Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice

Page 1

Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice

Relational Knowledge and Creative Practice Š A publication by ADAPT-r Brussels: KU Leuven, 2017 Publisher KU Leuven, Brussels Editors Tadeja Zupancic, Claus Peder Pedersen Photographer Tadeja Zupancic Graphic Design Hanne Van Den Biesen & Sam Dieltjens Edition 1st

Printed by, 2017 ISBN 9789082510850 All texts are solely the responsibility of their authors. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration. Funding provided under Grant Agreement No 317325.

Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice

Abstract The purpose of the book is to disseminate key findings of the ADAPT-r research project into creative practice research. ADAPT-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) is an ITN network that aims to significantly increase European research capacity through a unique and ground-breaking research model. At its core is the development of a robust and sustainable initial training network in an emergent Supra-Disciplinary field of research across a range of design and arts disciplines – creative practice research. The publication offers an inside view on creative practice research. It reflects the role of relational knowledge in the explication of the implicit knowledge and in the creation of different types of new knowledge. The publication is based on the interviews with experienced practitioners from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and art, who are all engaged in creative practice research. Postdoctoral researchers from the ADAPT-r project have carried out the interviews. They identify and discuss common traits across the particular character and research of the interviewed practices. The traits might relate to the way the creative practices structure and examine their work, their communities of practice and research, the identification of key moments and discoveries of the practices work and research, as well as their public behaviours. The interpretations of the interviews make up the main chapters of the book. They are framed by senior researchers of the ADAPT-r project, who contextualize the research into a broader context of creative and artistic research. They also offer an account of how ADAPT-r interacts with local traditions. 5

Abstract  5 ADAPT-r Partner Behaviour  141

Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice  9

Eli Hatleskog, Richard Blythe, Johan Verbeke, Tadeja Zupancic, Veronika Valk, Sally Stewart and Claus Peder Pedersen

Johan Verbeke, Kate Heron and Tadeja Zupancic

Case Studies  17

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour   151

Eli Hatleskog

Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Transformative Triggers  73

References  185

Anna Holder

Appendix  189 Public Behaviours  115

Eli Hatleskog

Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice

Johan Verbeke, Kate Heron and Tadeja Zupancic

The ADAPT-r project – Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research – aims to develop new knowledge and understanding of Creative Practice Research (CPR). The key sources of this networked knowledge development are 33 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), all creative practitioners and PhD researchers. Among the key meta-level knowledge developers are seven Experienced Researchers (ERs). The ADAPT-r community is composed of seven institutional partners, offering their research traditions, adapted to implement the ADAPT-r project. The meta-level understanding is thus emerging from the interactions between the project/research training/PhD model developers, supervisors, examiners, panelists, ESRs, ERs and many others, linked to the process. Understandings of design thinking, public behaviours as well as the emergence of new methods oriented towards the explication of tacit knowledge, are developed collectively, representing an innovative, but not an isolated example of relational knowledge development.



Hatleskog, E. (2015): Public Behaviours: Work Package 1.4 Deliverable 8: Compilation and analysis of combined behaviours (report), ADAPT-r ITN, EU Reporting. Hatleskog, E. & Holder, A. (2015a): Public Behaviours: Work Package 1.4 Deliverable 7: 18 Individual Accounts of Public Behaviours, ADAPT-r ITN, EU Reporting. Hatleskog, E. & Holder, A. (2015b): Transformative Triggers: Individual Accounts of Transformative Triggers, ADAPT-r ITN, EU Reporting. Holder, A. (2015): Transformative Triggers: Compilation and analysis of combined triggers (report), ADAPT-r ITN, EU Reporting.


Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice Johan Verbeke, Kate Heron and Tadeja Zupancic

The project’s work-package 1, ‘Primary Research’, follows the logic of the referential focuses of creative practice research training: 1.1 Case Studies, 1.2 Community of Practice, 1.3 Transformative Triggers, 1.4 Public Behaviours, 1.5 Explicating Tacit Knowledge and 1.6 Explication of Methods. The ADAPT-r investigation on Public Behaviours (PBs), combined with those about Transformative Triggers (TTs), thus represent an important milestone about the second research training stage. After the creative practitioners have already investigated the drivers and motivations of their venturous practices as case studies, and after they identified their communities of practice (they contextualized their case studies), they are able to think about what shifts and transforms their creative practice and how do they relate to their social contexts (they can focus their thinking on the relevance potential of their work). The project work-packages as thematic focuses cannot be taken as research steps literally: creative practice research is far from being a linear process. When creative practitioners discuss their relations to their communities of practice, they expand the previous understanding of those communities, they may identify others, they are not only thinking about their communities of practice but also about their communities of relevance… And they also begin to understand where and how specific individuals and the communities trigger their creative thinking and public behaviours. The last methodological set (1.5, 1.6) is thus not an isolated act; it enhances the explication process from all the previous endeavours.

The first investigation stage of the PBs and the TTs are offering a series of creative practitioner-researcher’s behavioural examples. The second layer adds a meta-level reflection with their compilation and critical analysis. The materials are prepared by Eli Hatleskog, the ADAPT-r Experienced Researcher at the University of Ljubljana, and Anna Holder, the ADAPT-r Experienced Researcher at the Aarhus School of Architecture.1 Both have completed their own PhD in a way that allows them a deeper understanding of the research training discussed. Eli finished her research training in Norway (NTNU), Anna in UK (Sheffield School of Architecture). During their creative meta-level investigation they developed a relational method to capture knowledge on both TTs and PBs. They decided to use workshops and developed interactional interviews with sensitively selected pairs of creative practitioners, as well as some supervisory couples. The relational-type of knowledge from the process of tacit knowledge explication is thus enhanced through the relational-type of research method. Resonance in creative thinking, or in contextual framework, is perhaps the keyword in their interview management. The resonance - in other words: a certain level of familiarity, a balance of closeness and distance that motivates interaction and creative action/knowledge creation. In short: sharing something. This balance seeking is not only present within the interviews presented, but also in all other processes of communities of relevance investigation. Eli and Anna organized and edited the transcriptions of 9 pairs of interviews. Firstly, two supervisory couples: Kate Heron from the University of Westminster and Leon Van Schaik, the creative practice based PhD model initiator at RMIT; Richard Blythe (RMIT), one of the major conceptual ‘forces’ of the ADAPT-r project and Veronika Valk (Estonian Academy of Art), his former PhD candidate (completed within the RMIT model). Karin Helms and Tom Holbrook, Colm More and Alice Casey, Jo Van Den Berghe and Arnaud Hendrickx, Cian Deegan and Steve Larkin, Marti Franch


variations, what is the relation between individual and collective, what is the role of critical judgement, what is the role of the Practice Research Symposium (PRS) as a public behaviour ritual within the ADAPT-r project, what is the relation of different roles within creative practice research (practitioner / researcher / teacher…), the difference between saying and doing, the transformative nature of the PhD process in the relation to public behaviours, some ethical issues and further social contextualisations. The majority of the results are focused to public behaviours within the communities of practice. There are also some instances described that lead to the refreshed understanding of communities of creative practice research relevance. Further research contextualisaton, oriented into a deeper understanding of the motivations behind the PB instances, and the methodological development of creative practice research relevance seeking is probably the next step of investigations into PBs. A conscious reflection on public behaviours by a creative practitioner is means to position himself or herself in his/her communities of practice/relevance. A conscious development of the meta-level understanding of relational knowledge development by communities of creative practice research means to position (and/ or reposition) themselves in their research context. Though the research investigation itself takes us from our comfort zones, the act of (re-positioning ourselves can bring us some critical self-confidence, needed to identify the critical moments in our creative practices, when we need to trigger ourselves and/or others to move forward, towards a higher level of maturity in our creative actions. The reflection on transformative triggers uncovers the challenges and the challengers of creativity, the creative practitioners are usually not aware of. Revisiting, sorting and mapping past work ‘brings to light’ the unspoken issues and triggers changing understandings of practice. Many important triggers are identified from the public behavior situations: interaction with the network, with the supervisor and the panelists. The space of ‘not-knowing’ plays a major role in shifting to the new knowledge and understanding creation – it embraces uncertainty in the research process. The creative practitioners discuss the difficulties they face when trying to recognize triggers through other ways of knowing: intuiting, hunch, feeling and embodied knowledge. On the other hand they seek triggers to avoid boredom, they take risks to find chances. Recognition of triggers is the first step; the second one is to use them being aware of their potential. Acting in the ADAPT-r public behaviour rituals and their 13

Relational Knowledge & Creative Practice Johan Verbeke, Kate Heron and Tadeja Zupancic

Batllori and Sebastien Penfornis, are all RMIT candidates or PhD holders but based at different ADAPT-r partner hosts. They share the closeness within the RMIT PhD model itself. Jo and Arnaud are specific in this group – their creative practice research contextualization within the theoretical mode of knowledge is stronger than in other cases. Siv Helene Stangeland (based at/registered at the Aarhus School of Architecture and Sam Kebbell (hosted by the University of Westminster/PhD programme at RMIT), Petra Marguc and Eric Guilbert (both hosted by/PhD involved at KU Leuven); these couples share the resonance with the model deriving from other cultural contexts and research traditions and demonstrate the openness of the model itself. The compilation and analysis of combined behaviours starts with the general investigation of the reasons of public behaviours and addresses the issue of relevance. It discusses creativity and knowledge types. It continues with a rough definition of public behaviours and modes of behaviour (‘knowing in action’ and its varieties). Then it shifts to the ADAPT-r partnership level and its contextualization. The question is, what partners bring to and take from the partnership, why they feel the resonance with others etc. (what they share and how)? The backbone of this discussion is the RMIT view as the main tradition reference. Other views and research traditions are waiting for future projects and other developments to be fully investigated. Some of them have already been described on occasion/within other frameworks. These other creative practice research and joint PhD networks are also listed in this publication in order to contextualize the ADAPT-r network itself. The core of the PBs meta-level investigation is the interpretation of the interview results through descriptions of instances of public behaviour. This part is introduced by an explanation of Eli and Anna’s starting positions, and their own ADAPT-r specific process for the methodological development. As these issues are not the first addressed in this PhD model, the question is how to identify the PBs relevant issues regardless to the PhD stage. Eli and Anna tested their method with those already having a critical distance on their own creative practice based PhD process and/ or working as experienced supervisors within the framework. The next step was to adapt the method for people from earlier stages of their PhD development. The instances of public behaviours and their contextualization include but are not limited to: where creative practitioners seek recognition and how, how they use language and what remains unspoken (and why), what are the regional

investigations is a research case in itself. It helped the ADAPT-r institutions to explicate our research tradition better than before the ADAPT-r project preparations and implementation.2 It helps us to identify the resonance of our diverse and potentially hybrid tradition within this and other creative practice research contexts, the flows of research influences and the triggers of its transformations. The ADAPT-r findings are relevant for many (levels of) creative practice research contexts.



Verbeke, J. and Zupancic, T. (2014): Adapting to and adapted by ADAPT-r = Prilagajanje projektu in prilagajanje projekta ADAPT-r: architecture, design and art practice training-research. AR, 2, 49-52

Case Studies

Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron


Focussed and Cross Views Outside and inside the research Looking at the Table of Contents, the reader may guess that to make or evaluate a (good) CPR there should be some metaphors, a considerable amount of anecdotes, a particularly original wording, plenty of diagrams and so on. Despite the appearances, the Cross Views don’t constitute a checklist, they are not ingredients of the optimal CPR. This work is much more fragile and unstable than a formula or a manual, thus this first chapter is dedicated to clarify both its own limited territory as well as its outside.

Such a challenge concerns not only the duty to preserve and respect the singularities that distinguish CPR, but also to the need to find a proper place to our own research. To occupy a metalevel position seems in fact to implicitly imply to take a position at regard of the subsequent question: “What is (a good) Creative Practice Research?”. Well, the position of this work at its regard, is 3 While the Focussed Views don’t pose particular problems at this regard, so does the introduction of a further order of investigation - in the Cross Views - pertaining constellations of creative practices. Namely, once this document has been finalised as output of such a process, the list of Cross Views on the Table of Contents seems to freeze all the varieties, differences and singularities met along the path, and then carefully narrated in the text. The intention of opening new horizons - clear in the processes of researching and of writing- ultimately risks to collapse in the image of a normative checklist. We got to know the extent of such a risk at the Barcelona PRS in November 2014, when we presented a draft of this document to the ADAPT-r partners, fellows and to other participants.


The inside. What this work is about If they are not a checklist what are the Cross Views then? What is their very purpose? As the word ‘View’ suggests, they are partial perspectives on the composite landscape of Creative Practice Research. As the cross-sections of a building shows something, while hiding much more, the Cross Views don’t aim to recreate the whole picture or experience of CPR, but just to make visible some relations, certain connections, partial aspects. These elements pertain to three main areas: 1. The use of language (Wording, Metaphoring, Anecdoting, 19

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

The outside. What this work is not about The whole research process that precedes this work, has been informed by a main challenge: to maintain a meta-level perspective, while being constantly exposed and captured by the peculiarities of each of the 13 Creative Practice Researches analysed. How to give relevance to their singularities on a meta-level? How to look across different cases without generalizing? Such concerns have lead us to a systematic refusal of questions like ‘what’, ‘if ’, ‘why’, to rather insist on the ‘ how’, ‘when’, ‘where’. We have avoided making generalisations, synthesis and judgment, in favour of narratives, analysis, descriptions3.

clearly outside. It rather investigates a more feeble question: “How can a Creative Practice Research be?”. This is particularly evident in the “Focussed Views”, singular-practice centred pieces of this work. But taking a deeper look, you may decipher how the same question animates the more complex constellations of practices analysed in the “Cross Views”. Each of them is like a thread that connects some practices not to unify or make a synthesis of them, but to even emphasize their singularities around similar issues. While each Cross View gathers together several researches for some familiarity, within each of them, we unveil differences, peculiarities rather than defining a secure common terrain. The eight Cross Views are not exhaustive, nor do all of them look at all the candidates. They are partial and temporary. The Cross Views should be seen as a field rather than as a list, and their perspective is not to be checked, but rather to be expanded. If there is one sole generalisation that we would indulge in this work, it is that Creative Practice Research is a personal journey of the practitioner-researcher, whose success depends in his/her ability in finding their own unique way of interpreting what Creative Practice Research is. While in other research paradigms there may be clear protocols to follow, the methodologies of CPR are not prescribed but discovered and shown by each singular case. In short: for an authentic CPR there is no room for rules. And maybe the ‘good’ CPR is the one that dares the most to create its own rules and foundations. Thus it is our conviction that it would be particularly dangerous to define CPR once and for all, as it would undermine its very essence. Exactly for this reason, we believe it is crucial to observe and register how CPR is shaped from the inside, how each creative practitioner contributes to the definition of the borders of CPR by developing his/her own original work. The present research - within the precise limits of 13 selected cases in the ADAPT-r arena- seeks to produce a contribution in this sense.

