Praxis Now: Frayling’s ‘Research in Art and Design’ 24 years on

Toby Juliff, Megan Keating, Helen Norrie, Zoe Veness, and Svenia J. Kratz (UTAS)
2017 Conference

Christopher Frayling’s iconic set of value propositions in art and design research is now 24 years old. Identifying three dominant modes of artistic research – research-into, research-through, research-for – Frayling outlined a set of values that, arguably, remain pervasive today. Though often broadly translated into ‘practice-led’ and ‘practice-based’, new interdisciplinary models have blurred previously static boundaries. This paper is part discourse and part report. Examining the ever-shifting and often porous terms of higher degree research in the creative industries, we reflect on the value of Frayling’s model in understanding methods and methodologies in new collaborative, inter and transdisciplinary models of research.


We report back on the move towards praxis modes of research methods across the research degree programs at the University of Tasmania, examining how new evaluative tools blur paradigmatic definitions of ‘practice-led’ and ‘practice-based’. Through a ‘conscious uncoupling’ (Paltrow & Martin) of methods from their disciplinary hosts, we emphasise a praxis model of research training that closes the gap between practice-led and practice-based modes of enquiry. With an emphasis on core values we speculate on new terms for Frayling’s praxical knowledge. We set out a range of value propositions for future frames of evaluation. In particular, we interrogate potential models for collaborative practice in higher degree research and methods for incorporating and valuing interdisciplinary outcomes.

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About the author

Dr Toby Juliff is an interdisciplinary artist and historian currently based in Tasmania. Formerly lecturer in Critical and Theoretical Studies and coordinator of the Honours program at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, Toby is currently working as a research associate at the University of Tasmania. Recent and upcoming publications include a chapter on affect and participatory art, jurisprudence and contemporary art, and catalogue essays for majoring touring exhibitions of Michelle Nikou.

Dr Megan Keating is a multidisciplinary artist, crossing installation, painting and animation. Her works explore intersections between the natural environment, technology and culture. Meg is particularly interested in traditional paper cutting folk art techniques, which she re-contextualises through new media, painting and cut-out works. Meg has expertise in HDR coordination, HDR training, visual arts practice and contemporary painting and is currently the Research Coordinator at the School of Creative Arts and Graduate Research Coordinator for the College of Arts, Law, and Education.

Dr Helen Norrie is a design academic working across scales from the curation of ideas through text and exhibitions, to the design of buildings and urban environments. Trained in architecture, Helen teaches in the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). She is the theme leader of the Regional Urban Studies Laboratory (RUSL) with the UTAS Creative Exchange Institute (CxI). RUSL is a collaborative urban design research project that develops practice-led research through the medium of design, engaging directly with local councils and communities to examine urban spatial, temporal and social issues in small towns and cities.

Dr Svenja Kratz is a new media artist interested in transdisciplinary creative practice, particularly the intersections between science and art. In 2013 she completed a practice-led PhD across contemporary art and biotechnology in a creative partnership between QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) and the Creative Industries Visual Art discipline. Her research interests include art- science practice, speculative design and transdisciplinary research methodologies. Svenja is currently Science Art Lab + theme leader within the Creative Exchange Institute and works as a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Tasmania.

Dr Zoe Veness is a designer interested in object-based practice including synergies between art and design, issues of materiality and process, and body-object relations. Zoe completed a practice-based PhD in 2014 at UNSW, Art & Design. Her work has been selected for exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, London, Germany and USA, and is held in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Zoe is currently Studio Coordinator of 3D Design at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania.