Contextual and conceptual ambiguities in supervision of artistic research : experiences from Konstnärliga forskarskolan

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To accept the nomination to become the supervisor of a PhD candidate is not only to step into a specific, challenging and potentially rewarding relationship, but also to enter a new zone of uncertainty: what kind of contribution to this relationship is expected from me? In what ways is this new professional task framed and supported by the institutional context to which I belong? What do I gain from becoming a supervisor? In this chapter we draw together our experiences of spending many hundreds of hours listening to and discussing with supervisors of PhD candidates from a wide variety of research domains. We use our experiences from ten years of arranging pedagogical support for supervisors in the form of courses and seminars, and use what we have learned in these meeting places as material to describe how we perceive the cultural and contextual conditions for supervising PhD candidates both in general and in the emerging field of artistic research. The aim is therefore not to describe or evaluate our pedagogical efforts, but to use what we have encountered and reflected on in seminars with supervisors over the years. Another aim is to shed some light on the cultural and contextual conditions for supervising artistic research by comparing and contrasting the situation of the supervisors in this relatively new field with the situation in other fields of research. A more personal aim is to try to disentangle some of the persistent puzzlement that followed us through the years with Konstnärliga forskarskolan (KFS). Why was it that over and over again we were troubled by a feeling that the supervisors, compared to our expectations, were not regarded as being crucially important for the development of artistic research?

In this chapter we will first discuss the importance of supervisors for doctoral education and for the regeneration and development of research, both in general and for new fields, with continuous references to artistic research, as it was mirrored to us through KFS. We will then continue along a road where we look at a number of contextual conditions (such as the learning trajectories of artists) and practiced concepts (such as interdisciplinarity and practice-based research), where we have experienced intriguing differences in artistic research when compared to other research environments. Finally, we offer two scenarios staging the institutional and cultural conditions for supervising artistic research in two quite different ways. They are constructed as ideal types and as a tool to disentangle some of the ambiguities supervisors have to face in the real settings where they meet their PhD candidates, and where everything is mixed up, as in life itself. Finally, we end our chapter by pointing out a ghost scenario, which we hope will disappear with the continued development of artistic research.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Konst
  • Utbildningsvetenskap
Titel på värdpublikationActs of Creation : thoughts on artistic research supervision
RedaktörerHenrik Frisk, Karin Johansson, Åsa Lindberg-Sand
FörlagBrutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
ISBN (tryckt)9789187483165
StatusPublished - 2015
Peer review utfördJa