Building distributed leadership for effective supervision of creative practice higher research degrees : final report 2014

Hamilton, Jillian , Carson, Susan J., & Ellison, Elizabeth (2014) Building distributed leadership for effective supervision of creative practice higher research degrees : final report 2014. Office for Learning and Teaching, Australian Government, Sydney, NSW.

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Building distributed leadership for effective supervision of creative practice higher research degrees is an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) funded project, conducted in partnership between Queensland University of Technology, The University of Melbourne, Auckland University of Technology, University of New South Wales and University of Western Sydney.

The project was initiated to develop a cooperative approach to establishing an understanding of the contextual frameworks of the emergent field of creative practice higher degrees by research (HDRs); capturing early insights of administrators and supervisors; gathering exemplars of good practices; and establishing an in-common understanding of effective approaches to supervision.

To this end, the project has produced:

• A literature review, to provide a research foundation for creative practice higher research degree supervision (Chapter 3).

• A contextual review of disciplinary frameworks for HDR programs, produced through surveys of postgraduate research administrators (Section 4.1), and an analysis of institutional materials and academic development programs for supervisors (Section 4.2).

• A National Symposium, Effective Supervision of Creative Arts Research Degrees (ESCARD), at QUT in Brisbane in February 2013, with 62 delegates from 20 Australasian Universities, at which project findings were disseminated, and delegates presented case studies and position papers, and participated in discussions on key issues for supervisors (Appendix 1).

• Resources, including a booklet for supervisors: 12 Principles for the Effective Supervision of Creative Practice Higher Research Degrees, which encapsulates attitudes, insights and good practices of experienced and new supervisors. It was produced through a content analysis of interviews with twenty-five supervisors in creative disciplines (visual and performing arts, music, new media, creative writing and design) (Printed booklet, PDF, Appendix 3).

• A project website to disseminate project outcomes, which holds project findings, relevant references, and a repository of case studies and position papers by supervisors and program administrators.

• A call for papers for a special issue ‘Supervising Practice: Perspectives on the Supervision of Creative Practice Research Higher Degrees’ of ACCESS Journal: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies (ERA ranked A quality) in 2014 (Appendix 2).

• A community of supervisory practice initiated through project partnerships, a national symposium where supervisors from across Australasia met in dialogue for the first time, resource sharing, and joint publishing opportunities.

• A set of recommendations for supervision capacity building and academic development, produced through the triangulation of literature and contextual reviews, analysis of institutional frameworks, interviews with supervisors and national dialogues.

It is anticipated that the project’s outcomes will support experienced and new supervisors in this emergent field, and so benefit HDR students, and will enable creative disciplines to build supervision capacity, and so to accommodate growth in postgraduate enrolments.

Funded as a pilot project, the project set out to establish a robust research base to provide a foundation for future work involving sharing good practices, resource building, and designing effective approaches to academic development for supervisors. Recommendations that were produced out of this project include the need to extend beyond generic, formal training for supervisors to academic development that harnesses and extends distributed leadership; focuses on local, disciplinary contexts; has a strong emphasis on case studies; provides diverse resources; and facilitates dialogue between supervisors. Recommendations also include developing frameworks for mentoring new supervisors and building a national network to facilitate cross-institutional discourse, disseminate good practices, and share insights into the management of risk factors, ethical issues, and preparing candidates for examination. As a pilot investigation, the outcomes of this project lay the ground for this future work.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 66129
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional Information: This report can be downloaded from the Office for Learning and Teaching web site
Additional URLs:
Keywords: PhD, Creative arts research, Practice-led research, postgraduate , supervision, Higher Degrees Research , HDR, HERN
ISBN: 9781743613245
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Innovation (120302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > OTHER STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190999) > Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified (199999)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Research Centres > Higher Education Research Network
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Authors & Office for Learning and Teaching
Copyright Statement: With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this document is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence ( The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence ( Requests and inquiries concerning these rights should be addressed to: Office for Learning and Teaching Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research, and Tertiary Education GPO Box 9880, Location code N255EL10 Sydney NSW 2001 <>
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2014 05:15
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2014 00:51

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