"PhD Research Considered as a Cross-Country Mental Marathon; Or, The object of research and the fetishism of methodologies"
How can I refresh the topic: what is it to undertake research for a postgraduate degree? On this occasion I shall try to do this by examining the tension between the PhD-as-Shibboleth, the PhD-as-Apprenticeship and the PhD-as-Original-Statement. This requires a sense of historical perspective (‘research’ is a relatively new addition to the accomplishments of a university graduate or academic, and even more so—in its academically specialised sense—to the armoury of the practicing artist), of social-institutional sensitivity (how come ‘research’ is the spice that guarantees creative activity to be socially respectable?) and of psychological awareness (if ‘research’ stresses a tolerance of uncertainty, openness and corrigibility, why do we seek to codify the few acceptable ways of ‘doing it’?). In particular, I will address the question of the kinds and roles of ‘interdisciplinarity’ in this context. I will conclude by considering what I see to be the implications of my observations and commentaries for the evaluation, from the point of view of the ‘External Examiner’, of those PhD’s in the creative arts which constitutively involve a dimension of ‘practice’.