Diagramming. Intending ‘language’ not just as a medium of representation but as a creative performative space);

2. Tactics and methodologies of inquiry (Choosing, Playing);

3. Ways of communicating, or rather “performing” research findings (Manifesting, namely making manifest one’s own mastery at the presence of an audience).

4 The ambivalence of the expression ‘anecdotal evidence’ was brought to our attention by Marcelo Stamm, that told us an anecdote (Sic!) where Leon Van Schaik almost reproved him for using this expression in a slightly negative sense.


5 This should also be seen in continuity between the role of ESR and ER as highlighted in Annex1: Candidates are ‘inducted’ into a community-based supervisory process which will be of longer-term benefit when these ESRs become ERs and, later on, supervisors themselves. Annex 1 p.9


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

From this angle, the Cross Views show the potential of a “chorus” of singular CPRs to build a conversation with other research paradigms, shedding some light on what is specific and distinctive of this kind of research. For instance the same expression ‘anecdotal evidence’ may be regarded either as sign of unreliability or of significance according to different academic contexts, in a similar way, the specific creative and often poetical use of words may be not considered “orthodox” from an academic writing point of view, while being crucial to express key aspects of a creative practice4. This shows how the Cross Views, more than the Focussed Views, can serve to open a conversation with other disciplinary fields. Moreover the Cross Views proved to be productive within the CPR context itself. If they arose, at a first instance, while looking at Case Studies, they finally brought to the surface other themes and research tools. Their aim is in fact not to describe or explain fully ‘Case Studies’, but their ambition is to be productive according to this subject, and beyond it. Not only the sum of Cross Views is not a recipe, but even each Cross View can turn into a trap. “There was a time during my PhD research when I was unable to speak about my practice without using metaphors. Everything was a metaphor!”- told us Veronika Valk. Then Leon Van Schaik pushed her to find other ways to articulate and explore her work. We could say the same for each of the Cross Views. What is at stake is the mis-interpretations of these specific Cross Views as short-cuts: any research strategy, any method, any research tool, may easily turn into a cage when it becomes too comfortable, when it turns into a habit that secures more than a trigger that provokes change. Given this important premise, we believe that Cross Views are not only useful references for reviewers and supervisors to understand and interrogate Creative Practice Research, but they may help also creative practitioners to learn from each other and to

investigate further their own work 5. Each Cross View is creatively named with the verbal noun ending -ing, as such it refers to an in-progress action, and it is meant as a possible operation in CPR. As actions do, Cross Views imply a subject that performs them. Consequently, to give some examples, ‘anecdotes’ are not the focus, while it is the possible use of anecdotes that a practitioner puts into being that is worthy to be noticed (thus “anecdoting”). Similarly, the point is not if you as a practitioner are using diagrams (and so on), but how you do so (thus “diagramming”). Each of the proposed Cross Views may be explored, and abandoned to momentarily test one’s own work. As research tools for the creative practitioners, Cross Views are imagined also as a base for training workshops with the PhD candidates (See Annex). The Cross-views, displaying different researches one close to another, are in fact privileged tools to let the candidates learn from each other, position their own research in respect to the others, share ideas and research strategies.

What are Case Studies? What are Case Studies? Most academic articles would introduce the topic with a similar question, providing either a specific original interpretation or a detailed -yet never exhaustive- review. A term first introduced in social sciences (Frederic Le Play in 1829), having wide success in the last decades in management and life sciences, has been introduced in Creative Practice Research too, where though it hasn’t raised a comparable debate as in other disciplines. As it is often the case, successful concepts prove to be malleable: so the definition of what a ‘Case Study’ is shifts and adapts according to specific contexts and purposes.

6 Here the word ‘Case’ is referred to a project, and the ‘study’ is the inquire made by the practitioner himself on such specific piece of his/her work.

7 Here ‘Case’ refers to a ‘creative practice itself ’ while for ‘study’ is meant the enquiry conducted on it. From this perspective, each Creative Practice Research is in itself a Case Study by definition (Case = Creative Practice; Study=Research). However, it must be noted that generally candidates don’t use such expression to name their research work as a whole. In this deliverable, our reflection on a creative practice is rather called “Focussed View”.


• •

2nd order: (aspects of) a practice

3rd order: (aspects of) a constellation of practices

Within the first two order of knowledge, we shall distinguish the situation when the subject of the inquiry is internal or external to the object studied. It is internal when it is the Creative Practitioner himself/herself that investigates his/her own project (1st order) or his/her own practice (2nd order). While it is external if another researcher studies his/her reflections. To make an example: at the 1st order pertains what Deborah Saunt calls the ‘Covert House Case Study’, in this case the point of view is internal. If a reviewer (supervisor, ER) elaborates a further reflection on her Case Study, here we would have an external point of view. At the second order, with an internal point of view, falls Deborah’s PhD Research as a whole (“Orbits and Trajectories, why architecture must never stand still”). While we have an external point of view in the Focussed View about Deborah that we elaborated in this volume. Similarly, what in the so called “Pink Book” (van Schaik, Johnson, 2011) are called “Case Study” are located at this second order of knowledge, with an external point of view. To sum up: • 1st order Internal point of view: Study by early-stge researcher (ESR) on his/her project External point of view: Study by an experienceed research (ER) on ESR’s reflection on his/her project • 2nd order Internal point of view: Study by ESR on his/her practice External point of view: Study by an ER on ESR’s reflection on his/her practice

• 3nd order Internal point of view: Study by ESR on a constellation of practices External point of view: Study by an ER on

8 The distinction of these orders of knowledge has been suggested by Richard Blythe. See also his lecture Richard Blythe, Three Orders of Design Knowledge, October 2014 available online:


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Our context is the ADAPT-r Creative Practice Research, and we have at least three main endeavours: First of all, we have to define our understanding of the term in order to interpret the materials of the PhD candidates, and elaborate on them. Secondly, we see the opportunity to give wider space to a nascent debate within the ADAPT-r arena. Finally - broadening our horizons to a bigger scenario - we wish to highlight some characteristic features that distinguish ‘Case Studies’ in Creative Practice Research from other disciplinary contexts. There are two main usages of the term ‘Case Study’ within the ADAPT-r context. One concerns the use(s) adopted by many candidates, to refer to projects studied in their CPR6 , while the other is suggested in the ADAPT-r Grant, to refer to a meta-view on a creative practice7. We may locate these two main usages of the term ‘Case Study’ at two distinct “orders of knowledge“: a first pertaining to the singular projects (or aspects of projects), and a “second order of knowledge” when the object of the study shifts from a singular project to a whole practice (or aspects of the whole practice, or constellations of projects within the same practice). Finally a third order of knowledge can be added, when the ‘case’ becomes a constellation

of different practices8. To sum up: • 1st order: (aspects of) a project

ESR’s reflection on his/her practice


“I think it is important also to highlight that as a design practice we rely on Case Studies / references all the time. It is a very strong part of our practice. I see the practice of architecture as a conversation with the history of architecture excavation and developing key themes already present in architectural culture. Only by studying past works in some detail do we deepen our knowledge of and skill in architecture.” Steve Larkin (Case Study interviews)

What if a practice – such as Steve Larkin Architects or TAKA put at the core of its practice the study of other practitioners’ work? And then, naturally, also in the research context, investigates them in depth? How would we call it? Receiving the responses to our written interviews on ‘Case Studies’ we were given lists of projects that Cian and Steve are studying as main references to their work. After a few days, in a skype conversation, they corrected the answer, explaining that there was a ‘misunderstanding’: of course they are analysing the projects of their own practices. We found 9 G. Thomas (2011) A typology for the Case Study in social science following a review of definition, discourse and structure. Qualitative Inquiry, 17, 6, 511-521


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Of course the three orders are connected: even the first order, relating to a specific project, may reflect back not only to a practice but also contribute to the third order of knowledge of the discipline. Moreover all the three orders of knowledge have their foundation and very source in the projects and practice themselves, where the tacit knowledge results are embedded and are grounded on. As we have briefly outlined, the present work, with the Focussed Views and with the Cross Views contributes respectively to the second and third order of knowledge. However we have opted for not using the terminology ‘Case Study’ to name them. On the contrary, we use the expression ‘Case Study’ to refer to the candidates’ interpretation of the term, in reference to their projects. This because the focus of our analysis has been to look at the multiple ways in which their projects play a role in their research. In a broader sense, the research looks at the usages of the term by candidates to test the use of the term in ADAPT-r. We took the challenge to investigate the territory of Case Studies without fixing a definition in advance. The idea was to investigate it for how it is and not for how we suppose it should be. Hence we decided to reduce to the minimum our understanding and definition of Case Study, and opt for the most inclusive definition: a case (a project but eventually also something else) studied in depth. The Cross View “wording” responds to the necessity to look beyond the word ‘Case Study’, in order to search other familiar terms that candidates use to address the projects and objects of their studies. By doing so, we hope to raise the question ‘ how do we name what we do?’ Looking at other disciplines, there is much to learn and adapt, and much to take clear distance from. First of all, Case Study is a term used both to describe a research strategy and a research tool. In general terms, we can say that within the ADAPT-r programme, Case Study is often a research strategy: the research process is in fact fully based on the investigation and production of projects (cases) to such an extent that it informs the whole structure of the research (see section on ‘Structuring’ p.154). The object of the ‘study’ being the practice itself (its evolution, its mastery, etc.), and ‘cases’ being selected projects through which the practice is investigated. However, within the selected candidates, we could also see some examples where a Case Study is just a research tool - among others - (CJ Lim, Guangming Smartcity, Shenzhen, China that is the only ‘Case Study’ analysed for 20 pages in a text of almost 400 pages). Even, we may speak of “Case -or Project- as Research” when a single projects takes (almost) the

whole stage of the research (CJ, with his Food Parliament Project and Rosanne van Klaveren with her Niva to Nenets art project). Moreover, in Creative Practice Research, Case Studies are not used for theory building nor for theory testing, unlike in social science9. There is no interest in any kind of generalization, as Case Studies turns to be the best tool or strategy to capture the singularity of a creative practice. Another recognized characteristic feature is that in Creative Practice Research a Case Study is a project developed and analysed by the practitioner himself: it is crucial that the point of view of the analyser is internal to the object of analysis, that this is in fact essential to enable to the future development of the specific practice. Generally, in fact, a Case Study refers to the practice in which the practitioner is embedded, and not to Case Studies of other practices. However, we may note some exceptions, for instance some practitioners especially at the initial stage of their PhD research - namely Cian Deegan, and Steve Larkin- combine the analysis of their own work, with an extensive study of projects by other architects, calling the latter ‘Case Studies’. More than just an “anomalous” usage of the formulation “Case Study” this reveals much about the practices themselves and their way of working. As Steve puts it in his written interview :

such episode a promising moment, opening to a wider understanding not of what a Case Study should be, but how the language should become more flexible, and increasingly varied and refined, in order to respond to the complex and specific realities of Creative Practices.

Three Metaphors This chapter offers some possible interpretative frames to understand the work at large, namely the 6 Work Packages as approximations of main research phases. Three metaphors -Enfilade, Puzzle and Net- highlight different views on the nature and mutual relationships between such phases. Working on Work Packages 1.1 and 1.2, we have discovered in fact something beyond their singular accounts, not only in terms of research strategies, but also in respect to the overall structure of the ADAPT-r Research Training Model. This is in fact structured around six main phases that correspond approximately to the main six PRS10 sequential events. The Project’s Work Packages have inherited the names of such Main Research Phases, so that each candidate, advancing his PhD work, naturally contributes to the Work Packages. The Work Packages’ names refers in fact to basic research phases: • WP 1.1 Case Studies; •

WP 1.3 Identify transformative Triggers;

• WP 1.4 Identify public behaviours including trans-disciplinary impacts;

• WP 1.5 Explicating Tacit Knowledge about innovative practice; •

WP 1.6 Refinement and explication of methods

These terms were “extracted” by Richard Blythe at the time of drafting the Grant, from more than twenty years of work at the RMIT11. 10 PRS stands for Practice Research Symposia. They are crucial to the organisation of ADAPT-r. At the seminars early stage researchers present their research in architecture/design/arts to the public and to an international panel. Fellows take this opportunity to communicate their research to a public of peers and receive valuable feedback making the seminars an integrated part of the research development. Transition Training and Research Methods Training is organised in relation to the seminars along with Supervisor Training and PhD examinations. ADAPT-r executive board meetings and planning also takes place in relation to the seminars. The seminars are held twice a year: in Ghent in late April/early May and in Barcelona in late November. (source: 11 Many of them are in fact present in the so called ‘Pink Book’: Leon van Schaik, Anna Johnson, Architecture & Design by Practice by Invitation, Design Practice Research at RMIT, onepointsixone, 2011



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

WP 1.2 Community of Practice;

We understood that while the Work Packages (1.1 to 1.6) are distinct subsets of the ADAPT-r Project, the corresponding PhD phases are mutually interconnected. We can thus position a main contribution of our work, in a new understanding of the ADAPT-r Research Training Model, which results in a composite picture made of three images. They are explorative tools, and use a metaphor as a main device, with the purpose to highlight different aspects of the same ADAPT-r Research Training Model, in relation to its main components. These images are the enfilade, the puzzle and the net.

