Dancing between Diversity and Consistency

Refining Assessment in Postgraduate Degrees in Dance

Priority Programs research grant (2007-2009) funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), to examine postgraduate research degrees in dance / creative arts.

Chief Investigators: A/Professor Maggi Phillips (Edith Cowan University), A/Professor Cheryl Stock (Queensland University of Technology) & Associate Professor Kim Vincs (Deakin University)

An investigation into key issues and challenges in developing flexible guidelines lines for best practice in Australian Doctoral and Masters by Research Examination, encompassing both written and multi-modal (practice-led/based) theses. The aims of the project were to address issues of assessment legitimacy raised by the entry of practice-orientated dance studies into Australian higher degrees; examine literal embodiment and presence; foreground the validity of questions around subjectivity and corporeal intelligence/s and the reliability of artistic/aesthetic communications, and finally to celebrate ‘performance mastery’ (Melrose 2003) as a rigorous and legitimate mode of higher research. The study examines ways in which academic/professional, writing/dancing, tradition/creation and diversity/consistency relationships might be fostered to embrace change.

Over two years, the authors undertook a qualitative national study encompassing face to face interviews and industry forums to gather views from the profession, together with an analysis of existing guidelines, and recent literature in the field. The most significant primary data emerged from 74 qualitative interviews with supervisors, examiners, research deans and administrators, and candidates in dance and more broadly across the creative arts. Further perspectives were drawn from international consultant and dance researcher Susan Melrose, as well as publications in the field. Refinement of data occurred in a continual sifting process until the final publication was produced.

This process resulted in a set of guidelines in the form of a complex dynamic system for both product and process oriented outcomes of multi-modal theses, along with short position papers on issues which arose from the research.

For further information refer to publications section of this site and the on-line version of the book: www.dancingbetweendiversity.com