Collaborating with the enemy

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Evans, Megan and Gandolfo, Enza (2009) Collaborating with the enemy. Text (6). ISSN 1327-9556


Practice-led research is by its very nature multi-disciplinary. This means that often both the student and the supervisor find themselves, from the very beginning of the project, working across a range of familiar and unfamiliar fields. The postgraduate students we have supervised in the visual arts and creative writing have engaged with ideas ranging from racism to erotica, from blindness to cannibalism; they have situated themselves in literary studies, in cultural studies, in feminist and art theory. The best of these projects produce innovative and challenging artworks/creative texts. The exegesis is often a hybrid and ‘messy text’ with multiple voices and perspectives. As a writer and an artist with experience working in a range of collaborative creative arts projects, and more recently as supervisors of PhDs and MAs in visual art and creative writing, we have found that some of the elements of, and processes used in, successful collaboration also enhance supervision of practice-led postgraduate research supervision. While higher degree research belongs to, and must always be the work of, the individual student, like any good collaboration it cannot be achieved without significant and engaged dialogue, and a joint commitment by student and supervisor to the project. In this article, we draw on our extensive experience as collaborators both in university research projects and in other contexts, on cultural-historical theories that place emphasis on the social sources of knowledge development, and on postgraduate supervision scholarship. We will distinguish the different elements of successful collaboration in a creative context and the way in which these elements can be applied to the supervision of practice-led postgraduate research projects in the visual arts and creative writing.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > SEO Classification > 9501 Arts and Leisure
Keywords ResPubID16967, collaboration, collaborative research practice
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