FAQS

The artwork (not theory or art history) is the research.’ That seems like an interesting concept (if not a contentious statement) and I’m wondering if you could expand on that or elaborate on the philosophy behind ‘art as research?

The artwork is indeed the research, or certainly plays a major role in it. These kinds of projects tend to have a strong focus on what contribution to knowledge can be made through or by the practice, either within their own terms or through a process of contextualization and dialogue with the written part of the submission. What we are particularly interested in at Ti is projects in which there is the potential for a lively and vital relationship between the theoretical and practical aspects of the project, i.e. one on which practice is neither propped up by theory or serving solely to illustrate theoretical or philosophical concepts.

Can I apply graduate level credits gained elsewhere towards this program, or transfer into the course halfway if I’ve undertaken part of a similar research project elsewhere?

Unfortunately neither of those options is currently a possibility as a result of the structure and nature of the program and its accreditation with Plymouth University.

I am already approved for a FAFSA/Stafford Loan in the United States. May I use this loan for your school?

You will be a student at Plymouth University. Since you will be out of the country only for part of the academic year Title IV loans can not be applied. Plymouth University and Transart Institute are eligible for the private student loans which are available through Sallie Mae International. Our school code is 023521.

Why would someone already holding an MFA want to consider a PhD in Studio Arts?

There are many reasons one might wish to advance her studies. Doctoral work is an opportunity to gain another level of expertise, to dive deeper into the questions that drive your artistic practice, to locate this practice in one or more appropriate contexts (relevant theories, ideas, agenda, historical and  contemporary art practices). Depending on the specificities of the project, trans-disciplinary contributions to knowledge are also a real (and growing) possibility. It’s a very exciting time for us.

How would getting a PhD in Studio Arts help advance a teaching career at the college level (if aN MFA is considered a terminal degree and the Art Department Chair would only need a PhD)?

In the US at the moment the MFA is still considered a terminal degree. Other countries do not make much of a distinction between master’s degrees. The practice-based PhD has existed in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand since the nineties and Continental Europe is catching up. In the US, a studio PhD will distinguish you in a pool of 300 job applicants, less so in the UK.

Why do you think an Art History PhD (artist) student should move to a studio based PhD program?

If you do not have a studio or curatorial-based practice it doesn’t make sense to switch but if you are one of those PhD students that went to an Art History program because there was no other way to do a PhD it might make a lot of sense. The practice-based PhD at Transart is for working artists that wish to tightly integrate research and artistic endeavour, people that have questions that they have been trying to answer in their artistic practice and with artistic means. Undertaking a PhD provides a reflective context in which those questions can be unpacked, examined and answered in a rigorous fashion.

How does it work?

Basically, in your first year (on the MPhil) you develop a project in which your creative practice is the research, in the two following years you carry it out, reflect and integrate your findings into your artistic practice, then wrap it all up in a thesis that can take on any form you and your advisors agree upon.

Who will I be studying with?

In your first year you participate fully in the Transart residency and can choose from a range of workshops and seminars with changing topics each summer. On the PhD project your first advisor (director of studies) will come from Transart, your second advisor from Plymouth University, a third can be added if needed.

I don’t really need an MPhil, can I go straight to the PhD?

The MPhil is a necessary stage and can not be omitted. As a degree it is an “exit award” when for some reason someone does not continue with their project beyond the first 18 months. The MPhil will only be awarded for a substantially developed proposal.

I’d love to talk and see if there is a chance that I can teach either for a tuition waiver or by any other means. Please let me know if I should come and make a portfolio and teaching philosophy presentation for this.

Teaching opportunities are very limited as Transart does not have an undergraduate program and the MFA Creative Practice is based on individual projects with a small taught portion. Proposals are welcome and can be submitted. Faculty and students reviews all proposals and selects a few for new input every summer.

Should I contact Prof. N.N. directly to meet up or to send my proposal?

Transart will find the right advisor for your project. This is the first step after a formal application. A specific person may or may not be available for your PhD project. The Insitute will contact your choice and a few other faculty once there is a formal proposal from you.

I currently have a rather long partial draft – If possible I would like to get some feedback on this?

If you would like support completing your proposal Transart offers advisement in an independent study format.

If I need more than three years to finish, how long can I take to finish and are there fees?

You have the option to extend your studies for a completion year. You may work independently or with your advisors. You will be invoiced only for the fees of working with your advisor based on a $2000 annual fee for DoS and/or pro-rated based on your requirements (additional fees will apply for consultants and reviewers). 

What is the projected cost of a summer residency; same question for a fall and spring residency (not including airfare)?

You should budget for around $500 per week unless you stay with someone.

I’m concerned as to what the outcome of a practice based PhD might be, some people I’ve met who’ve undertaken one seem to be in a limbo between practice and research, neither truly academics with unique bodies of specialist knowledge nor vital artists with highly productive practices. I fear that one would be simply subsumed by the academic mill rather than transformed and empowered by the experience.

We too have met a number of practice-based PhD graduates that are in the limbo you describe and they are most often not so involved in art making any more. That said, we also have a number of PhD graduates who teach on our Faculty who are very much committed to their creative practices! Transart’s focus is as always on a creative practice. As an institute interested in alternative pedagogy, our goal is to make a program where this practice does not get lost. We’re very interested in the interaction between theory and practice, of course, but in our eyes the practice must always come first. For us, it’s important that the relationship between the two stays lively and balanced at all times. In the US Transart is the first to offer a studio-based PhD and we see this as an opportunity to go beyond the established British path, though with British institutional academic support and experience.

I am working part time as a teacher and I wonder if it is possible to combine both things?

Most students at Transart have work obligations, often in higher education, so this should not be a problem. However, PU does advise students that to complete a PhD full time they need to commit 37 hours per week on average to their research.

Can Transart sign a Loan Deferment Form for me?

Yes, please contact the PU registrar once you are a fully enrolled student in the program.