But what makes it Doctoral? Taking on the Traditionalists: Interdisciplinary, Practice-led Doctoral Research in the Creative Industries - A Case Study in Academic Politics, Research, Rigour and Relevance

By Christiaan Willems.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines a Doctoral journey of interdisciplinary exploration, explication, examination...and exasperation. In choosing to pursue a practice-led doctorate I had determined from the outset that ‘writing 100,000 words that only two people ever read’, was not something which interested me. Hence, the oft-asked question of ‘what kind of doctorate’ I was engaged in, consistently elicited the response, “a useful one”.
In order to satisfy my own imperatives of authenticity and usefulness, my doctoral research had to clearly demonstrate relevance to; productively inform; engage with; and add value to: wider professional field(s) of practice; students in the university courses I teach; and the broader community - not just the academic community.
Consequently, over the course of my research, the question, ‘But what makes it Doctoral?’ consistently resounded and resonated. Answering that question, to satisfy not only the traditionalists asking it but, perhaps surprisingly, some academic innovators - and more particularly, myself as researcher - revealed academic/political inconsistencies and issues which challenged both the fundamental assumptions and actuality of practice-led research.
This paper examines some of those inconsistencies, issues and challenges and provides at least one possible answer to the question: ‘But what makes it Doctoral?’

Keywords: Practice-led Research, Practice-based Research, Research Validity, Research Relevance, Doctoralness, Authentic Research

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.331-346. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 749.214KB).

Dr. Christiaan Willems

Lecturer in Design & Performance for Stage & Screen, Faculty of Arts, School of Creative Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Interdisciplinary professional practice - encompassing the performing arts, music, television, tertiary education and corporate sectors - has been a consistent feature throughout Christiaan Willems’s 35 year career. A career which includes: stage performance ‘from the outback to the Opera House’; BBC, ABC, SBS television; ABC & SBS radio. This interdisciplinary practice is reflected in both his tertiary/professional teaching, and practice-led doctoral research - which explores interdisciplinary intersections, interactions and influences between music, mime and corporate communication. Christiaan has recently been awarded a Learning & Teaching Fellowship by USQ.


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