I am a Professor at Goldsmiths College, University of London. I started this blog when I worked at City University, Hong Kong, in the School of Creative Media with undergraduate and graduate artists and theorists from art, design, social sciences and computer science. My PhD thesis Taste, Teaching and the Utah Teapot: creative, gender, aesthetic and pedagogical issues surrounding the use of electronic media in art and design education, with particular reference to hypertext applications. (Warwick University, 1995) was in arts education, with primary research into electronic art, university-level teaching and gender. My teaching, art practice and research are in the area of digital arts and humanities.
I have supervised five practice/theory PhDs to completion, have three students submitting in the next six months and have examined another eight PhD students. I specialise in the supervision and examination of research that crosses disciplines and uses a mixed method, most commonly across new media, arts and science.
Back in the day, I was lucky to have a highly conscientious PhD supervisor, David Jenkins. Ignorance is bliss. When I think of it now, I’m amazed that he took me on. He agreed to meet me for a brief but intense conversation before one of his chess games, which I followed up with a no doubt appalling PhD proposal. How fortunate I was that he was my supervisor! Here’s a little more about my journey from first generation graduate to PhD.
The history of the course
I was formally trained in PhD supervision in 2000 at University of Westminster. Since then I have followed and contributed to international debate about what constitutes practice-based research in the arts, the pros and cons of doing such as PhD and how to do practice-based research. Recently, I took part in a discussion that lead to a set of recommendations sent to the College Arts Association about whether the MFA should remain as the terminal arts degree in the US. I continue to talk with colleagues about how best to structure art-science PhDs. All these experiences and interests inform this blog but this is not the place where I unfold that thinking.
A practical guide
This is intended as a guide to help you get your PhD done, rather than being a thought piece about what a PhD might be, though at times I will pontificate (as most professors do). In an international academic culture where professors work a typical ten hour day, most of us cannot spend as much time, one-on-one, with PhD researchers as we used to. It is ever more important that the time we do have is used wisely and that PhD researchers take advantage of flexible learning tools to develop their reading, writing and research. That’s one of the reasons I designed this course. In 2013 I taught the first version of this course and the materials were stored on an intranet. I am transferring my teaching materials to this blog.
Jane Prophet, September 2015 (updated November 2016)