12 The idea of this metaphor came in a conversation with Kate Heron about the sequential nature of the PhD stages being spatial and time related.

13 “ADAPT-r Creative Practice Research is conducted through a structured process that commences with a careful documentation to an appropriate archival standard of the practitioner’s previously existing body of work. This is accompanied by analysis of the work, presented at Supervisory Research Conferences to panels of research leaders and to an audience consisting of peers. The creative practice research work is analysed within an analytical framework that progresses through an examination of the existing body of work which gives rise to propositions about the nature of the research questions driving the work and identifies deficits or gaps. Mapping and analysis of the practitioner’s enchainment to peers, mentors and challengers also places the practice in the context of the communities of learning that are focused on those questions. This process commonly moves through three iterations to the position of being able to look back over the research and see how to communicate the research through a doctorate.” (Annex1 p.10)


The puzzle The metaphor of a puzzle refers to the PhD work as an image that results from the combination of different pieces. Each Research Phase could hence represent a main piece that is needed to complete the whole figure, and that needs the right location and connection in relation to the other ones. The image of the puzzle was first suggested by Johan Verbeke, and it demonstrated to be particularly pertinent while investigating Case Studies and Communities of Practice and realizing their connection: for instance, in the work of Siv Helene it is evident yet implicit: projects being presented as inseparable from a whole field of relations, collaborations, reading and travels, in complex constellations. While in Thierry’s Catalogue their connection is evident in each chapter, where a group of Case Studies are contextualized within specific Communities of Practice. Moreover we found out how some projects may work as transformative triggers (WP 1.3) and Communities of Practices reveal already much about a practice’s public behaviour (WP 1.4). Sam Kebbell seems to position his Case Studies piece, in the middle of multiple connections: “The Case Studies can serve as evidence in relation to changes in my communities of practice, methods, and public behaviours” (Kebbell, Case Studies, written interview). As a puzzle made of many pieces, also the Research Phases corresponding to the Work Packages are only some components 14 “In this house [the Villa Savoye] we are presented with a real architectural promenade, offering prospects which are constantly changing and unexpected, even astonishing. It is interesting that so much variety has been obtained when from a design point of view a rigorous scheme of pillars and beams has been adopted. . . . It is by moving about . . . that one can see the orders of architecture developing.” Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Oeuvre Compléte 1929-1934, p. 24


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

The enfilade12 The sequence of research phases follows a simple logical order: from the presentation and analysis of the body of work (with a first selection of Case Studies) to the communication of research findings, passing by a contextualization of the research in respect of communities of practices etc13. Moreover, the number of WPs suggests a correspondence with the six main PRSs that occur on a chronological sequence each six months. This evidence suggested at first the image of an enfilade: a suite of rooms connected to each other through a series of doors aligned along a single axis, thus providing a vista through the entire suite of rooms. The idea to look at the PhD phases as a sequential structure was suggested also by the scheme provided by Marcelo Stamm at the Research Method Training. The scheme is in turn one version of a series of diagrams that have been developed over many years at RMIT (initiated by Leon Van Schaik) connecting GRC (PRS) to themes, recurrent ‘traps’ etc. Like in an enfilade, in the ADAPT-r training model there is a clear door to enter (PRS1) and one to exit (PRS7), all the intermediate transitions, don’t impede, but rather even suggest

you could wander within the space. While the ADAPT-r’s architecture is very simple: six PRS (plus a completion seminar) and six phases (that contribute to the corresponding Work Packages), the experience of it becomes actually very complex. We suggest that we might develop the metaphor of the Enfilade in terms of Promenade Architecturale 14, in order to stress the complexity of the journey and a sense of surprise. In any case, there is no enfilade or promenade architecturale without reference to movement within it. In this sense, the PhD phases are just rooms that invite the venturous practitioner to walk through. Some may stay, for several PRSs, in the same room, some other may run quickly through most of them, and will decide to go back, and slow down later on.

of the ADAPT-r PhD research. Not only each candidate seems to have his ‘special ones’ but also there are other recurrent themes that are investigated by several candidates. To think about the research phases in terms of a puzzle, has shifted our attention to other possible ‘pieces’, both specific to one practitioner (i.e. Deborah: diagrams as text, or CJ Lim: drawing the PhD). For instance, the ‘mythology of the practice’ is a recurrent piece of the PhD puzzle: many practitioners relate in fact their very new insights to some very early experience of their practice, showing how fundamental issues have been there -though tacitly- “since ever”. Also some experience in Childhood (Influencing the metal space), or a previous background in other fields, are often entry points to grasp fundamental qualities of the practice. To such incomplete list of other ‘puzzle pieces’, we shall not forget some core topics - developed at RMIT- such as Urges and fascinations (Richard Blythe), Spatial intelligence (Leon van Schaik) and Mental Space (Leon van Schaik), that most of the practitioners undertake.

practice research. A language that is not fixed with the purpose to ‘objectively’ describe a certain reality, but rather is adaptable to the singularity of each case, to subjectively produce new meanings.

Such an image arose while noticing how each practitioner used specific wording to address the common subjects of the Work Packages 1.1 and 1.2. What emerged was a “practice-specific” wording, able to reveal much of the practice’s particularities. This metaphor suggests supervisors to look for the specific understanding that each PhD candidate develops of ‘Case Studies’ and ‘Communities of Practice’, encouraging to develop and strengthen such specificities. The image of the fishing net, to a wider extent, refers to the generative and creative use of language in creative 30


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

The net With the metaphor of the net we refer to the creative practice as a complex system, a veritable sea that can be explored in many different ways. Thus, each Research Phase (related to its corresponding Work Package) can be considered as a different net, a tool to fish into such a sea and capture some aspects, while discarding other ones. If we follow such a metaphor, the practitioner is not only the fisherman but also the one that knows that sea very well, s/he is a fundamental part of it. That’s why s/he doesn’t use any standardized fishing technique, rather s/he develops the best ones to suit the specific fauna that inhabits it. S/He is a craftsman of his own nets and develops different fishing techniques. Looking at Research Phases as fishing nets that capture different aspects of the practice’s reality, we intend to highlight their instrumentality: they are tools that one can use at any stage of the PhD process, and at each time one can refine one’s way of interpreting and using them.

Back Story Who we are We are two ADAPT-r Experienced Researchers (ER). Valentina Signore, is an Italian architect, she studied architecture at the University RomaTre, where she gained her PhD in 2012. Her 20 months fellowship at KU Leuven started in October 2013. Maria Veltcheva, is a german-bulgarian architect, she graduated at the University Sapienza Rome, where, in joint supervision with Paris VIII, she gained her PhD in 2005. Her fellowship at the University of Westminster started in May 2014 and ended in May 2015. Our main task is to work together on the Work Packages Case Studies and Community of Practice. Neither of us, had any experience with practice-based research, before joining the ADAPT-r program.

What we did: learning from ‘venturous practices’ Our task is to analyse different PhD research works within the ADAPT-r program, keeping a horizontal and transversal point of view. In particular, our endeavour pertains the Work Packages ‘Case Studies’ (1.1) and ‘Communities of Practice’ (1.2) (Namely the deliverables 2 and 4). The first evidence we had of a general overview is that each PhD research is different. Each research work being deeply interwoven with the specific working, living and thinking of each creative practitioner. To preserve such distinctive singularity while keeping the overall perspective has been the main challenge of our work. Our first task was then to get rid of any pre-defined research questions, to “plunge” in the realities of Creative Practice Research without prejudices or expectations. Beside this, we also had to address two specific topics that define the Work Packages 1.1 and 1.2 and consequently, our attention was already oriented toward the general headings ‘Case Study’ and ‘Community of Practice’. As a first approach, for some months, we have been just 32

15 Namely, in London Sue Anne Ware and Johan Verbeke discussed intensely if one should refer to ‘Community of Practice’ only when an actual exchange between members occurs, or if the term may also include ‘imagined members’ (such as a dead influential architect) that influence the practice. References that provide a contextualization to the research work or else people you have a direct interaction with? Similarly also the term ‘Case Study’ was discussed in its double use referring to candidates’ practices and to their projects analysed in the research. However, the lack of clear definition and explicit use of the workpackage terms is not surprising. Richard Blythe, who played a key role in drafting the ADAPTr grant, explained us how he choose these terms to point to common tendencies in naming them rather than using clearly defined and explicit categories. Part of the value of this document is to explicate this internal knowledge, to test the robustness of those terms and to build our understanding of them in relation to creative practice research and PhD training.


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

With different creative backgrounds, both our academic careers have been mainly based in Italy, namely in Rome, where such a research paradigm has not yet started to enter the debate. We took up the challenge to reflect about a completely new and absolutely fascinating subject. Thus, we encountered many difficulties and resistances, yet we consciously took advantage of our unfamiliar relationship with the research object, searching for unusual points of view.

observing the PhD works with no specific questions in our mind. Valentina joined the Barcelona PRS in November 2013 and then we both participated to the PRS in Ghent, in April 2014. In July 2014, with the precious help of Sigrid Ehrmann (RMIT), the process of gathering raw materials from the enrolled fellows started, and we collected as well the Catalogues of the Completed ADAPT-r PhD works. By the end of the summer, with our surprise, we found out that in these materials, there was rarely an explicit reference to the work packages’ terminology. Nonetheless, interesting and valuable materials matching with the two subjects were apparent. Moreover, not only in literature we could not find a definitive, ‘right’ definition of the terms, but also in the Partners’ meetings there was often a vibrant debate around the exact meaning of those expressions15. Hence, in front of the PhD students’ materials, we faced a huge room for our interpretation: how to address the Work Packages with almost no explicit information by the fellows, nor sure definitions from the partners or literature? We turned our problem in our resource: the plurality of interpretations was not to be hidden, or avoided, but rather we had to further explore it. Such loose definition suggested a key factor is to use terms that while being common, were adaptable and productive within the singularity of each PhD research. Thus, we prepared two written interviews for each interviewee, specifically focused on the topics ‘Case Study’ and ‘Community of Practice’. No previous explanation of what the two terms should mean was given to the fellows, whose responses became hence revealing of a plurality of understandings. Beside this, once more we could appreciate how each interview brought us into its own specific universe, giving confirmation that the common language was shaped differently in accordance with a practice’s specific

what shall we look at in the candidates’ PhD work, to grasp their ‘Case Studies’? The multiplicity of terminologies and expressions, if made us get lost at the beginning, then became our ally and as a Cross View we gave it full relevance pushing it in the very foreground. Similarly the Cross Views Choosing and Playing are probably the traces of general questions soon abandoned, concerning the criteria and the methodologies that candidates use in the selection and analysis of their projects.

How we did it: focussed and cross-views We attended the PRSs, there we listened to PhD candidates’ presentations and spoke with them, we observed their materials collected online16, and we finally read their interviews. The wish to give shape to a general discourse rested just an ambition, while we were concretely always captured by the singularity of each PhD work. But it was a matter of time. Little by little we started to notice something. Gradually, things themselves started to come to our attention, we started to recognize, to connect, to ‘see’ links. We gradually became familiar with what was still impossible to precisely define, we started to recognize some s without exactly distinguishing their borders. Some of them were particularly instinctive, and probably connected to our personal interests and backgrounds. Valentina was immediately captured by the performance of the Completion Seminars in Barcelona (November 2013). That was her imprinting with the ADAPT-r, it connected with her interest and experience in the performance arts, and led first to a training in Ghent, and afterwards to the writing of the ‘Manifesting’ Cross View. Maria’s imprinting happened few months later in Ghent (April 2014) and since her first comments at the Plenary, she focussed on the different kind of structures that each PhD research deployed. This gradually led her to the development of the idea of ‘Structuring’ as it is presented here in the form of a Cross View. Other Cross Views came naturally to our attention, namely Anecdoting, Metaphoring, Diagramming. This is probably due both to the fact that such research tactics are widely used by the candidates, and also that they are not so common in the research environment we both frequented before. The Cross View Wording can be seen as the result of our difficulty to find an answer to a basilar question:

This brief backstory contains elements of truth but is of course also a fiction. The process of writing down a list of Cross Views concretely took place in Rome in a corridor of the Faculty of Architecture of the Università degli Studi Roma Tre, during a face-to face meeting we arranged in ‘our’ city. The pressure of time played of course a role: we had just 2 days to work together, it was September, we had just flight back from London after a meeting with Kate and Johan (also Anna Holder was present and assisted the process) where we had agreed the questions for the written interviews. We had just 2 months and a half to gather materials and write! Maybe there was no time to make it complicated, we just wrote down simple words, it made a simple structure. The -ing form used to name the Cross Views, came quite instinctively, and was immediately agreed. Looking at the notes of that day it is surprising that they are quite ordered. We spoke a lot, wandering around with the thoughts, and then we “condensed” still vague ideas into few words. The subtitles came only afterwards. However, only in the writing process each of these Cross Views clarify its own meaning. Some of them changed name (communicating became performing and then manifesting, while anecdoting for a while was called storytelling). Some disappeared (categorizing or scaffolding), some others that at the beginning seemed weak and rough acquired strength and definition. Also the name ‘Cross View’ is the result of a continuous jump of the word ‘Across’ before and after the word ‘View’. Just an acoustic resemblance with the word ‘cross section’ decided the definitive name. Only now the word ‘view’ seems to reveal its balancing point of this work. A view is always partial. It refers to a personal experience of seeing, but also to an image that you offer to somebody else’s sight. The Focussed Views come logically first in this document, but have been developed in parallel. The idea to write an individual description of each Creative Practice Research came along with the evidence that each CPR is a unique piece of work. It inevitably requires a specific, focussed sight. It was an evident need, and as such it has never been discussed that much. The time constraint

16 Mainly powerpoint presentations and short abstracts (available on www., in one case (Steve Larkin) also some mp3 registration of PRS presentations . Most of RMIT candidates have also provided some documents needed to fulfill the RMIT requirements (namely the CPR -Candidate Progress Report- and the CoC -Confirmation of Candidature).



