers, finally I was overwhelmed with a desire to understand to source. So I began to research discipline formation and this lead on to an exploration of interdiscplinarity

After the abandoning this first study I went away and I wrote, and I wrote, about all sorts of interdisciplinarities, and insides and outsides, and contexts, and spaces, and I wrote lots of courses, and articles, and I worked on lots of projects and then I realised it wasn’t really a full stop; it was more of a semi-colon.

Is it possible to function in a truly interdisciplinary manner within the structures of the university? Is it desirable? What can we do to facilitate it? What are the barriers? What are the most interesting boundaries for me:  research/practice/teaching, live/digital, public organisations/private organisations, art/event/performance/music, lecturer/student? What is my experience?

Plan

Introduction

Which disciplinary boundaries am I interested in?

Why?

What brought me here? – reflection etc.

PART 1- What is It?

Literature, Ideas –academic writing

3 key notions of Disciplinarity,

Chapter 1- Disciplinarity in the Arts

Discipline Formation – history and theory (old chapter 2)

Chapter 2 – Intradisciplinarity in Fine Art

An intradisciplinary curriculum issue

Case Study in Fine Art (old chapter 1)

Chapter 3 – Interdisciplinarity in Context

An interdisciplinary curriculum development

Case Study in Art, Event, Performance developments

+ Theory (cltad conference paper)

PART 2

“Chapter 4”Doing It

Practice – visual, performance, event

Documentation and reflection here

“Chapter 5” – Writing It

A range of types of writing, differing authoring voice, interdisciplinary and academic/non academic publications

Theorisation of these practices + examples

“Chapter 6” – Teaching It

Action Research?? – micro case study

“Chapter 7” – Spreading it Around

Partnership work, projects

Documentation and analysis – perhaps image chapter here?

PART 3 – Developing It and Concluding it

Chapter 8 – Developing It

Looking at Parts 1 and 2 in relation to one another

Future Plans

Chapter 9 – Conclusions

Metaphors etc..

 

I think my big question is ‘What does it mean to be interdisciplinary in the University?’

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