Practice as Research within the Undergraduate Curriculum
Keywords:practice as research, undergraduate, assessment process, creative practice
Currently, ‘Practice as Research’ (PaR) offers a mode of study relevant to arts practice in many post-graduate programmes. "Practice as research, in any disciplinary area, privileges action as a methodological imperative" (Sjoberg & Hughes, n.d.). It offers a process in which practical knowledge is recognised as a foundation from which to build and develop new knowledge through research practices which synthesise theoretical and bodily investigation. As such, it could be suggested that HE undergraduate programmes which include elements of creative practice should recognise the importance of being able to investigate and research through doing, and the value of experiential learning, and should therefore consider the relevance of PaR within their curriculum. Differentiating between research-led practice, research-based practice and practice as research, this paper questions what PaR is, drawing on a range of postgraduate practices to provide examples, and raising the debate of whether PaR is a relevant mode of learning and assessment for undergraduate study.This paper provides a reflective evaluation of the tentative steps towards the introduction and development of PaR as a teaching and assessment process within the formation of a ‘choreography as investigation’ module on the FdA Contemporary Dance programme at Newcastle College. It highlights PaR concepts and questions how these could be adopted to enhance undergraduate practices. The article considers the benefits of Practice as Research within a vocational based HE programme, suggesting that PaR concepts support a reflective and considered approach to practical work, encouraging students who may not initially consider themselves academic to participate in and be discursive in academic debate relating to processes and experiences within the arts.
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