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

‘natural laws’. Most of the fellows replied to our invitation: we now had clear and concise (yet provisory) materials to base our deliverables. Yet, again the challenge was to keep clear from a ‘general theory on Case Studies’/Communities of Practice in Creative Practice Research. We name ‘focussed views’ and ‘cross view’ the devices that we have developed, in order to explore these 13 Creative Practice Researches, aiming at highlighting new paths and thematics in CPR.

didn’t allow us to arrange individual interviews with all the practitioners, to visit their offices and works. Thus, the Focussed Views are the result of an indirect analysis conducted on diverse materials. Consequently in each Focussed View it is our personal interpretation of each candidate’s research work at stake. Originally there was the idea to make a collage for each of them to express our view on their CPR work. Generally it was one of the two starting a Focussed View on a Google-drive document shared online, the other one following, adding, sometimes disputing some interpretations. Originally we called them in Italian “schede individuali’, that became “individual descriptions”, and later a complicated ‘Venturous Practitioners-Researchers: Reflections”. Only at the very end of the process, while reflecting on the ‘Cross Views’ we decided to chose a name that would stress the similarities and their differences between the two research devices: they are both our partial ‘views’, but while the first are practice-focussed, the second look across many of them.

Eight Cross Views work as ‘cross sections’ on the complex architectures of the topic ‘Case Study’. ‘Case study’ is a key word in the ADAPT-r program and gives the name to the first Work Package (1.1). Looking at how candidates use this term, we decided to focus on the study in depth that they conduct on their projects (see the chapter “what are Case Studies?”). Candidates start to speak about (or just to conduct) ‘Case Studies’ from the very beginning of their research, when they select some projects, or aspects of their practice to investigate further. But you will not find a protocol or an established rule that prescribes how to do it or make it. Rather each candidate finds his/her own specific way, and even refines it during his/her PhD process. We can argue that Creative Practice Research is inevitably related to the selection and analysis of some projects, that often are framed in terms of Case Studies. Case studies may be considered the primary research tool for Creative Practice Research, the veritable skeleton of any argument and the very place where main research insights are embedded and manifest themselves. A Case Study is no longer the ‘project’ delivered in the practice, but it defines the status of the same project once it is inserted into the critical and discursive framework of the PhD research project. Consequently, the present enquiry into the Case Studies is inseparable from the analysis of the research. The aim of the Cross Views is not to define a general theory on Case Studies in Practice-based research. On the contrary, what was immediately apparent is that each PhD has its own understanding of what a Case Study is. Despite their important role in different kinds of research, significant differences in their uses and roles are to be highlighted. This enquiry of ‘Case Studies’ aims at increasing the understanding of the different roles that Case Studies can play in every PhD research project. It is argued that this may help both a supervisor and a researcher to locate his/her own use of Case Studies within the research. Different uses of the same Case Study may arise during the development of the research work. The Cross Views on Case Studies first emerged by observing


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron


Cross Views Narrative

Wording Using words to address projects and case studies PhD candidates use the term Case Study in many different ways: generally, either it refers to the projects developed by the practice, or to disciplinary references. In the first case, a series of projects that are demonstrated to be significant are analysed within the PhD research. A Case Study is generally meant as a project that is developed by the practitioner himself, before or during the PhD process. In the second case, a Case Study might also be a project developed by other practitioners. In the venturous practices under our consideration, we can see how most of the fellows understand Case Studies as a study in depth of their own significant projects (Tom Holbrook, Deborah Saunt, CJ Lim, Thierry Kandjee, Siv Helene Stangeland, Sam Kebbell). A smaller group understands Case Studies as references for their practice. Cian Deegan, together with his partner Alice Casey, lists 40 projects that “most consistently influenced his architectural practice”: they are architectural masterpieces from the 20th century, buildings that he has visited in person and examples of vernacular or locally developed architecture. Similarly, the practice of Steve Larkin “ has a wide platform of references” that span from architecture to music. These have been grouped into four main categories: Music & Sound, Landscape, Spatial Interest and Material Culture. Siv Helene, in a similar way, links her own projects to specific thematics: a. The experience of the team working with a project at different stages in a process. b. The development of the RIB structure in the project “Vennesla Library”.

17 “The venturous practitioner is one who being dissatisfied with the disciplinary realm in which they practice seeks to shift, in topological terms, the boundary of the discipline and thereby to extend it in some substantial way. That is to say through a certain kind of practice oriented in a specific direction, motivated by a driving intent, and which proceeds according to a systematic and grounded process the venturous practitioner contributes to knowledge. These qualities of dissatisfaction (meaning that there is a certain lack of satisfaction with the discipline ‘as found’ which motivates the venturous practitioner to seek change), intentionality and grounding differentiate the venturous practitioner from professional practice. These qualities however, do not in any way preclude professional practice from venturous practice when that professional practice also demonstrates these qualities. In other words, the venturous practitioner, whether or not she is involved in professional practice, is engaged in research.” Richard Blythe, An Epistemology Concerning Venturous Design Practice Research in Architecture (to be published)


c. Expo pavilion and its hierarchical design levels related to bottom up and top down processes.

d. Geopark – as a self generated project were H&Hs design philosophy was carried through at many levels.

e. The different epochs in H&H development defined through constellations as our living and working space, litterature , public behaviour, journeys, projects, collaborators, team.

f. The play installation “Ratatosk” related to an epoche (how it is embedded in the constellation).

g. The collective housing model “GBS” and the


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

venturous practices17 (their work being embedded in the PhD process) and turned to be ways to expose them. They are intended as operations that any candidate might perform to investigate his own practice. For instance, when you investigate your projects, you may call them ‘Case Studies’ or else in a different way (wording) you may use anecdotes (anecdoting) or metaphors (metaphoring) in order to reveal some ungraspable yet significant aspects of your practice. Sometimes through drawing, maps or ideograms, you may reveal what words find hard to capture (diagramming). You may also develop specific techniques to select, at the very beginning of the PhD, a set of projects that have the potential to become Case Studies (choosing). Later on, when they have been identified, you may develop a mastery in adjusting, changing, creatively shaping your approach, while observing or actively developing them (playing). Finally, at the PhD completion, you may set up different strategies for different mediums, in order to communicate properly and effectively your research (manifesting). Finally, all along the process, you can understand the whole structure of your PhD, looking how you use the Case Studies (structuring). These Cross Views are to be understood as partial and temporary. As clarified in the chapter “Outside and Inside the Research”, they don’t constitute a receipt for the optimal CPR. Moreover, each of them represents a possible trap or cage once it became an habit or a comfortable trick. They animate this specific investigation on Case Study, however their interest and influence expand beyond its limited space.

pilot project “Vindmøllebakken” as a project developing throughout the PhD- period.

h. The masterplan of a small city “Brekstad” as a commission carried through during first period of PhD.

i. A lecture at the yearly national seminar of the Norwegian Architecture Association (Case Study, Written Interview).

• Oeuvre (7) “From the early days of the practice, the establishment of an oeuvre, which defined 5th Studio’s approach, has been critical. Growth has forced us to articulate more explicitly the nature of the coherence across the body of work, as more than the sum of all the individual projects”. (ibidem p.14);

• Archive (7): “A review of the archive has been undertaken, in a process analogous to a literature review. This review has led to a comprehensive catalogue of past projects and the re-structuring of the practice website so as to make many of these projects publicly available for the first time.” (ibidem p.8);

• Exegetic projects (6): are three live projects in progress in the PhD work;

• Early projects (4) are used to open the themes of the research;

• Significant projects (1) “From this archive, a number of significant projects have been identified and clustered. These clusterings have been validated through seminar discussions with colleagues in the practice. The selection from the body of work has been explored via the process of presentation and discussion through structured peer review at biannual research symposia, held at the Sint-Lucas Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst, Ghent, Belgium, and at RMIT Europe, Barcelona”. (ibidem).

• Case Studies (24) are the projects analysed in depth in each chapter: they are not a “separate catalogue raisonné of projects’ but “are embedded into the main narrative.”(Holbrook, Catalogue p.8); •

Body of work (9) (ibidem) refers to a general

18 This has been recognized in the wider program: what is being researched is also process, structure meaning and social structuring. This is reflected in Stamm’s work on constellations (social structuring), M.Stamm, Konstellationsforschung, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, (2005), Leon’s work (Leon Van Schaik, Mastering architecture: becoming a creative innovator in practice, Chichester, Wiley, 2005) and on Randall Collins (R. Collins, Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

We can notice how Siv Helene considers not only proper projects, but also ‘lectures’ (I), the “process of team working” and a specific component of a project such as the RIB structure (B)18. In fact, among all the researches under our consideration, not all what is called ‘Case study’ is a project. For instance Steve Larkin considers some pieces of music and sounds, and cultural materials, such as artefacts of Irish vernacular culture or sketches of studies of built material cultures. Under the terminology ‘Case Study’ are considered different typologies of projects, from small to large scale, or from ‘furniture to infrastructure’ (Tom Holbrook) from built to unbuilt, from private to public (Deborah Saunt), from hidden to exhibited, from unknown to awarded, from concepts to manifesto (CJ Lim), from the arts to architecture (Steve Larkin), from early to ongoing projects (most of the candidates). Despite the fact that generally Case Studies are projects, not all the projects analysed in the PhD are named ‘Case Study’. Each fellow chooses his own wording to address his work. The vocabulary expresses different meanings and relationships within the body of work. Such words open paths of reflections and investigations in multiple directions. They can, in fact, reveal a specific direction in the research work. Tom Holbrook’s completed PhD dissertation is a good example in the use of a rich vocabulary, made up of different wordings: • Projects (121 times);

overview at the very beginning of the catalogue.


When we attend a PRS we shouldn’t be surprised to hear a landscape designer or an architect describing his own role as that of ‘a gardener’, of ‘an orchestrator’, or of ‘a bricoleur’. We may attend a presentation where epochs19 and constellations are at the centre of the discussion, but yet the field of inquiry is not astronomy but architecture (Siv Helene). Often a metaphor is used to describe the projects themselves, both from a general perspective and in detail. For instance, Siv Helene uses the term ‘constellations’ to address her whole body of work in relation to her living and working space, literature, public behaviour, journeys, projects, collaborators, team. By doing this, 19 In astronomy, an epoch is a specific moment in time for which celestial coordinates or orbital elements are specified, and from which other orbital parametrics are thereafter calculated in order to predict future position. ( 2014)


“...I would like to call my research participant observation. I went undercover, I am both witness and accomplice, and I will inform you about what I have seen and done on the crime scene. Some of the projects described are like a crime scene investigation (the projects of my practice). Other projects are rather a crime scene reconstruction (My Grandmother’s House). Still other projects are ‘new crimes’, as to feel the kick again, just to be able to tell you how it works.”

Jo Van Den Berghe (Catalogue, Book 2, p. 4)

It is important to notice how, on a limited amount of venturous practices analysed, the use of certain metaphors recurs: gardener (Thierry, Eric) and bricoleur (Sébastien, Tom). Both stress a ‘soft’ intervention of the practitioner, which deals with the existing in order to facilitate growth (gardener) or to assemble it in an unexpected way (bricoleur). To conclude, “metaphoring” results to be a fundamental device for practitioners to capture their practice and their role within it. It plays a key role in unpacking Case Studies but it is not limited to this. Rather the use of metaphor results to be a general way of thinking for creative practitioners, in relation to their whole practice, life and work. For instance Deborah Saunt describes herself as a Chameleon whose ability to adapt reflects her ‘juggling’ between the roles of “teacher, developer, heritage expert, architect of fine 43

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Using metaphors to describe Case Studies Many candidates use metaphors to describe their Case Studies or to describe themselves and their roles as practitioners. Thinking in metaphors appears to be not only a tool to communicate but also an effective stimulus to the interpretative capabilities of the creative researcher. Metaphors are not just a rhetorical device, on the surface of an appealing communication, rather they play a key role in disclosing the knowledge embedded in the practice. Through a metaphor the candidate in fact opens new path and horizons in his reflections. These metaphors work, in fact, by bridging together two concepts from different domains. By placing a concept from one context to another, the strategy of Metaphoring reveals something new that would be impossible to reveal in a linear thinking. Moreover, it should be noticed how thinking in metaphors is a typical device for creative people: it is not just a tool limited to the research context, but first it is used in the design practice. For instance, the observation of nature is the main source of inspiration of many practitioners, such as Siv Helene. In a similar way as she observes trees to develop architectonic structures, she also finds inspiration in the stars to disclose her practice in her second PRS. In the case of Tom Holbrook, the metaphor is part of the narrative strategies to communicate with the client (i.e. the ‘cornucopia’ in the Lea River Park p.41) and continues to play a role also in the narrative of the Research Catalogue.

she hints how beyond the single project, there is a “whole creative field where different themes are influencing/relating to each other” (Interview). On the other side Marti Franch uses recurrently the metaphor of ‘confetti’ to address a specific device that he uses in different projects. The metaphor allows him to remark continuity in projects where he locates random in the landscape small “entities” in a playful way. In other cases, a main metaphor is used to describe the general approach that the practitioner applies to any project: for Sébastien: bricoleur; Eric: gardener, Marti: explorer (rather than an exporter) in the initial phase of any project, Thierry uses the image of ‘rose pruning’ as a model for action. He uses also different metaphors to describe different ‘modes of practice’. And each of these metaphors characterizes a cluster of projects: gardener, orchestrator, enabler. Metaphors can be used also to describe the research approach, as in the case of Johan Van Den Berghe who, as he was suggested by Leon Van Schaik, uses the forensic metaphor to better define his method of “participant observation”:

small buildings at the same time as large, commercial, commissions or public works.” p.31 (see diagram p.31). Another animal is used by CJ Lim to reply the question: Who I am like? Where he refers to the image of a Black sheep in the flock to state that his “architecture and position have little in common with the majority practices” (p.365). Moreover, for his completion seminar, uses the alimentary metaphor: he describes himself as a farmer that has grown food (knowledge) and serves it to the jury. Such a metaphor is strictly related with the subject of his PhD research, whose title is “From smartcities to the food parliament: an investigation into the urban consequences of food transparency” . Rosanne Van Klaveren wonders if she should behave as a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing, when in more ‘orthodox’ academic context she has to defend her artistic research. Marti Franch, reflecting on his role within his wide net of collaborators, hesitated in PRS1 in defining himself as a “virus, assembler, synthesizer or narrator”.

