Studio Research ‘Shrunk to this little measure?’

Ross Woodrow
2010 Conference

Studio Research ‘Shrunk to this little measure?’ Professor Ross Woodrow Queensland College of Art, Griffith University Abstract The analysis in this paper is based on a concordance of sixty-five research statements supporting visual arts work submitted for peer review to the ERA process in the 2009 trial and the current ERA 2010. All the statements relate to research outputs submitted in the two-digit FoR code 19 Creative Arts and Writing, with the majority in the four-digit FoR code 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts. Needless to say, the statements are not identified and are combined into a single global text, to establish the frequency of particular descriptive terms that might distinguish the differences between research in the studio and work in science-based disciplines. The possibility of a discipline specific vocabulary in creative arts research, and its similarity to established science disciplines, will be tested against concordances of applied science abstracts. Reference will also be made to the concordance of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). The ERA has presented the first opportunity to survey the language used by artists and curators in academe when they are asked to specifically identify the new knowledge, understanding or insight expressed through their artifactual and exhibition outputs. Even though my survey is limited by its singular focus on data from one institution, as is my overall qualitative analysis, the paper will lay the foundations for larger studies from the mass of ERA data being collected nationally. Most of all it will make another contribution to breaking down that final barrier for artists in academe by presenting evidence that the quality of their research resides in the product not the process. Key words: studio-research, concordance, defining research.

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About the author

Associate Prof Ross Woodrow Deputy Director (Research and Postgraduate), Queensland College of Art, Griffith University Associate Professor Ross Woodrow is Deputy Director (Research and Postgraduate) of the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Prior to joining Griffith, he worked in various positions, including Research Convenor, in the School of Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. He coordinated the collection and submission of data from Queensland College of Art and Griffith Film School for both the 2009 ERA trial and the ERA2010 process and he draws on this experience for the content of his paper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Queensland, a Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney and has been active in the national debate on the status of studio research for more than a decade