Creative Practice Research Strategies (ARCH1429)


ARCH1429 is for candidates enrolled in a PhD or Masters by research at RMIT University where it is being conducted through creative practice research (CPR). Candidates enrolled in other institutions might also engage by special arrangement.  Engagement involves a combination of on-line and face-to-face. Most candidates do this course over the semester, meeting regularly adjacent to working through the online components. Some, who are not located in Melbourne, do the on-line components before meeting for an ‘Intensive’ over a few days. Doing this intensive is dependent on whether your School offers this.

 Consider this course as a collaborative project that you are contributing to and learning from, through involvement.

Register for this Course
For instructions on registering for this course click here.


The aim of this project is to collectively explore ways to articulate and engage in creative practice research (CPR), where this mode of researching is maturing and engaging in perpetual, ongoing development. While it is true that a Masters or a PhD is ‘research training’, and that by enrolling you are learning from those who have a lot of experience with CPR (i.e. the ‘experts’), it is also accurate to say that we are all always ‘in training’, whereby supervisors and examiners are always learning from those they supervise and examine. Together, we are all working out how to navigate the complexities, idiosyncrasies and evolution of researching through creative means, and how to navigate (differently each time) the particularities of every research candidature and/or project.

Importantly, a key outcome of this course is developing peer networks. Furthermore, a key proposition here is that research is always a collective enterprise (see Collective Ground), and as such we are exploring ways in which this ‘collectivity’ might manifest in the shared production of resources and material. Two online platforms are being explored in working with this proposition: a community map and a CPR wiki (discussed in the next topic).

The material and resources made available are premised on the idea that it is almost never the case that a CPR candidate will present a question, design a methodology, and neatly set out to implement this research design. The actuality of CPR research is less linear, much richer and more emergent. One aim is to acknowledge and thereby lessen potential anxiety that can arise as part of the often messy, uncertain, emergent and sometime risky nature of CPR.

You (and/or your supervisor) may disagree with some of the approaches, attitudes, characterisations of creative practice research on this web site. Differences are welcome: the course web site enables you the chance to express alternatives, to differ.  No candidature is the same, and there are no viable templates to follow. The guides, resources and navigational tools offered here will vary in their relevance for each individual research candidate.

Four Schools at RMIT participate in this course, with a key staff member from each:

Wednesdays from March 1st (week 1):

10.30 – 12 (building 80, level 5, room 12)

and 12.30-2.30 (building 100, level 5)

Please see the Calendar for the schedule.

RMIT City Campus map (PDF, 292KB)

There are six modules in this course. Each module is an exploration of a key aspect of a research candidature and consists of:

  1. on-line material in the form of text and video,
  2. an activity, each of which cumulatively develops a research statement and moves toward a final presentation, and
  3. a face-to-face component in the form of a lecture/presentation and/or discussion.

The weekly schedule indicating progression through the modules can be viewed on the site calendar.

For those doing the modules remotely followed by an intensive, we ask that you try to move through each module in the same weeks as the rest of the community. You may, if time differences allow, attend discussions remotely (through the site ‘hangout’ or zoom/skype). By moving through the explorations weekly alongside those attending group sessions you will be able to see others work through the same issues alongside you (on the wiki, community map and/or personal web pages).

Each module activity will cumulatively constitute a developed outline of your research. While each module asks you consider a different facet or aspect of that research, separate activities are not ‘marked’, ‘graded’ or ‘ticked off’ like assignments in any way. Rather, they are first attempts at thinking through certain research dimensions, and can be refined and edited as the semester progresses.
At the end of the semester, having moved through these activities you should be much closer to having developed the articulations required for your first milestone review.

The main ‘submission’ is a final presentation of your research toward the end of semester, that will (whether explicitly or implicitly) draw upon the work you have done across the activities. To some extent this will operate as a trail run for your first milestone or PRS presentation.

If you are doing an intensive, your presentations will occur in that context. Alternatively, you may be able to present to the Melbourne course community via skype.

The Video Archive on the CPR portal contains lectures and presentations, interviews, and final examination videos of candidates of: Architecture; Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Fashion, Sound design, Industrial Design and others.

In the School of Architecture and Design, all creative practice research candidates present to their examiners in, or with, their exhibition. This is not the case in all Schools, and may not be something you will need to do. Regardless, it can be a very interesting way to access a PhD or Masters – where the presentation will almost always offer access to dimensions of the work not available through the written document. As such, the examination videos are likely to be of interest whether you are examined in this way, or not.

 Tips for watching videos

Searching: There are over 180 videos included in the Archive. There are a number of ways you can search the full archive but before you type in a search term or name, or choose one of the listed categories please count to ten while the archive loads – such a rich resource requires a few seconds to ‘get ready’. Once you have chosen ‘View all videos’ and the Archive has loaded, you can use the free word search window or refine the display by choosing one or more of the filter terms. Once chosen you will need to deselect the terms/combination of terms again to undertake a different search.

Speeding up: Speeding up very long videos can save a great deal of time without a loss of comprehension. Different video content lends itself to different speeds, but you can play with this and work out what works for you. By choosing 1.5 or even double speed you can reduce the amount of time required to watch the video and still be able to follow the talk or discussion. Youtube make this easy by providing a ‘Speed” option under ‘Settings’ directly below the video window (when playing in YouTube). There are various ‘plug-ins’ to allow the same functionality for Vimeo videos (most of our videos are in Vimeo). For those with Chrome as their browser one such plug-in can be downloaded here.

  1. Register on this site. Registration instructions.
  1. Once registered, you need to scroll to the bottom of this page and press the green button ‘Take this course’. This will enable you to access all of the modules.