I feel very excited to have been asked as research coach at the programme Theatre Design at Utrecht University of the Arts (HKU). The programme has given me the opportunity to develop several sessions for the final year students, which look at practice-as-research methodologies for thinking about ourselves as practising artists.
The question of thinking about ourselves as expert practitioners, has brought me back to my own experience as a research student in the MA Programme Performance & Creative Research at Roehampton University. More specifically, to the great expertise on the subject of practice-as-research demonstrated by the convenors there. I remember, with great joy, the individual presentations and the wealth of methodologies offered in the program. Their performance has definitely become a reference point for measuring my own.
In preparation for these sessions, I have met with several other research coaches at Utrecht School of the Arts and included their experience as practising artist-educators. We thought a lot about the terms that we use to express the quality of practice and research. I also thought a lot about the problematic association of research with academic arguments, studies etc. (Very helpful for thinking about such measurement concepts was to take a closer look at the requirements for MA research-based projects in Utrecht and London and to implement terms into the discourse with students.) With these interactions in mind, I developed a handbook, prior to the sessions, for the development of a creative research project. This practical handbook clarified the approach, the requirements and the planning of creative projects. All of which, many students may forget again.
My ambition is that the research programme moves fluidly between practice-based and theory-oriented approaches that are offered in other parts of the curriculum. In my view, this will enable students to research, conceive and realise creative projects in performance, to the fullest of their capacity.