Practice-Based Research Doctoral Training Programme

In the contemporary creative technologies research environment, which crosses multiple disciplines, text alone does not adequately describe what we do as researchers in dance, design, drama, fine art, music, information technology, performing arts and photography.  You will have an opportunity to learn from world leading experts in practice-based research through our tailored seminar series and tutorials designed to meet your needs at different stages of progress in your studies –

Introduction to practice-based research - an introduction to the basic philosophy of research and the role of the artefact, new knowledge and alternative approaches to generating, representing and validating that knowledge. Ethics and the conduct of the research. Describing the problem, context, methods and outcomes.

Theory and Practice – a considered review of different frameworks for relating theory and practice. How does one inform the other? What is required of practice to enable the generation of new knowledge and theory? What are the questions that are essentially addressed through professional practice? What is required of theory to ensure that it is of value in practice? How is theory employed in practice?

Methodology - practice-based research requires the researcher to recognise the ways in which subjective and expressive imperatives of creativity must be integrated with the objective and critical stance of intellectual enquiry.  Here we prepare you for study of the critical, analytical and reflective processes that that give structure to a practice-based research project, including: action research models, reflection in practice, reflection on practice, qualitative data analysis and bespoke mixes of research methods.  These will be contextualised within the frame of both collaborative and individual practice as well as defining ways to ensure reliability and validity of practical outcomes.

Documentation and the Thesis - alternative thesis structures. The required elements of the text: methodology, state of the art, claims and evaluation. Describing process and product in relation to new knowledge. Thesis writing styles. Note that the term ‘thesis’ is used as a generic term to also cover ‘exegesis' and ‘contextual commentary’.

Demonstration and Evaluation - how to evaluate appropriately in the context of practice and demonstrate that the claims in the thesis are valid. Interviewing, observing and surveying. Obtaining and reporting expert and/or peer group opinion. Participant observation. Audience/user experience.

Case Studies – we provide you with examples of successful practice-based PhDs from DMU and elsewhere, selected so as to show a range of different valid approaches. Discussion from the perspective of current research students’ experiences.

In addition, we provide online support and expect you to participate in our research community activities.

Our researchers and PhD supervisors include:
Professor Ernest Edmonds Doctoral Training Programme coordinator – digital artist and international expert on creative human-computer interaction
Dr Sally Doughty – international dance and performance artist
Professor Simon Emmerson – composer, electroacoustic performance director
Professor Peter Ford – designer, specializing resource efficient design
Dr Helena Goldwater – drama, new performance and paintings
Dr Tracy Harwood – usability of new technologies, spaces and places, virtual and augmented reality
Professor Leigh Landy - electroacoustic music, experimental music, contemporary performance, new media arts
Max Mosscrop – contemporary art practice
Dr Mike Simmons  - creative photography
Dr Sophy Smith – composer, performer and specialist in professional arts practice 
Dr Craig Vear - intermedial performance, in vivo experimentation, embodiment philosophy
Professor John Young – composer, electroacoustic music, multi-channel loudspeaker environments

Application Process

Applicants should complete the Application Form and submit it to De Montfort University. Reference forms should be passed to the two referees for completion.

The admission points onto the Doctoral Programme are 1 October, 1 January and 1 April.

Applications are accepted for full time (typically 36-48 months) and part-time (typically 56-66 months) modes.
It is possible for students based overseas to study on the 'International Programme' where the students spends almost all their time in their home country. However, the admission requirements for such students are higher than they are for students who study in Leicester, an experienced local supervisor to the student is also required.