n South African Journal of Higher Education - Rigorous science - artistic freedom. The challenge of thesis supervision in an art university

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The purpose of this article is to describe and discuss the role of support services in doctoral studies in an art university. The special question for art and design universities is the role of the supervisor when the dissertation contains art or design productions or projects. Two supervisors are usually appointed, one holding a doctorate and another being highly qualified in the artistic field. The required dialogical and analytical relation between the written thesis and the productions is sometimes difficult to solve, and the definition of these key words has given rise to much debate. Likewise the question of practice-led research has provoked intense discussion. At its best a doctoral thesis containing experimental projects would succeed in finding new ways to analyse the affiliation between art, science and technology. From the supervisors, this type of approach requires not only a knowledge of the subject of the research, but also a creative mind and an ability to understand the artist's or designer's methods and approaches.

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