The recent mergers of art schools into academic institutions and the consequent proliferation of higher degree courses in the visual arts has created pressure for these courses to justify that their research content 'measures up' to more traditional research practices. There has been vigorous debate within the Visual Arts field about the place held by research and the characteristics of artefacts as doctoral outcomes alongside the written thesis in traditional disciplines. There are concerns that in an attempt to attain academic legitimacy, artistic research may be manipulated to adhere to the traditional and dominant models of established research in science and social science. Some art academics and practitioners argue that the nature of artistic research is often 'chaotic' and such a process should not try to emulate conventional scientific research models, while others argue that an artwork can only be deemed 'competent' if it is accompanied by a written theoretical elucidation. Because Fine Art Higher Degrees are still evolving, current evaluation practices and the criteria examiners adopt, play a crucial role in shaping learning outcomes, research practices and standards. The study reported in this paper aimed to investigate how examiners approach and reconcile the dual demands of assessing both the academic and practice components of a Visual Arts thesis. This perspective gives an insight into the qualities that examiners value in a Visual Arts exhibition as well as exploring the framework and discourse that examiners employ to communicate their evaluation.
Integrating Multiple Perspectives on Effective Learning Environments: 11th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI 2005). EARLI 2005: Abstracts (Nicosia, Cyprus 23-27 August, 2005) p. 1049-1050