Anecdoting Telling anecdotes relating to Case Studies Anecdotes seem to have the power to condense in one the emergence of insights with the serendipity of life. That is the case of Deborah Saunt, when she introduces her first Case Study, Covert house:

In the course of the transaction, Lady Denham gave me a copy of a letter that she had found under the eaves in the attic when she had acquired the house in the 1960s. The person who eventually built her house, hidden behind a row of terraced houses, wrote this letter in 1871 and was also asking if he could buy a garden, because he too wanted to build a new house in the large garden of an existing house. My action places me within a speculative tradition that has existed on this site (just 2 miles from Parliament Square) for over 140 years. Through analysing this project I have discovered that I am also part of a grander tradition, that of the architect as agent, by which I mean the way one decides to behave as an architect, how you bring agency into your endeavours, is as important in architecture as the qualities within the work that you make.”

Deborah Saunt (Catalogue p.70)



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

“In 2006 I wrote an unsolicited letter. I had decided that I must at least try to build my own house. “Dear Lady Denham, I would like to buy your house.” I was quite honest explaining my intention that I had scoured Ordnance Survey maps to find a site on which to build a home and that her large garden offered a potential opportunity. After carefully explaining how the development appraisal generated the site’s value she said, “yes, I would love to sell you my house.” So I bought a garden, and sold on the original house. This was a tactic another architect (Joanna van Heyningen, editor’s note) had told me about when I was training. She had told me this precious advice and I had always remembered it. She said the only way you can be truly independent is to realise the value of what you bring to any project; without you, the chances of maximising real value is lessened; You hold the key.

We can notice how Deborah places an anecdote in the anecdote: the tactic suggested by the other architect and in particular her warning to ‘hold the key’ in any project becomes a background that influences deeply her understanding of the whole project. In the second part of the story, the incredible coincidence of the discovered letter from 1871, plays the crucial role to anticipate her understanding of being part of a grander tradition, and allows her to open a wider reflection on her role as an architect. Anecdotes can be used to emphasize and explain concepts. A simple yet significant moment can serve to give ‘consistence’ and grain to a general statement. That is the case of Tom Holbrook, when he describes the Case Study of Eden Street. Tom mentions how a series of detail drawings were made only ‘after fact’ to suit the publication routines of a German architectural magazine. Here, more than just reporting a curious event, Tom gives the reader a glance on the approach he was adopting at that time:

Holbrook (Catalogue p.24)

Often anecdotes refer to the relationship with the client and serve to reveal tactics, devices, coincidences that have allowed a project to develop in a certain way. They hence reveal a mastery of the office in persuading the clients to reformulate their own priorities. Not only the capacity to envision the future, but to make it envision to the clients. They show a tendency to take risks, to provoke the clients and to challenge their expectations. For instance, Tom Holbrook, in the description of Christ’s Pieces mentions how taking the initiative to involve different authorities in a workshop allowed the project to develop: it moved from a sum of individual perspectives to an holistic rethinking of the whole urban block and park edge. (Holbrook, Catalogue p.37”) Sometimes anecdotes refer to an unexpected event that turned to be revealing, as it happened to Thierry, in the Case Study “E2 Living Coastline”:

“In one session, in which we did not have any maps, we created a projection space. Our first experience of mediation was played out upon this improvised surface. From drawing projects to projecting (FIG. 1), we had the opportunity to 46

Thierry Kandjee (Catalogue p.70)

Anecdotes can refer to specific moments during the research process that have influenced its development. In this sense, they constitute triggers for the progress of the research. Of course these moments can happen in a “research context” such as conversations with the supervisor, a comment from the panel in a PRS session (for instance Tom Holbrook opens each chapter of his Catalogue with a quotation from different PRSs). Nonetheless, very often these “PhD moments’” occur “in the medium of practice itself ”. This is the case of Deborah Saunt, whose understanding of her practice had a main shift in the moment she brought the model of Covert House from her private house to her Studio:

“We took this private project and put it into the process of our studio. So there was this moment of tension where something very private was going to be subjected to this process of review” (Viva - PhD Completion, Video on Vimeo). “The Covert House “came out of hiding” and became actively part of DSDHA’s body of work created alongside the other projects in the Studio, rather than remaining private, due to 47

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

“These early projects were quite often developed on site, combining an in-depth understanding of the host structure (historical research, measuring the physical fabric for a drawn survey, construction of study models), with an improvisatory, contingent response”

test interactive drawing sessions as a powerful instrument in demonstrating and disseminating the designer’s ability to project spatial transformations. Approaching the project from two locations (the site itself and the mayor’s house) served as an open conversation between site, programs and ‘wish lists’ that were articulated into a broader agenda. What did the live drawing really do? In short, it was an act of co-production that made instantly visible on a map a possible spatial framework. While drawing the site onto the map, projected forces were tested and visualised, whilst incorporating the comments of the mayor. During the drawing, a hierarchical ordering between site and projected transformation was articulated. The drafting in fact embedded a strategist approach. On site and in the workshop, Sébastien Penfornis and I tested through scenario-making the potentials and the limits of the possible relation between the site’s conditions and the mayor’s projections. One of our main aims was to convince local politicians to adopt new urban forms that would accept a densification of the urban-rural fabric.”

the PhD. It could be embedded into the day-to-day life of the practice”

Deborah Saunt (Catalogue p.76)

Drawing diagrams to investigate Case Studies Diagrams are much used in the different research outputs and moments: particularly during each PRS. We find diagrams also in different contexts and themes. We can observe that there is no “standard” kind of representation or mapping. Diagrams range from clear to foggy (each having their qualities). They could be very clear and schematic, or ambiguous and instinctive. Often diagrams are difficult to understand in the first lecture, and need to be explained with annotations and legends, or they could be interpreted in very different ways. Often they have their own aesthetic that speaks to the observer in a direct way. Diagrams as research tool Diagrams are used as a research tool in constant development during the research process extracting the research from the practice. Leon van Schaik calls them “ideograms” and they display a peculiar relationship between the sign and the thinking process. As Richard Blythe puts it:

“To imagine that Leon van Schaik’s ideographs represent a thinking process would be to miss the point. They are not representational but rather they are the thinking. Thinking in action if you will, concretised in a drawing. To make this claim in our post-Socratic world is radical in that it suggests that the movement of the arm and hand are integral, it is to claim that the body thinks20”.

Richard Blythe (2008)

Deborah Saunt writes: “I have drawn my PhD, to represent in sketches the process of reflecting on my practice” (Catalogue, p.18). She gave also explicit titles to the diagrams. For instance “Why architecture must never stand still”.

20 Richard Blythe, “Thinking about architecture, thinking about architects 2000 – 2008 ideograms by Leon van Schaik explained”, in Ideograms, Lyon Housemuseum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2013. Catalogue Essay of the International Travelling Exhibition, Thinking About Architecture, Thinking About Architects, 2009- 2010, Ideograms by Leon van Schaik.



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

In the case of Deborah Saunt there was a ‘key remark that helped the rhetoric of their design methodology evolve”. That was when Mark Irving - a friend, ex client and recently collaborator- saw the model of her house (Covert House) during one ‘passeggiata’ that she organized in her office during the PhD process. The fact that he remakes a similarity between that model and the work of Chillida, made her reconsider deeply the nature of her work. Why Creative Practice Research narrative is so close to storytelling and often implies the use of anecdotes? Probably one of the main reason is that the knowledge is often already ‘embedded’ in the practice, and much of the research process is a journey of awareness that turns what was implicit -but already there- to be explicit. Thus the account of the process by which such knowledge emerges becomes essential. Moreover, storytelling allows creative modes of reasoning that are not always linear and consequential, as it is required in other disciplines and research paradigms. Similarly to design practice, also in Creative Practice Research, the thinking develops by sudden jumps, intuitive turns and unexpected twists. Anecdotes, in particular reveal a typical aspect of Creative Practice Research: time is not linear. Generally Creative Practice Research is not fixed in a predefined agenda, but it unfolds on the way, constantly open to the unexpected. As such, time is not experienced in a mere chronological way, but rather as a medium of intensities. Anecdotes show how very small events may become big in importance in the PhD. They prove how hazard and improvisation are given full relevance in the research development.


Annotated diagrams This kind of drawings is a working tool. Deborah Saunt uses them as research tool, and she puts her notes in the Catalogue. This kind of diagrams are very difficult to understand, but give us an idea how complicate could be the way to arrive to a very simple concept. Annotated diagrams also materialise brainstorm processes. An annotated diagram by Siv Helene Stangeland shows a slightly different process. The diagram is a composition of different kinds of diagrams, and reflects her particular way of thinking, able to embrace complex and heterogeneous elements in a wide, overarching perspective. The annotation follows their elaboration: she goes back to them after PRS1, finding new links, highlighting elements to develop, annotating comments from the panel.

Abstract diagrams Diagrams can be very abstract, without text and annotations, just few lines on a sheet, but they explain in a very clear way a concept. Deborah Saunt, explains with such a kind of drawings her “journey through their values” (Design influences and conditions, Design actions, Design values) and the arriving to a “good” project (represented by an abstract diagram). See the diagram : “Orbits and Trajectories: A journey through our values” and “A “Good” project. Handmade diagrams Architects seem to have fewer occasion to design by hand. Handmade diagrams are thus becoming expressive and research tools. For some like Siv Helene drawing is an essential activity both in her practice and in her reflection about it. Jo van den Berghe also uses hand drawing to represent his Case Studies in a landscape-section. Steve Larkin makes use of handmade diagrams to materialize ideas or concepts, to understand the reference world of his Case Studies. Is like a pre-text, something that is coming before the word?


Landscape-like diagrams Siv Helene Stangeland uses different aesthetics to drawn/design/ project her “thinking landscapes”. Objects (projects, exhibitions, lectures,…) and text are interconnected in the diagrams, designing in a very clear way how she thinks about her projects/Case Studies through her work and life. Siv gives in such landscape-like diagram a geographical, three dimensional and time dimensional vision of her Body of works and Cases studies. Diagrams as tools to discover or to represent Diagrams are sometimes very instinctive and they are a good medium where the practitioner materializes his or her own thinking. They are the medium where knowledge arises, between thinking and text, like a draft. For architects the draft and the sketches are the very beginning of a basic research. They help to represent concepts, organisations, and connections. In other cases diagrams are developed to communicate something that is already known, they help to better explain a text, like an organogram. We can advance the hypothesis that architects while designing are in the “blue skies research”, where “real-world” applications are not immediately apparent 21. Steve Larkin uses “subconscious” diagrams to discover concepts and for him they are very useful to understand and shape a research methodology. Deborah Saunt uses along her research different kinds of diagrams representing concepts, organisations, and connections. See the diagram: “Design Methodology, 2005: Highlighting key decision moments”

21 Blue skies research (also called blue sky science) is a scientific research in domains where “real-world” applications are not immediately apparent. It has been defined as a “research without a clear goal” and “curiosity-driven science.”


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Different aesthetics Each diagram has it own aesthetic that embodies the underlying character of each practitioner. There are different kind of graphics: handmade or digital, abstract or figurative, collage-surrealist-like, with or without pictures, table/matrix, geometrical, iconics, using primary figures, painting-like, architectural-like, design-like, landscape-like, etc.

Collage diagrams A Collage/Surrealistic diagram by Tom Holbrook, elaborated as a first attempt to sort his archive of projects, explains the thematic of his projects/Case Studies, and gives a visual interpretation about how they are regrouped in the PhD work, especially in the catalogue. Tom uses collages also in his practice.

Diagrams as texts Sometimes diagrams are used instead of texts to describe different architectural concepts. In this sense the definition of Mark Garcia is pertinent:

“A diagram is the spatialisation of a selective abstraction and/ or reduction of a concept or phenomenon. In other words, a diagram is the architecture of an idea or entity.”

Mark Garcia (Diagrams of Architecture, 2012).

Deborah Saunt uses diagrams as texts. In fact, words and text are both present in her diagrams. So we can say, that this kind of diagrams are more a tool to give an order, to give connection between different concepts (represented by words). See the diagram “The manner we do it. The actions of a project”.

