Throughout the Visioning the Future research, staff and students mentioned helpful approaches in doctoral programmes. The following structures emerged as supportive foundations of doctoral success:
- Right fit: initial investment in student and supervisory team. Ensure that the project has the right supervisory team, and that the institution can offer adequate support facilities for its completion. See Recommendations for Enhancement.
- Monitoring progress. The Annual Review follows distinctive formats in different institutions, but it comprises a form of the following elements: submission of project plans and schedule, report of progress to date, showing of practice, a piece of writing, a presentation and often a discussion with the supervisory team followed by feedback. From a staff perspective, a rigorous Review ensures projects progress satisfactorily and that steps can be taken to resolve difficulties.
For students, it helps them focus, develop public speaking skills, and structure their work.
- Student presentations. Presenting research – which might include examples of practice – allows students to take stock, argue ideas and develop skills in public speaking, learning to communicate to an audience outside of their remit of expertise and to explore different communication approaches. It is an opportunity for students to receive direct feedback from peers, and to expand their understanding of Artistic Research as they attend their colleagues’ presentations. It also contributes to building an Artistic Research community to share research and processes.
- Seminars on academic processes. The academic culture often involves processes that students are not familiar with: peer-review publications, research dissemination, and conference participation amongst others. Learning to navigate these contexts and begin thinking about a career beyond the degree helps students build their future.
The parallels between staff and student views shows that programmes’ supportive processes for progression – such as monitoring progress and the Annual Review – as well as ways of sharing work and presenting research appear to be well received by students as they progress throughout the degree.