Finding a Voice – Having a Vision – Making a Space: revisiting creative practice within the academy

Prof. Frank Millward (University of Newcastle)
2016 Conference

This paper will revisit and explore issues about the evolving position of creative practice and research within the academy. The discussion will focus on considerations involving ideologies and what was once described as the development of an ‘original creative voice’ and how such considerations relate to fulfilling the requirements of a research higher degree. These issues will be discussed in relation to ‘innovation’ and ‘contribution to knowledge’. The paper will look at current business models used in the development of concepts and products. A start-up practice commonly used, is to ‘get the product / concept out there’ even if ‘under done’ in order to see who is interested or if the product / concept can be developed in a ‘prosumer’ (producer / consumer) feedback forum environment. This resonates with the idea of ‘perpetual beta’, a kind of outsourcing the reflexive component of practice-led research, extending and interacting in collaborative engagement with various communities, a testing / feedback process for the ‘like / not like’ feedback with comments loop which is common through various social networks. How are such models having impact on the way students come to developing creative practice-led research where there may be blurred lines about the work in an ‘industry’ or ‘economic’ context.  What is the position of the ‘original voice’ within such narratives and how are the outcomes of the research to be judged when work is developed within such frameworks? What are the wider political implications for the position of creative arts research, the claim to new knowledge and the fundamental relationship that creative practices have with specialist and non-specialist communities and the idea of ‘perpetual beta’?

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About the author


Frank Millward explores the intersection between fine art, music and theatre making, and how technology is turning the arts into a fertile ground for innovative research. An accomplished composer, multimedia artist, teacher and academic, Frank Millward makes visual art and connects it with sound. His research focuses on the way technology has transformed possibilities for interactive performance, and how an interdisciplinary approach leads to new knowledge and innovation.