Dancing between diversity and consistency : refining assessment in postgraduate degrees in dance

Stock, Cheryl F., Phillips, Maggi, & Vincs, Kim (2009) Dancing between diversity and consistency : refining assessment in postgraduate degrees in dance. West Australian Academy of the Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, Western Australia.


This publication is the culmination of a 2 year Australian Learning and Teaching Council's Project Priority Programs Research Grant which investigates key issues and challenges in developing flexible guidelines lines for best practice in Australian Doctoral and Masters by Research Examination, encompassing the two modes of investigation, written and multi-modal (practice-led/based) theses, their distinctiveness and their potential interplay. The aims of the project were to address issues of assessment legitimacy raised by the entry of practice-orientated dance studies into Australian higher degrees; examine literal embodiment and presence, as opposed to cultural studies about states of embodiment; foreground the validity of questions around subjectivity and corporeal intelligence/s and the reliability of artistic/aesthetic communications, and finally to celebrate ‘performance mastery’(Melrose 2003) as a rigorous and legitimate mode of higher research. The project began with questions which centred around: the functions of higher degree dance research; concepts of 'master-ness’ and ‘doctorateness’; the kinds of languages, structures and processes which may guide candidates, supervisors, examiners and research personnel; the purpose of evaluation/examination; addressing positive and negative attributes of examination. Finally the study examined ways in which academic/professional, writing/dancing, tradition/creation and diversity/consistency relationships might be fostered to embrace change.

Over two years, the authors undertook a qualitative national study encompassing a triangulation of semi-structured face to face interviews and industry forums to gather views from the profession, together with an analysis of existing guidelines, and recent literature in the field. The most significant primary data emerged from 74 qualitative interviews with supervisors, examiners, research deans and administrators, and candidates in dance and more broadly across the creative arts. Qualitative data gathered from the two primary sources, was coded and analysed using the NVivo software program. Further perspectives were drawn from international consultant and dance researcher Susan Melrose, as well as publications in the field, and initial feedback from a draft document circulated at the World Dance Alliance Global Summit in July 2008 in Brisbane. Refinement of data occurred in a continual sifting process until the final publication was produced.

This process resulted in a set of guidelines in the form of a complex dynamic system for both product and process oriented outcomes of multi-modal theses, along with short position papers on issues which arose from the research such as contested definitions, embodiment and ephemerality, ‘liveness’ in performance research higher degrees, dissolving theory/practice binaries, the relationship between academe and industry, documenting practices and a re-consideration of the viva voce.

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ID Code: 27955
Item Type: Book
Additional URLs:
Keywords: dance , mulit-modal theses , postgraduate assessment , exegesis , embodied knowledge, HERN
ISBN: 9780980606409
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Dance (190403)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Dance
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Maggi Phillips, Cheryl Stock and Kim Vincs
Copyright Statement:

Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 2.5 Australia Licence.

Work must be attributed to the original authors including the folloiwng statement: Support for the original work was provided by the Asutralian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Deposited On: 20 Nov 2009 00:02
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015 15:12

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