Richard Blythe

Time diagrams The Time is another parameter often considered in the research. Time diagrams are the basis to give a “compositional grid”. We can observe a large application in the work of Tom Holbrook, where this kind of representation highlight his core theme “evolutions” but also in the work of Jo van den Berghe and in Deborah Saunt when they reflect on the research process. Architectonic diagrams Cian Degan uses a very “architectural way” to draw his diagrams. He represents his case-studies/references via icons. Research space diagrams Johan Van Den Berghe uses a diagram to promise himself a design-research table that he later realizes.

Spider diagrams The spider diagram by Marti Franch Battlori uses different parameters to categorize and to connect his projects. Deborah Saunt uses the spider diagram to categorize her projects using 8 parameters. See the diagram: “The project performance 8 Criteria”. Deborah uses the spider diagrams in a similar way Martyn Hook does in his research. As Richard Blythe observed

“Hook and Saunt in their PhDs, adapted the spider diagram used as a tool in categorising wines according to qualitative characteristics to unpack (as Hook describes it) the qualitative

22 Richard Blythe, An Epistemology Concerning Venturous Design Practice Research in Architecture (to be published), 2013, “Thinking about architecture, thinking about architects 2000 – 2008 ideograms by Leon van Schaik explained”, in Ideograms, Lyon Housemuseum, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Diagrams to measure and to visualize the projects Known kinds of diagrams (i.e. spider diagram) are interpreted in different ways by researchers. They are used like a matrix, to organize or categorize the Case Studies, to measure values, time, to visualize themes, etc. They are used in a typical architectural way of thinking.

values of each project and to then map these in a comparative way across the practice.”22



Selecting Case Studies in the first stage of the research Creative practitioners attending the ADAPT-r program have accumulated a substantial body of work. As a consequence, at the first stages of their PhD process it is the moment to carefully look for the evidence whichh is there and make a first selection of projects to discuss with the supervisor and present at the PRSs. In a second phase, it may become revealing to observe what has been left out of the first selection, or else what has been discovered later.

Finding tactics to deal with Case Studies in the PhD Candidates use different strategies to study and analyse their body of work: projects, Case Studies, or a specific Case Study. Not for all the candidates the tactics are explicit in the beginning of the research work, but often they take form and become conscious methodologies only during the process.

“Trying to score the Work: To begin, having tried to distil general characteristics evident in our work in the previous chapter, an assessment was devised to make a calibrated overview in a more comparative way. Several different gauges were plotted that enable a direct comparison of the way in which projects reflected 5 specific issues that came out of the first assessment of characteristics revealed in the previous chapter. The condensed categories were: - City/Social - Garden/ Veranda/Hybrid - Environmental - Awkward - Material Issues”

Deborah Saunt (Catalogue, p.48).

To this five she then adds Clarity, Recognition and Appeal. Colm Moore with his partner Andrew Clancy uses another tactic in their office: “Conversations” to reflect on their work 23. They give this name to all what is happening in the making of a project and after its completion. The “Conversations” move then to other projects: they are used through the concepts of new projects or to explain other projects. Colm is currently at the 3th PRS and this tactic will probably develop and become more evident in his 23 “Conversations” remind to the Chapter “Design as a Reflective Conversation with the Situation” by Donald A. Schon, “the Reflective Practitioner”.



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Each candidate has his own specific selection tactics. Siv Helene, during her first PRS presented projects that more explicitly expressed the qualities of the practice, giving at the same time an overview of the different typology of work conducted at the office (from large scale intervention to participatory process). The underlying theme ‘Sustainability’ constituted the fil rouge between them, and it captured much of the attention during the discussion. In her second PRS she completely changed tactic: she avoided to stress any specific architectural theme, and focussed on the relationship between the place where they worked and their projects. She focussed also on the first project they made (the renovation of the Herring Sea House restaurant, Stavanger, 1995), a rather small and not well known project, that though marked a significant shift from ‘student-like’ attitude, starting from concepts, to a more sensitive and open attitude of “listening” to the place. Marti Franch, in his first PRS, grouped EMF’s projects around key ideas: Distilling Identity and Consubstantiality; Landforms; Natural Infrastructures, ‘4D’ Time Grounded design, Undo, Reclaim, Recycle; Choreography, the Design of Experience. It became a rich speech mirroring a rich practice. The audience was particularly captured by the ‘Undo’ theme (Club Med rehabilitation). Cian not only selects some projects by TAKA, but also extends the choice to buildings and projects by other architects; while Sam Kebbell consciously excludes the projects that are more ‘exceptional’, in order to focus on projects that can be relevant for the future practice. Several tactics correspond also to different criteria in the choice: instinct, intuition, fascination, search for distinction and identity, connection with the past, projection to the future.

That is the case of Deborah Saunt. She uses a “strategy” to group the projects according to “values” (criteria), what will permit to identify the “best” Case Studies Projects. Deborah proposes five categories to score the projects. After testing them, she adds three other categories. She thus uses eight criteria to assess the “Project Performance” of each project of her studio: City, Materiality, Garden, Clarity, Environment, Appeal, Awkward, Recognition. In the chapter three “Interrogating the evidence in the work we make”, she explains:

further research. A kind of “Design strategy” leads the research of CJ Lim and takes the shape of a “manifesto”. He “plays” with the history of Smart Cities, by giving first a solid theoretical context, creating a huge mental-visional platform, where to build his “Food Parliament”. His illustrations are a fundamental medium of the methodology to explain the concepts.

Manifesting24 Showing the knowledge embedded in Case Studies There is a moment where the knowledge embedded in the Case Studies becomes apparent in its very nature and strength: that is the PhD completion, where candidates, rather than just describing or reporting what they have discovered about them during the PhD process, literally manifest it, at the presence of the jury and of the audience.

24 This Cross View is based on the Research Method Training offered by Valentina at the Research Method Training in Ghent April 2014,

25 A Viva voce is ‘an oral examination, typically for an academic qualification’, derived from the Latin: ‘with the living voice’ (Ask Oxford 2006). In the viva you will demonstrate your ability to participate in academic discussion with research colleagues: ‘with the living voice’. (Univesity of Leicester website). I personally prefer to erase the term voce, to emphasize that what is living is the whole being - voice, body, thoughts etc- of the researcher.



Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Attending a PhD completion during a PRS can be an amazing experience: it can perturb any expectation and challenge the most established academic canons, and at the same time the result is rigorous -in its own terms- and definitely convincing. As you can’t find homogeneity in their works, you will not find it in their different PhD completions: each PhD candidate in fact, designs a specific setting and choreographs his own performance. What is behind all this? What drives candidates in such diverse and uncommon directions? There is something specific of Creative Practice Research that seems to naturally challenge the very moment of any PhD process: its completion. First of all, in the ADAPT-r context (in continuity with the RMIT tradition), this is not called ‘defense’. Evidently there is nothing to be defended, as for instance research insights don’t belong to the family of ‘truth claims’. The expression ‘Exhibit’ is preferred: it refers to the action of showing, exposing and publicly displaying the discovery. The viva 25, the living presence of the practitioner, becomes essential to turn what would else be an exhibition, into an action, into something happening in the here and now. Candidates don’t simply report, describe, represent, their work and Case Studies. They don’t simply communicate information to the audience but rather they make the audience feel, experience the insights that they got out of their work. How do they manifest them? How, in the here and now of a viva, can they make such insights present again at the presence of the audience and jury? Each candidate does it in his/her own way: s/he displays

a different setting, establishes a different relationship with the jury and the general audience, s/he plays a different role, and performs different actions to be effective. Deborah Saunt There was a particularly ‘dense’ moment at Deborah Saunt’s completion in Barcelona, when she seemed to play the role of a ‘minister’ in a ritual, able to make happen again something that had taken place in a ‘mythological’ past. It was the moment when she picked the model of the Covert House from the low table in the corner, showed it to the public, and positioned it on the panel on the wall. In the meanwhile, she was telling the anecdote of the moment when she took that model from her house and brought it in her studio, where it became a fundamental trigger of reflections in her research process:

“We took this private project and put it into the process of our studio. So there was this moment of tension where something very private was going to be subjected to this process of review”26

“...The answer is that obviously Architecture must never stand still. (Orbits and Trajectories: Why Architecture Must Never Stand Still is the title of her Catalogue. editors’ note) This simple revelation has been rather like this project [she takes again the model of Covert House and shows it to the public, and put it back against the wall] with which we started the Cover House. In order for architecture to be successful, it has to be not separate, not put in a corner, not left in the cold. Architecture has to be part of this [she points at the wall] much greater culture and dynamism. Thank you.”27 To perform such a ritual, the setting needed two distinct regions: from one side, at the back of the room, the space of the panel, where the research process and findings were represented. 26 Video on Vimeo

27 Video on Vimeo 42’55’’-43’,22’’


CJ Lim. First of all, we may note that CJ Lim is a ‘special case’ in respect of the ‘Case Studies’ issue. As in his catalogue he doesn’t properly analyses his projects as ‘Case Studies’, but rather the thesis itself is a project, the same happens in the medium of the viva: as he designs a whole world, a whole experience in the written text, he does so as well in the physical space of the PhD Completion. In the case of CJ Lim’s Exhibit, we can identify two different roles and acts by which he manifests his research work. Looking at the setting we can immediately see how he clearly distinguishes between two audiences: the general public and the jury, rotated respectively of 90°. The position of CJ faces the jury, while the audience can see only his profile. Also the materials are displayed in a way that the general public is excluded from the sight: the projection on the wall faces the jury and is on a plane perpendicular to the sight of the public. The drawings that CJ extracts from his wooden structure are elegantly served on the examiners’ table, which is again on a unreachable plane for the public sight. As a consequence, the audience and the jury had two completely different experiences. We can imagine to assist to the viva from the point of view of the examiners (you can get closer to that experience by looking at the video available online CJ starts his presentation by making an explicit analogy between food and knowledge and of himself as the one that serves it. “I will serve you today a presentation in five parts”. “... this is my little allotment [he points at the wooden structures containing his drawings] and from this I will then translate it into the field of which I will feed you the information later.” 59

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

By performing that series of actions, and uttering these words, she made the audience feel and participate to the relevance of that shift, as a suite of the displacement of the same scale model from her house to her studio. The importance of this Case Study was again recalled at the very end of her speech, when she concludes:

On the right side, displayed perpendicularly to the wall, a low table hosted the catalogue, a projector displaying an animation, some scale models, (among which, Covert House was the most far away from the wall). The lines of the wall and the table created a triangle, along whose diagonal were disposed the seats of the audience and the jury. The jury took seat together with the general audience, on the right extreme of the diagonal. Also the animation was a medium able to communicate an insight of her research that was else difficult to express verbally: the video showed a movement of orbits creating collision, changing their trajectories, continuously perturbing the given situation. It thus provided a feeling, more than an explanation, about how the design process in her studio works.

The whole scenography, literally, expresses this concept: the jury sits behind a table and is given some dishes, forks and knives (in paperboard, designed by CJ). Gradually, during the presentation, CJ serves a series of drawings-food, of his Food Parliament project, that he extracts from a wooden structure (on whose border hangs a pair of gardening gloves in paperboard). The drawings’ upper border is carved as a blooming surface, so that when they are all displayed on the table they create a beautiful flourishing meadow. The last four drawings -one for each member of the jurywere served with a special emphasis: a folded paperboard showing the white surface when laid down on the jury’s plates.

‘ Would you like to start dinner? Or rather dinner itself?’ ‘Would you like to open it?’ ‘One...two… three…’ [the examiners open the paperboards and look at the drawings]

Thierry Kandjee. Also Thierry arranges the space of his Exhibit, providing a differentiation of the two audiences: the general public and the jury are displayed at 90° one to the other. However, unlike CJ, he establishes a 60

His research, focusing on nine projects - Case Studies- proves his practice to have a mastery in three main ‘practice-modes’, defined by three specific roles that he plays, and that he explains with some metaphors: the gardener, the conductor and the enabler. Unlike CJ, Thierry didn’t build a whole scenography to ‘literally’ play any of these roles in particular. However he did embody all of them: assuming the same attitude, the same regime of care, in relation to the specific situation of the viva, where he performed very simple but concrete actions. The gardener is for Thierry someone that is able to observe, anticipate and give shape. This is undoubtedly what he does when he anticipates the experience of the public and disposes their seats. As a gardener, he knows the differences between the two audiences, and tries to facilitate who is in a disadvantageous position, take care of the different degree of knowledge that the two audiences had. In fact, the general public, that hasn’t read its catalogue, is soon provided with a copy of it, as well as with some pamphlets relative to the Brussels project. There were little actions that showed a capacity to observe and understand a given situation. By doing so, he also embodies the image of the enabler that allows others to act: by compensating the gap in information and providing the public of additional instruments he enables them to better participate to the event. Finally, the image of the conductor was best embodied in the way he orchestrated the dialogue between the different Case Studies during his viva. As an orchestrator able to work with heterogeneous elements, he gathered them in a whole melody. He conducts a concert for solo instrument and orchestra: the solo instrument being the Brussels project, while the orchestra made of all the other Case Studies. The dialogue between these two elements was made not only by means of the discourse, but also by means of the arrangement of the space (and Thierry’s movement in it). The space of the Exhibit was in fact structured in two contexts: on the front, very close to the public, a big scale model of the capital region of Brussels took the center of the stage, while on the back wall, a poster showed images of several Case Studies. In Thierry’s words: “The model, in articulation with the wall, constructs a conversation across the body of work and the specific project.” 61

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

The conclusion of CJ Lim’s performance is a simple act of showing. He is confident that he has reached a point where the jury doesn’t need words any more, but just need to ‘see’. The general audience’s experience of the same Exhibit in Barcelona was very different and very strong: for one hour it assisted to an elegant and refined performance. But, at the same time, it could feel violently excluded by that precious world, as if it was invited to a delicious dinner but it was allowed only to see other people eating. It was an unpleasant yet very strong experience that can’t but recall contemporary performance. CJ Lim’s presentation reminds Marina Abramovic’s The Other: Rest Energy, 1980, where the public is emotionally involved in the tension between the raw bow and the arrow, despite the fact that what is happening concerns concretely only Marina and her partner Ulay. Similarly, in Barcelona it was as if CJ wanted the audience to starve for his food, to become irresistibly curious. In fact, as soon as he concluded his presentation, everybody almost run to see his drawings, to speak with him, to finally appreciate what for more than one hour was denied.

balance between the two: he stands in an equal distance from both, so that they can equally see and listen what’s going on. Only at the moment of the final discussion he takes his seat in a position that faces the examiners.

