PHD in Creative Practice

Transart Institute began offering a low-residency creative practice Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2012. The degree is offered for creative work only: your practice is your research.  Transart is particularly interested in supporting research in the following areas: Identity; Exile; Role of Art in Peace and Mediation; Space In Between; International Diaspora, Post-Nationalism and Post-Colonialism; Home; Temporary Architecture; Cultural Engagement through Food; Foreignness, Otherness and the Uncanny; Publicness, Collaboration and the Social.

Research at Transart Institute is situated within the wider discursive context of ‘artistic research’ and aims to make active contributions to current discussions about what constitutes research and knowledge through creative practice. Current PhD candidates research projects can be viewed here.

Transart’s utopian, post-national model and reputation attracts a diverse international body of students and faculty from equally diverse artistic and academic contexts and geographic locations.

Summer residencies take place in cooperation with arts organizations in Europe. Winter residencies take place in New York at various arts initiatives and galleries. Student summer exhibitions and performances are reviewed, critiqued and curated by established international curators and artists. Additionally, students participate in PhD symposia, research seminars and elected topic-driven workshops, screenings, cultural excursions, talks and other events including the Transart Trienniale, and the related initiatives and projects it seeds.

Course of studies
The Creative Practice PhD—delivered by Transart in partnership with our Plymouth University UK—is a three-year full-time program with an average work commitment of 30 hours per week (with an optional completion year). The doctorate for creative practice includes an extensive written component which takes its form from your practice.  Our PhD course of studies creates a dynamic transdisciplinary context in which to interact with a variety of artists, scientists, technologists, cultural theorists, media practitioners and visionaries.

Wherever you live and work, students conduct independent research outside of residencies in both creative practice and academic contexts with the support of an advisory team from both Transart Institute and Plymouth University. Regular critique and discussion groups meet throughout the year (via Skype) supporting our vibrant and critical international research community. In addition, residencies offer exchange with other emerging and mid-career artists participating in the MFA program and visiting artists revitalizing their practice at the Summer Academy. 

Practice-based research

“Research in the creative arts is about putting art first; it is about foregrounding the preconditions of inspirational curiosity and privileging the terms of creative work”. 
- Robert Nelson, The Jealousy of Ideas—How to do research in the creative arts

The creative practice PhD recognises your art practice as research and was created out of a pragmatic desire to alter the way artists think, speak and write about their work. It fosters a subtle but crucial shift to acknowledge that imagination, creative thinking and problem solving, and the ebb and flow of making and/or social action are important and vital forms of knowledge themselves. And importantly by thinking differently about what we do changes what we do. 

The Transart PhD creates a forum in which your research—the artwork and the ideas that precede, accompany and follow—is nurtured, challenged and above all encouraged. Our a-disciplinary model is designed to enrich artists’ praxis; foster change; facilitate a connection between group and individual work; provide the means for contextualizing work in the wider world; and develop interactive strategies with audiences. PhD research makes significant contributions to current creative cultural dialogue through informed, original, exhibited and/or performed work and documentation.

Process Blog
Each student creates a process blog to regularly (at least monthly) document their ideas, processes and progress and to respond to critique. Thinking of your blog as a laboratory for thought and production you are encouraged to devise a form that best suits your own research, to make it a vital part of your practice where you experiment with presentation, documentation and articulation (your milestones will also be documented here). Student process blogs are a wonderful resource, archive and means of communication for and between the entire Transart community.