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This paper seeks to explore the challenges and the rewards of supervision from two perspectives: artists who are employed as lecturers within the academy and mature artists returning to the academy to undertake a higher degree by research.
The University of Wollongong introduced its Doctorate of Creative Arts (DCA) program in 1986. As one of the earliest doctoral programs in the country, this apparent perspicacity was arguably more to do with Creative Arts as a resident faculty within the University, and the need to work within a university framework. This is in contradistinction to the forced marriages undertaken between many art schools, vocational training institutions and the university sector during the Dawkins era (1987 – 92).
From the outset, UOW’s strong multidisciplinary emphasis on supporting experienced artists to undertake high-level creative research through higher degree study has been a distinguishing characteristic of its postgraduate programs. The challenges involved in supervising highly experienced artists, who often have extensive teaching experience themselves, to undertake a doctoral qualification are quite distinct from the supervision of younger practitioners who have typically undertaken early research training through their Honours programs.
In their discussion, Bunt and Miller will consider the following strategies that have evolved over the past few years in particular, and which seek to facilitate the progress of mature practitioners through a higher degree by research, acknowledging the tensions that may exist between the professional demand for higher qualifications and the desire for mature practitioners to reflect on their practices to date; the institutional demand for timely completions, the sometimes awkward fit between artists’ expectations and the structure of doctoral research; the supervisory effort to provide adequate support and advice; and the institutional capacity to support the creative component of the work in a fiscally constrained environment.