Tom Holbrook. Tom even moved beyond the arrangement of the public and of the different materials within a given space: he chose a specific location in the city of Ghent, that was able itself to embody the core of his research work:

“I wanted the Viva presentation to make an argument for a generalist spatial design practice, supported by evidence of a particular and distinctive way of working. I wanted to bring the resolution of my PhD back into the life of the city - in particular, the city of Ghent, which has been the location for the presentation of ongoing research over the course of the PhD.”

Dear Leon Thanks for the supervision the other day - it was useful, and it feels good to have a solid programme for completion. As I was saying, the exhibition setting has been the most elusive of the various things to address. Knowing that it is to be in Ghent in April ‘14 has allowed me to think that through, and I thought that I’d rehearse an emerging idea with you, before I got too excited about it. I’m interested in using the Stadhuis market hall building, recently completed by Robbrecht & Damm / Marie José van Hee. As you might remember, I wrote about it in AR (let me know if you’d like me to send you a pdf of the article), and it feels like a project that has emerged in parallel to my own visits to Ghent. It embodies the trajectory I’m interested in - from intimacy to infrastructure. It has also been a slow architecture - coming together over 16 years from proposition to completion with something of the ‘entrepreneurial’ quality I’m interested in. 62

I enclose a couple of photographs of the interior. It would be good to test this with the panel, and, if it has legs, to scope it out in Ghent, and begin the process of getting permission from the city - I imagine a morning presentation, before things get too busy! Let me know what you think! Holbrook

(Report on Viva) 28

With the same proactive attitude distinctive of 5th Studio, Tom found his own way through Belgian bureaucracy and obtained permission from the City to use the Market Hall for his final presentation. That turned to be a key choice that made the complexity of his work immediately manifest to the audience.

“I was keen to use the setting as a physical example of my thesis of ‘ between furniture and infrastructure’ - a bridge between the infrastructural scale of the big roof, and the intimacy of the urban fireplace. This seemed to work very well.” Apart from these evident references, the public could feel such an in-between scale also thanks to some very small details, like red blankets, under which it could find a warm domestic repair,

28 Tom generously replied to an invitation made by Valentina to give an account of the design and experience of completion Viva. This text, and the quotations that follow, are excerpts of the report that he sent her. For its accuracy and relevance it would deserve much wider space to be fully reported.


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

As in his catalogue the Case Studies make his argument, so does the viva. The idea to use the space of Ghent’s Market Hall emerged in particular when in June 2012 - he met the architects, Paul Robbrecht and Marie José van Hee - and interviewed them for an article on the project for the Architectural Review (February 2013). The idea turned in April 2013 into a proposal to his supervisor Professor Leon van Schaik:

I’m beginning to imagine something like a market stall, holding key documents and models, rather like one of those bookstalls you get on the right bank in Paris, coupled with big drawings on theatre ‘flats’ which perhaps form some sort of enclosure or backdrop. Panel and audience on wooden chairs. All very public, but also with some intimacy.

while the life of the city was growing in intensity29. The city itself provided in fact ‘a very benign series of dramatic interventions’: the various dramas ‘offstage’ included bystanders walking through, a cyclist coming within an inch of demolishing a model (to the gasps if the audience), and a sewage pumping truck providing an aroma to part of the proceedings. The Belfry provided regular peals of bells. All these unexpected events were masterfully turned into opportunities by Tom, to make the point about “the complexity and richness of cities, and how designers could operate responsively within them”. It doesn’t surprise that comments on the ‘staging of the work’ were made by the public, as evidenced in some extracts from the Examiners’ Reports:

“The PhD exhibition, which formed the setting for the verbal presentation, was nothing short of memorable, being held under the beautiful public canopy designed by Robbrecht en Daem. The candidate drew a massive map of the region from the Cambridge Fenlands well out into the North Sea, and this truly helped the viewer to locate and also get a real sense of the landscapes that 5th Studio are designing for...The candidate presented extremely well, especially given that the entire examination was held out in the open air right in the centre of a very busy town on a Friday morning, with 29 He took special care for the general audience since the very beginning: “from watching other vivas I was determined to try and include the audience - I asked that amplification be provided so that people could hear. I wanted the delivery to be animated and engaging to watch. The various distractions allowed people to sustain interest over the two-hour session, with breaks in the intensity of the delivery to allow moments of mental refreshment. I thought about the intervals of the delivery and the choreography carefully beforehand.”



Before the completion. The ability to manifest the research insights -embedded in the Case Studies- beyond the use of words, evidently reaches its climax at the end of the PhD journey. However, also before the completion, candidates are encouraged to experiment with the space and different mediums in order to entail other levels of communication while discussing their Case Studies. It seems that powerpoints presentations tend to disappear as the process moves on. Probably because they recall institutional presentation where architects have to ‘sell’ themselves and their work to a jury, clients, or critics, where the lighten images is combined with an affirmative discourse. On the contrary posters, installations, scale models recall the atmosphere of the studio, where everything is in progress, doubts and problematics are addressed as challenges, and there is not a predefined order or sequential logic. Objects and thoughts are close one to the other in the space: combinations, relationships, movements, new perspective are always possible. Just to quote some examples we can see a first significant shift in the first PRS of some candidates. For instance, Cian and Alice, first introduced their Case Studies (their own projects and important references) in a powerpoint (PRS1, Barcelona 2013) and then, six months later in Gent, they arranged an installation of pictures, hanged on wires (PRS2, Ghent 2014). In both situations the audience could have a tacit -yet very clearunderstanding of TAKA’s way of collaborating on projects. In their first PRS, when they used a powerpoint, they demonstrated their harmonious and complementary partnership in the way they made a two voices speech with no rigidity, but entering the other’s discourse in a perfect timing. On the second PRS that became even more evident in the way they spoke and move around the space, changing and adjusting their respective positions to point and show different elements, in a veritable duo dance. Siv Helene operates a similar shift while presenting her Case Studies in the first two PRS: while in her first PRS (Barcelona, 65

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

“The staging and ‘performance’ of the work was exceptionally impressive, making full use of the ‘real’ public environment of the open-‐ air building and in taking advantage of the consequences (highly appropriate to the ‘public realm’ subject matter) of doing so: (e.g. rubbish trucks, cyclists, passers-‐by joining the audience). The candidate’s oral and physical command of the stage, and his engagement with and delivery to his whole audience while maintaining a proper intellectual debate with his examiners was impressive and extremely enjoyable.”

various people cycling through the location, or else stopping off to listen for a while to what was being said. There was also a host of rubbish trucks and other vehicles passing by, which created a lot of noise. Regardless of these potential distractions, the candidate answered all the examiners’ questions with great care and composure, thus demonstrating that he is in full command of the ideas and concepts within his practice’s work.

2013) she used only a powerpoint - while sitting with the public- in her second PRS (Ghent, 2014) she combined a prezi presentation with the installation of some printed drawings displayed on the floor in a circle. By doing so she exposed more her presence to the audience, facing the panel, taking the position of a sun in the system of her constellations.

Giving structure to the research through Case Studies Following the discussion on the different kind and uses of Case Studies, particularly in the precedent cross-views, we arrive to some considerations concerning the different PhD frameworks. In most of the cases, candidates organize their research around Case Studies. Case Studies are like “landmarks” in the research work/field. They could be seen like recognizable objects/projects/ thoughts that are used to support the research process, used for the “research navigation”, to find directions and new territories. The Creative Practice Research process starts with the selection of “Case studies”, approaching the body of work and/or the world of reference. We then find the “cases studies” all long the process, until the final presentation and the catalogue. “PhD frameworks” often presented at the very beginning, remain traceable in the whole research process, like a DNA-structure. Namely, each candidate has his own body of work, his reference world, his cultural background, his “forma mentis”, that deeply influence his specific way to arrange the Case Studies and encode his research, throughout the process. Sometimes we have one-two important Case Studies (Deborah), sometimes they are rather organized in themes (Tom, Thierry), sometimes they are a mix of references and projects from the practice, linked by categories (Steve), or the research itself is a project and becomes a “landmark” (Rosanna, CJLim). Case studies could be methods, tools or research in itself. (see p.19 What are Case Studies?). In this cross-view, we try to illustrate through metaphors, how Case Studies frame the general construction of a research. Although candidates are in various stages of the research, -some are at the beginning while others have completed it- we can still see, for each of them, how Case Studies inform the structure of their work. In order to name such structures, we choose terms familiar to the candidates’ universe, thus connecting PhD Concepts and Case Studies framework, and we find that this concepts could be analysed in other PhD works: Skeleton is a framework where Case Studies structure the whole work (Thierry Kandjee), Bottega is a PhD where the Candidate gives to the workplace a central place in the research (Deborah Saunt), Manifest is a main project that bears the whole structure of the research (CJ Lim, Rosanna Van Klaveren), Evolutions, where Case Studies serve to explain the development of the “architectural identity” of the practice (Tom 67

Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron



Holbrook), Constellations describe works where the elements of the body of work are linked coherently (Siv Helene Stangeland), Echoes describes interdisciplinary PhD, where the research oscillates between Case Studies taken from different disciplines (Steve Larkin), Osmose address a research conducted by partners that investigate the same Case Studies (Cian Deegan and Alice Casey), Bricolage when the Research emerges from a “chaos” of heterogeneous Case Studies and gives a new sense to all of them (Sébastien Penfornis).

INTRODUCTION. THE PHD DOCUMENT FORMAT This PhD, pertaining to the art of garden de­sign, reflects upon the challenges facing land­scape architects in making landscape. The Catalogue is thus organised as a contemporary treatise on the practice of making landscape. FOUR CHAPTERS The Research Catalogue presents a review of the trajectory undertaken within the doctorate. The discourse is structured by four conversa­tions, which can be read independently or in a linear sequence. Armature, Ecology, Score and Platform propose different modes of practice. Each chapter is composed of two parts. Firstly, the projects are presented in a synthetic form to capture the nature of the design propositions, and to 68

NINE PROJECTS Out of 100 projects developed by the office, the selection of nine projects ranges from competi­tion entries to commissioned works taking place in four different parts of Europe. Each of these builds upon previous knowledge generated in the design. As such, they have to be read as a progression of rising awareness, but simultane­ously as a whole, as a ‘geography of knowledge’. ARCHIVE OF THE BODY OF WORK The Archive of the Body of Work includes a selection of projects conducted within and be­yond the practice in order to contextualise the research within a larger design production. EXHIBITION LAYOUT The Exhibition Layout is a draft proposal of the exhibition concept that aims to highlight the dif­ferent positions examined within the research.”

Thierry Kandjee (Research Catalogue p.5)

Bottega/Deborah Deborah choses two main Case Studies, two “landmarks”, structuring her research in two different approaches, from inside and from outside. In this way, she brings in a very clear direction her research work to the core theme: her workplace. The dynamic of her research is about the place where all is going in (people, ideas, her past, her life, the partnership with her husband, etc.) and what is going out (projects, awards, “new beauty” etc.), two movements that are symbolised respectively in her private house Covert House and in the West End urban project, both located in London, as well as her studio.


Case Studies Valentina Signore, Maria Veltcheva, Johan Verbeke and Kate Heron

Skeleton/Thierry The name we chose to explain the Thierry’s PhD Concept and Case Studies framework is already present in the title of the catalogue: Skeleton. The Table of Content of his research catalogue has a form of “matrix” that highlights the idea of a “structure”. If we consider it like an abstract drawing, it also looks like a cross section of a building, a skeleton of a building: the many sub-chapters of the Phd document are floors, while the 4 main chapters are balconies. In his work, Thierry tooks into account nine Case Studies, each of them is a “sub-chapter” in the catalogue. These “sub-chapters” are then grouped into chapters with themes: Armature, Ecology, Score, Platform. The nine projects/Case Studies structure entirely his research, shaping the “skeleton” of the catalogue. In the introduction he explains in few lines and very clearly the “structure of the “PhD Document”:

surface the threads at stake within them. Secondly, a reflective essay contextualises the findings of the works within the community of practice and maps the impact of the research findings onto the practice.

Manifest/CJ Lim Everything in the work of CJ Lim is shaped to explain and valorise the “landmark” of his research: his research coincides with the project ‘the Food Parliament’. Several observations lead to reinforce this idea. For example: behind the white wall of the first page “world parliament of Food.” appears. The Table of Contents is included in the first chapter “Towards to the Food Parliament”, written like the rest of the text, quite invisible at a first sight. Evolutions/ Tom Holbrook Under this theme, we intend how Case Studies help the researcher to find a way in his evolution as architect. The Research Catalogue’s title “Between furniture and infrastructure. Expanding disciplinary” announces a process and an aim. Observing the Table of Contents in Tom’s catalogue, one can notice a column on the right named “Case studies”. Case studies are “Landmarks” on his research path, along which Tom has rediscovered his identity as architect. Osmosis/TAKA Osmosis is the word we choose to describe TAKA’s research method. Two PhD students -Cian Deegan and Alice Casey, (TAKA architects)- partners in work and in life, search through their separate but parallel researches their common practice. In the same time, each of them has a defined identity, but together they structure a common way of existing, thanks to reference world and their projects (Case Studies, body of work). Their research begins with the spatial histories of Cian and Alice and their shared one, highlighting how they imprint to their common way/methodology of research.


