Research Methods Course

Research Methods for Critical and Creative Practice

WEEK 1 What does it mean to be a researcher in an Art & Design College?

The National College of Art and Design has four academic schools – Design, Education, Fine Art and Visual Culture. The question is explored from the perspective of each of the Schools, with a view to supporting understanding of the nature and breadth of research that is possible at postgraduate level and beyond.


WEEK  2.  What is a Method? Dr Lisa Godson

This lecture will introduce questions of method and methodology, drawing upon traditional approaches, how these relate to the diverse disciplinary perspectives within NCAD and what it means to engage art and design practices as research.


WEEK 3What is an Experiment? Prof. David Crowley

The experiment would seem to be common ground between the arts and science. Works of art, dance, literature, design, film and music have often been described as ‘experimental’ and arts institutions have organised ‘arts labs’ and experimental studios. In these settings, the term ‘experiment’ appears to have be a kind of ‘license’ to escape convention, and to escape the practical and perhaps even ethical limits which prevail at any time.

In this talk David Crowley will explore different faces of the experiment including its performance (as ‘scientific spectacle’), the practice of ‘self-experiment’ (in which the experimenter conducts the experiment on his or her self) and the dark history of experiments on others who have not given consent, a phenomenon on the rise in the age of big data.


Week 4.  What is Theory? Sarah Durcan and Dr Declan Long,

‘Artistic practices are “ways of doing and making” that intervene in the general distribution of ways of doing and making as well as in the relationships they maintain to modes of being and forms of visibility’.

Jacques Rancière, ‘The Distribution of the Sensible: Politics and Aesthetics’, in The Politics of Aesthetics, trans. by Gabriel Rockhill (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), pp. 7–14 (p. 8).


Theory and practice exist in a symbiotic intertwined relationship yet this relationship is often marked by anxiety and uncertainty. This talk explores praxis and theory as different forms of thinking which interconnect in the production of meaning and defining a field of enquiry. Do theoretical models drive practice or does practice inform theory? What are the critical blindspots and disavowals in the relationships between practice and theory?


WEEKS 5 & 6.  What are Your research interests? PG Student ‘Pecha Kucha’ Event