Images in Practice is a research project based in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth. This is a collaborative project run by Dr Jackie Batey and Dr Maureen O’Neill who both teach on the Illustration Course in The School of Art and Design.

We are both concerned that currently there is little opportunity to disseminate visual aspects or practical elements of the Practice-Based Ph.D. Uploading just the written elements, as a PDF is not satisfactory. Will doctoral practice – based research, methodology and artefacts adapt to multi-platform digital publishing and could this lead to innovation in knowledge and information formation?

This project seeks to create a model for the future of open source publication of the Practice-Based Ph.D.s in Art and Design. The methods and processes by which artists generate research are very varied and complex. Research endeavour relies heavily on the physical artefact alongside a wide range of project documentation. During this project we would consider how existing technologies could support current and future researchers by incorporating film, audio and image alongside more traditional methods. Existing technologies and social networking platforms can be exploited and tested in terms of allowing for a greater online dialogue and more immediate exchange of information and data. As yet, academic publishing has predominantly been narrow in its approach to digital publishing, only reproducing an electronic version of that which does, or could, exist physically.

The variety and complexity of research outputs in the arts is well documented through work undertaken by the JISC funded Kultur (2007 - 2009); Kultivate (2010 - 2011) and eNova (2011) projects. There was an understanding that research in the visual arts is highly complex and varied with a wide variety of outputs which presents researchers, repository managers and institutions with many discipline specific difficulties. Changing technologies mean that the digitising, archiving and retrieval of research data is an ongoing challenge. This project however, seeks to make research data available as soon as feasibly possible with the notion that recommendations regarding digitising can be responded to along the way. 

This project is not seeking to re-design the wheel rather that we use the one we have currently to get practical research data into the public domain quickly. We believe it is now necessary to consider the ways in which multi-platform digital publishing can transform the reading and disseminating experience, by utilising the qualities that existing technologies affords. We aim to consider how work in progress and finished work at this level can be shared in order to support researchers and supervisors and also promote more debate and discussion about practice-based research? We are at present gathering information from PhD supervisors, students who have completed and librarians both nationally and internationally. 

Please contact us if you are interested in knowing more about this project. You may be a supervisor or student who would like to become involved or you may have completed a practice-based Ph.D. and already share your work online in some form and be keen to disseminate it by linking with our site.