Examination of Theses in the Creative Arts Guideline

Document Number000826
Date Approved11 July 2007
Date Last Amended28 August 2009
 

1.0   Context

These Guidelines support the provisions of the Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees and should be read in conjunction with that document.

With regard to thesis examination for research programs that include a substantial creative component in fine art, music, drama, design/illustration, audio visual, multi media or creative writing, the Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees state:

In the creative and performing arts, the submission may consist primarily of items such as an exhibition, a design project, a portfolio of literary or musical compositions, a sequence of recitals, recordings, audio visual, multimedia or other creative productions. In this case, the exhibition, design project, portfolio, recitals or productions shall be accompanied on submission by a scholarly written work of critical analysis, “the exegesis”, undertaken during the period of candidature. This must provide a rationale for the techniques and strategies adopted in the creative component, and must situate them in relation to a theoretical and/or historical cultural context. Where appropriate, it may include a sustained account of the creative process.

2.0   Creative Presentation and Examination Requirements

2.1       Definition:

A Creative Presentation is an exhibition, performance or demonstration of the creative component of the research higher degree.

2.2       By the time of a candidate’s Confirmation Year presentation, it must be determined if a creative presentation will form part of their submission.

2.3      Where it is determined that a creative presentation is a major component of a submission the following conditions will apply:

  1. It is normal practice that examiners will be required to attend the creative presentation.  The administration and costs associated with bringing examiners to the University rests with the School/Faculty in which the student is enrolled;
  2. In the case of a sequence of recitals for Music Performance, examination will involve the submission of live recordings of the recitals and/or other recorded material, together with the exegesis. Where circumstances allow, examiners may attend one of the recitals;
  3. Candidates must provide twelve months’ notice of their expected date of submission to the appropriate administrator of the creative presentation space, and complete any application forms required by the administrator. When a delay in submission is identified, the appropriate administrator must be contacted and new dates negotiated;
  4. Examiners are not permitted to conduct a viva voce examination with the candidate;
  5. Examiners are not permitted to confer during or after their viewing of the creative presentation;
  6. Examiners may request that creative works are re-presented or re-documented if it is considered that the creative work does not meet the criteria as prescribed at 3.0.

3.0   Creative Component Criteria

3.1       In order to pass the examination, and thus qualify as part of the basis for the award of the degree, the creative component must have the following attributes:

  1. it demonstrates a professional level of familiarity with and understanding of contemporary work in the field;
  2. it demonstrates a comprehensive investigation of the artistic form and creative content;
  3. the methods and techniques applied in the execution of the work are appropriate to the subject matter and are original and/or aesthetically effective;
  4. the creative work is presented in a professional manner;
  5. the creative work demonstrates a consistently high standard of literary, visual, digital, musical or performance literacy and quality;
  6. the research question/s has/have been identified and tested through the creative work;
  7. the documentation of the work (including catalogue/program material where appropriate) is thorough and scholarly and is of a standard that will ensure the work provides a reference for subsequent researchers;
  8. there is an appropriate and substantiated interface between the creative work and the exegesis;
  9. the creative work and the exegesis together constitute a substantive original contribution to knowledge in the subject-area with which it deals.

3.2   The requirements of a creative component for each discipline are as follows:

  1. Fine Art
    A substantial body of original art work produced through research undertaken under supervision from the school. The scope of the body of work should be equivalent to that of an exhibition in a major gallery space
  2. Music
    Performers: A sequence of between four (Masters) and six (PhD) one-hour recitals or equivalent. Normally live recordings of complete recitals will be submitted for examination, or recordings with minimal editing. When appropriate and after consultation with the supervisor, recordings edited by the candidate may be submitted as a component of the performance (accompanied by a statement of the editing process and rationale).
    Composers: A portfolio of compositions of approved scope determined in consultation with the supervisor
  3. Creative Writing
    Creative prose (fiction or non-fiction) equivalent to a substantial novel, or the equivalent in other forms: one substantial collection of poems; one substantial specimen of dramatic writing or a collection of short plays; libretti, or any other form of writing that can be regarded as equivalent to these established genres
  4. Drama
    A full length play script or an equivalent collection of one-act plays; a detailed account of a major research production or a practice-based research initiative conducted as part of community cultural development.
  5. Communication
    A substantial body of original creative work equivalent to a program or a series of programs suitable for broadcast television, radio or multimedia presentation.
  6. Design/Illustration
    A substantial body of original artwork to be presented as an exhibition or in printable format suitable for publication or a design project executed to an industry/professional standard.

