Correlating Theory and Practice in Fine Art Research

Fine Art Research Network Symposium

Friday, 27 March 2015 (All day)

Event Institution: 


Event Address: 

London Metropolitan University
Room CR10
41/71 Commercial Road
e1 1la
United Kingdom

Event Contact Name: 

Andy Sheridan

Event Email:

Event Telephone: 


Institution website:

Venue website:

"Correlating Theory and Practice in Fine Art Research" is a symposium and forum supported by students and supervisors. This event was initiated by students based in Fine Art departments at; the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea, the University of Wolverhampton, Coventry University and London Metropolitan University. All abstracts have been peer reviewed under the guidance of a small team of senior researchers at the core of the NAFAE Research Network Group.

In the context of Fine Art, the various models of research practice and engagement that continue to evolve at postgraduate level represent a specific strength. Across a growing diversity of research strategies there is a genuine desire to build communities of thought, practice and enquiry. The importance of sharing experience and achievements across institutions and between organizations is self-evident; improving awareness and co-operation will inevitably offer fresh impact and enhanced outcomes from Fine Art research.

Against an international backdrop in which different countries are adopting different models, we are interested in exploring the rich mix of approaches in the UK and Europe. Our intention is the generation of continuing dialogues that will bridge understanding and improve knowledge exchange within our discipline.


  • Marsha Bradfield: 'Mapping Value Systems in Practice-based Collaborative Art Research'
  • Katrine Hjelde: 'Theory and Practice between Art and Pedagogy in the Art School'
  • Nicola Gilmour: 'Privileging Practice'
  • Deborah Harty & Phil Sawdon: 'Interweaving in Hybrid Methodologies'
  • Katrine Hjelde & Marsha Bradfield: 'Future Resource: Engaging with Collaborative Student Work during Postdoctoral Research'
  • Volker Eichelmann & Kingston group: 'We Are Publication'
  • Cilla Eisner: 'Collagegrids: Generative Metaphor and Emerging Composition'
  • Caroline Preece: 'An Investigation into the 'Languages' of Painting'
  • Mo Throp: 'Understanding Practice as Research'

Event Map Location: 


National Association for Fine Art Education (NAFAE)

Fine Art Research Network Symposium, 27 March 2015 at the London Metropolitan University

Correlating Theory and Practice in Fine Art Research

Report on Proceedings

Set up under the auspices of the National Association for Fine Art Education, and organised by a team of Fine Art research students from Coventry, Wolverhampton, London Metropolitan and Swansea, under the direction of members of the NAFAE Steering Group, the inaugural Fine Art Research Network Symposium took place at London Metropolitan University, 27 March 2015. Open to research students and their supervisors across the UK and Europe, the event was intended to stimulate discussion and networking for those working in the field of fine art research. The Symposium aimed to explore and debate the relationships between practice and theory in Fine Art research and education, through a consideration of the multifaceted ways in which this relationship can be articulated, adapted and applied.

The Symposium heard nine presentations, by representatives of Fine Art departments across the UK.

Main themes which emerged during the day included the exploration of art research as collaborative practice, and indeed three of the presentations were themselves collaborations, one between lecturers involved in the Future Reflections research group at Chelsea which reported on  collaborative research between three PhD students there, resulting in the emergence of what was described as an ‘art research institutional critique’.

Two presentations, from Loughborough and Kingston, involved collaborations between supervisors and research students, one reported an ‘interweaving of theory and practice within drawing research’, the other exploring the possibilities of publishing research in innovative visual ways.

Another theme addressed the differences  between cognitive knowledge and experiential knowledge, the latter perhaps less well-understood across academia in general, but, it was asserted, more suited to the practice-based research undertaken in art schools.

A third main theme involved hybrid methodologies; a blending of recognised existing research methods to form new paradigms which may inform the perennial problem faced by Fine Art researchers: convincing our colleagues in the more traditional research disciplines that visual arts practice can indeed produce fruitful research outcomes. The recent Research Excellence Framework high profiles in areas of Fine Art practices might have finally resolved that particular misunderstanding!

The day went smoothly and ended convivially in a local watering-hole, thanks to Linden Reilly’s organisational skills. 


Howard Riley

Swansea College of Art
University of Wales Trinity St David