Britain’s Kingston University, with philosopher and professor of Film and Television Studies John Mullarkey as the main motor behind it, has announced their “practice.research.unit” initiative. The broad aim is
to look at all contemporary aspects of PAR (practice led, practice based, etc) within drama and performance, film, music, fine art, dance, and creative writing, with a view to sharing the latest best ideas both in terms of stand-alone research and research-led pedagogy. Its intent is, firstly, to assay where practice-research is across the disciplines right now, and then to take the agenda forward through a number of major events each year (two to three initially) as well as in smaller local workshops occurring more frequently. A pluralism of approach will be a defining trait.
This introduction, communicated to me by John, will be followed by a more explicit and official 'manifesto' once the full website is launched.
The first event of this unit is a one day symposium on 'Capturing Process?', “pitched at both faculty and graduate students working in PAR, be they Kingston based, UK based, or international” and aiming “to establish the problems of disseminating process and establishing a practice research process for our work as practitioners, academics and examiners”:
[…]the challenging terminology for the symposium is deliberate: if an examiner is to read or to see this process it must be retained, disseminated and delivered in a form which the examiner (or peer reviewer, or viewer) can grasp, understand and interpret. By laying an emphasis on process there is an honesty regarding the development and changes of this process. For example, one may compose a piece for a film, or make a film; then one may make a documentary which reflects on this process, as well as writing a thesis about the process, reflecting on the work and on the reflection (this is but one of many possibilities).
The keynote address for the symposium will be delivered by Professor Robin Nelson (Central School of Speech and Drama), other speakers include forte-piano player John Irving (IMR), composer Oded Ben-Tal (Kingston University) and pianist Keith Ford (Kingston University), with more speakers representing drama, dance and film. Two sessions will handle ‘Capturing Process’ and ‘Defining Practice: Rehearsing Applied Strategies’, with a Round Table reflecting on “'Capturing' a Dynamic Process” and a PhD Show to include students from dance, drama, film, music and performance.
Welcome to the practice.research.unit as a new partner in crime. Related news and reports will follow.