4.0   The Exegesis

4.1       Where examiners are required to attend a creative presentation, the exegesis must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies six weeks prior to the visit by the examiners. Examiners require this time to review the material prior to attending the creative presentation. A separate digital record must be provided to the examiners on the day of the visit. If all of the relevant creative presentation elements are represented in the exegesis there is no need for a further digital recording.

4.2       The main purpose of the exegesis is to support and complement the creative work by providing the context and background of the creative work. The Degree Rules state that the exegesis must ‘provide a rationale for the techniques and strategies adopted in the creative work and must situate them in relation to a theoretical and/or historical cultural context. Where appropriate, it may include a sustained account of the creative process.

4.3       In Music Performance, the candidate’s choice of performance material must be related to a study of interpretative, pedagogical and/or genre issues presented in the thesis. Performance material should be chosen to illustrate facets of the argument put forward in the exegesis.  In Composition, the exegesis may take the form of an account of the candidate’s creative aims and decisions with regard to structure and technique as shown in the submitted portfolio.

4.4       In fine art, the exegesis may take a number of forms; for example, an analytical documentation of studio production, a parallel critical support to the body of work produced, or a contextual, polemic extension to the work.  It is not possible to stipulate a specific format for the exegesis since it is entirely dependent on the particular nature, direction and outcome of the work.

4.5       In communication, the exegesis will provide an analytical documentation of the creative work.  The exegesis will provide, for example, an analytical documentation of the creative production, a parallel critical support to the body of work produced, or a contextual, polemic extension to the broadcast work.

4.6       In design/illustration, the exegesis may take a number of forms, for example, an analytical documentation of design/illustration process and/or field research, a parallel critical support to the project or body of work produced or a contextual critical review of the project.

5.0    Word Length

5.1       Although there is no prescribed word length for the accompanying exegesis it is recommended that this should normally comprise 12,000 - 25,000 words for a Masters and 20,000 - 35,000 words for a Doctoral submission and should not normally exceed 40,000 words excluding appendices, tables and illustrative matter.

6.0    Digital Record

6.1       An enduring digital record of the creative presentation must be made. For example, photographs of the art installation at the gallery. However, if all of  the relevant creative presentation elements are represented in the exegesis there is no need for a further digital recording. The School is responsible for providing the student with assistance in producing the digital record and in ensuring the highest possible standard for the digital record is obtained.

6.2       The purpose of the digital record is to inform and assist the examiners and be a permanent record for posterity. If a replacement examiner is required after the creative presentation, the digital record would become crucial to their examination.

6.3       Digital records are to be provided in the following manner:

  1. Where the examiners attend the creative presentation, a digital record is to be provided to each examiner on the day of the presentation.
  2. Where the examiners do not attend the creative presentation or for performances that take place over time (e.g. a series of recitals), the complete digital record is to be submitted together with the exegesis as a single submission. The number of copies will be the same as the exegesis requirements (3 copies).
  3. Suitable formats for the digital record include flash drive/USB storage, CD, DVD or paper based printed material. This material may need to be forwarded by standard mail and should be appropriate in size and weight for this purpose.
  4. One copy of the digital record is to be provided with the final thesis following examination outcome advice.

7.0    Weighting of the Assessment

7.1       No weighting or percentage of the total assessment is to be assigned to the creative component or the exegesis.  However, both components under examination must be at a standard commensurate with the award of the degree.

7.2       Examiners are requested to report separately on the creative component and the exegesis, and to provide feedback on the extent to which both components meet the required standards.

8.0    Distribution

8.1       These guidelines are to be provided to all incoming students in the creative and performing arts, their supervisors and all examiners appointed to these students.

9.0   Commencement Date

9.1       These guidelines take effect for all candidates from 1 January 2008. Candidates enrolled prior to the commencement date may apply by exception to the Office of Graduate Studies to be examined under the previous ‘Guidelines for Examiners of Theses in Creative Arts’.

 

 

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved11 July 2007
Date Last Amended28 August 2009
Date for Review11 July 2010
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Policy OwnerDean, Graduate Studies
Policy ContactExecutive Officer - Policy, Graduate Studies
Amendment History

Amended clause 6.3 ii to reflect the change from three to two examiners, which determines number of copies required - approved by Council 7 December 2012

Removed reference to 'hard bound' thesis as this requirement was removed efffective 1 Jan 2012 and approved by Council 27 May 2011.

Re-ordering of text and inclusion of examples - Approved PAS August 2009

Updated 18 October 2007

Minor amendments approved PAS under delegated authority 2 October 2008.