Transformative Triggers

‘Triggers’ as markers of knowledge creation, and recognition of development and change in creative practice research

Anna Holder


This chapter discusses some of the research methods and techniques used in a developing model of creative practice research, within the context of the established but developing field of creative practice research, and the wider transformations of the doctorate and its relations to on-going practice. The study draws on examples from practitioner-researchers involved in the ADAPT-r network to demonstrate and articulate a diverse range of approaches within one broad model of the PhD by practice. This type of research is deeply contingent on personal approaches to creativity and the requirements of practice and must thus be responsive to individual and particular modes of practice. The discussion of research methodologies and methods in creative practice research can be seen to be highly embedded in the practitioner-researcher’s own personal approach. However, this study also explores how discussion and contextualisation in wider practice and practice research networks is used to transcend personal understanding and contribute to wider knowledge of design, creativity and creative practice.

30 David Boud and Mark Tennant, ‘Putting Doctoral Education to Work: Challenges to Academic Practice’, Higher Education Research and Development, 25.3 (2006), 293–306 (p. 295) <http://dx.doi. org/10.1080/07294360600793093>.


The production and distribution of knowledge is no longer seen as being the exclusive preserve of the universities […] knowledge is produced in workplace contexts. Such knowledge is performance related and ‘situated’ in a particular context […] it is not configured by the existing forms and boundaries of knowledge found in universities.31 This shift is recognisable in “a strong policy emphasis on the link between research, innovation and economic performance, so universities are now seen as agents of economic growth”, an understanding which helps to situate how doctoral candidates can focus on developing knowledge for use in relation to gaps in understanding within their own firm rather than in addressing knowledge gaps within the discipline or across the wider field of practice.32, 33 An extract from an interview with Tom Holbrook, director at UK architecture practice 5th Studio, undertaken for the ADAPT-r study, gives an insight into the ‘balancing act’ of the creative practice doctorate undertaken whilst running a busy architecture office:

I was very keen to stay close to the work of the practice [in my research]. But at the same time I had to directly interact with the other things I am supposed to be doing in the office as a director in the office, like getting projects, and finding work for people and that it was quite reassuring … that by coming here [to the PRS] and talking about the work [research could inform my future practice]This happened through 31 Boud and Tennant, p. 295.

32 Boud and Tennant, p. 294.

33 It should be noted that the institutional aims for the ADAPT-r ITN looked beyond the personal and industry outcomes from practitioner involvement in research, towards contribution to the discipline through the conversations and research projects generated through the activities of the network.


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Transformation of the phd: the higher education research and practice nexus In understanding the context in which knowledge and ‘transformation’ are sought within the creative practice doctorate it is helpful to trace the ways in which the candidates of the creative practice doctorate and their motivations may differ from research students within the historical model of the Humboltian doctorate, with its emphasis on expanding disciplinary knowledge within the university. Boud and Tennant, in their 2006 discussion of changes in doctoral education landscape, note the development of doctoral education to include candidates based outside of the university or developing doctoral research with the view to applying it to the workplace, and a concomitant “growing awareness that it is not productive to view doctoral education in narrow, instrumental terms”. 30 Understanding the activities of doctoral candidates in the field of creative practice research requires consideration not just of activities which might constitute research in the pursuit of contribution to knowledge in the traditional sense, nor of training for a research career. Within the context of the ‘ADAPT-r’ international creative

practice research training network, the model of doctoral research discussed in this chapter, ‘early stage researchers’ undertaking doctoral study are also established professionals in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, art and design. Their attraction to the doctoral programme among many motivations, tends to focus around progressing their practice through their own understandings of the processes of their work, its motivations and context, as well as contributing to wider knowledge in the disciplines in which they practice. This approach is in line with a shift observed in higher education and knowledge policy and practice at the turn of the 20th/21st century:

conversations at the PRS, conversations at the office, but also a growing confidence, that what we were doing (i.e. selfinitiating projects and producing publications that were about a desire of a project) was a legitimate tool to action. The PhD allowed me to frame this, so reflection on the practice actually could turn into prospective action and tools emerged, which were quite potent actually, and they helped me to legitimise something we were doing.

Tom Holbrook

What is a transformative trigger? To begin a discussion of the trigger, or the transformative trigger, in the PhD by Practice as undertaken within European creative practice research initial training network ‘ADAPT-r’, it is perhaps helpful to begin with a brief clarification of the term(s) and origin(s), if not a definition.

There are arguably moments in all research, when a discovery is made, or things ‘ fall into place’. Paying attention to these moments is arguably of particular importance to practice-led research, where the trajectory of the research does not follow a hypothesis, and form, topic and methods can be emergent within a process relying on the notably contingent trajectories of creative practice. For the creative practitioner-researcher, it is particularly important to develop awareness when shifts in understanding take place and insights are gained, in order to build recognition of knowledge within the creative practice which may be tacit, and to follow potentially fruitful avenues, to build understanding and support explication of knowledge.


The first lobe of the plan is the development of propositions (or research questions) out of an examination of the practitioner’s past practice. What were the propositions driving this work? The second lobe of this plan is where the enchainments to others and to projects by others who have engaged with similar propositions is located. […] The practitioner evaluates the ‘gap’ between their position and that suggested by the propositions that they have unearthed, and the ‘gap’ between those propositions and what others pursuing those propositions have accomplished in their designs. The third lobe is a tranche of work (tranche 1) carried out in the practice following the identification of these gaps. This is followed by an evaluation (presented at a Design practice 34 Marcello Stamm, ADAPTr Partners Meeting, Tuesday 25 November 2014, RMIT Barcelona. 35 Marcello Stamm.ibid.


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

The discussion of ‘triggers’ in the ADAPT-r model of the creative practice doctorate centres around driving a trajectory of understanding for the practitioner-researcher in identifying what is particular in the knowledge developed through their own practice. Triggers also catalyse approaches to explicating that knowledge according to applications for practitioner-researchers’ own practice development, but also to contribute to the development of their creative discipline. The ‘Transformative Trigger’ emerged, as with much of the RMIT PhD by Practice model, from observing successive cohorts of practitioners undertaking the creative practice research, and developing terminology with them to prompt their developing understanding and transformation of their creative

practice research. ‘Transformative triggers’ can be understood as shifts in the research, and in the understanding of the practitioner-researcher of their research. They may also correspond with or refer to shifts in the creative practice. Transformative triggers can be understood with regard to design practice as triggers to change. Marcelo Stamm, Deputy Dean of Research in Architecture and Design at RMIT, frames transformative triggers as ‘a provocation’, an idea of the ‘dynamics and shift’ within a practitioner’s practice over time (the time of the PhD or a longer time period). 34 Referring to the RMIT model of the PhD by Practice as developed by Leon van Schaik and others, Stamm discusses the “idea that the PRS would separate and create these ‘tranches’ of work, find gaps and then move with their practice forwards”.35 Stamm questions whether this assumption or hypothesis can be substantiated or evidenced, looking at the work of the ADAPT-r Fellows. He suggests that the 3-year time period of the PhD may be too short to see such shifts, and the theory may be more relevant over a longer timespan (25 years). In referring the ‘tranches’ of work, Stamm echoes van Schaik’s terminology of the PhD by Practice as three distinct ‘tranches’ within seven ‘lobes’. A chronological account of the typical PhD by practice, following the evolving model experienced by RMIT is given by van Schaik thus:

research conference) of that work and the extent to which it has closed the gaps. This is also when other gaps become evident. The forth lobe houses a second tranche of work (tranche 2), conducted with the re-defined gaps in mind. A similar evaluation takes place, and in the fifth lobe there is a third tranche of work (tranche 3). Why three tranches? This pattern has emerged spontaneously form within the research process. It seems that three tranches give sufficient evidence of shifts in design practice for the significance of the research to be demonstrated. Fewer can be dismissed, more are not needed. The sixth lobe refers to ‘the PhD moment’ the process through which a PhD is extracted from the research. And the final lobe is the concluding speculation about future practice that has been enabled by the research.36

Leon Van Schaik

36 Leon Van Schaik, ‘Design Practice Research: The Method’, Reflections 13: 127-134. 2010. pp.129-130. 37 SueAnne Ware, ADAPTr Partners Meeting, Wednesday 25 June 2014, University of Westminster, London.


It’s an ascension moment in the research. Its where a practice is in some way brought up to a level it wasn’t at before. Something has happened that has increased that practice in some way. It could be in terms of the techniques or the operations of that practice or it could be in terms of the practice’s own understanding of what it is trying to do and it is also an enabling moment, where some new possibility becomes evident.

Richard Blythe

This description focuses on the creative practice as activity as being modified in some way, or the creative practice as organisation as changing their understanding of their activity or aim. The 38 Interview with Richard Blythe and Veronika Valk, undertaken by Eli Hatleskog and Anna Holder, at Sint-Lukas Ghent, 18 April 2015. All the subsequent quotes from Blythe in this section are from this interview.


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

We quote this description almost in its entirety as it gives a useful context for discussion of this idea of ‘shifts’ between ‘tranches’ and where this terminology and understanding has come from. For van Schaik the idea of shifts in the practice happens through a focused and chronological series of actions and reflections. The ‘PhD moment’, rather than a suddenly illuminated light bulb is shown in Shaik’s ‘ideogram’ as a pipette carefully inserted through the final lobe to sample and bring together work from all the tranches and demonstrate the shifts that have taken place. In contrast to Stamm’s description, SueAnne Ware, landscape architect and previously an Adjunct Professor at RMIT involved in the PhD by Practice program, puts forward an understanding of ‘transformative triggers’ (a term she attributes to Marcelo Stamm) as “the ‘lightbulb going on’”, the moment when the candidate can look back at the ‘PhD journey’ and articulate, explicate or demonstrate the contribution to knowledge, and the shift that has taken place within their own understanding of their work.37 She is clear

that this shift is in the understanding and awareness the candidate has of their own work, rather than a shift in the practice itself. The other point Ware emphasizes is that this shift may occur at any point in the PhD process, and may be the result of the candidate’s individual working, or come out through discussion with critics in the PRS. It can also come about incrementally or in one sudden shift. It is evidenced in an increased self-awareness and clarity in presenting what their work is doing. Richard Blythe describes the approach to language within the RMIT PhD by Practice programme as an important tool in the supervision process, as terms are used to support individual candidates in “get at core elements of their practice”, but can subsequently have an expanded role as lenses to “look at how the research works”.38 As terms become formalised in representing stages of the PhD by Practice process, they can “create scaffolding around a candidate’s progress”. Blythe emphasises that clear and static definitions for these terms will not be pursued, as the looseness of the terms is something that is valued in the program, allowing the take-up of new words or phrases when other terms lose their value or become “not so sharp” when “people stop hearing” them, as they become accustomed to them. (See interview presented in Deliverable 5, for Blythe’s fuller description of the approach to language and terminology within the RMIT PhD by Practice programme). Blythe emphasises a reticence to give clarity to the terminology, for fear of fixing it and thus losing its operative power. However, he offered the following description of the trigger as he uses it:

change is suggested to be qualitative (bringing the practice “up to a level it wasn’t at before”, “something has happened that has increased that practice in some way”). The ‘ascension moment’ is future-oriented - “where some new possibility becomes evident” – but may only be about awareness of a possibility for change rather than a clear metamorphosis taking place from the trigger. Blythe clarifies different types or levels or trigger between personal triggers which prompt learning in the individual, and those which go beyond that personal or professional experience. A “general trigger” “allows for an ascension moment, which is within someone’s personal or professional practice”, while “a transformative trigger that extends beyond that particular circumstance and builds knowledge and contributes to knowledge”. Methodology This chapter, and the chapter entitled Public Behaviours by Eli Hatleskog (also within this volume), draws on empirical material generated through a series of research interviews with creative practice researchers and research supervisors within the ADAPT-r Training Network undertaken in the period November 2014 – November 2015. In the following section I will set out the methodology of the design, undertaking and analysis of these interviews. This work was undertaken by the author in collaboration with Dr. Eli Hatleskog at the University of Ljubjana, and supervised by Dr Claus Peder Pedersen and Dr. Tadeja Zupančič, and within the international cooperative endeavour of the ADAPT-r network.39

Research instrument and instrumentation The development of the research instrument, a mediated group interview, drew on methods emerging from the RMIT and ADAPT-r work using different ’lenses’ and points of view to better 39 In reporting and discussing the method and outcomes of the research I use the first person plural personal pronoun ‘we’ to refer to the thinking and actions of myself and Eli Hatleskog, working as a research team under the guidance of Claus Peder Pedersen and Tadeja Zupančič.


Our experience of the activities of the network began with our attendance at the Practice Research Symposium creative practice research conference, held in Barcelona in November 2014. This gathering of practitioners, practitioner-researchers and other interested parties is structured around the presentation of work to expert panels, and the discussion of modes of practice and developing understanding of that practice through public conversation, with reference to artefacts and representations of practice. Observation of this event as a starting point to our investigation gave us clues towards how the community of practice develops understanding relationally, testing out explications of their work and using the ‘sounding board’ of the panel and the wider audience. Also of interest was the way in which phrases and images from presentations ‘echoed’ across different practitioners’ presentations, panellists’ comments and were reported from previous research events – creating both a living ‘oral history’ of understandings of practice, and the opportunity for developing understandings to move quickly and be tested against other types of practice. Staged and reported conversation between practitioner-researchers could be observed as a key element of developing knowledge within the ADAPT-r network, and our development of the research instrument built on this mode of constructing understanding. The technique of mediated group interviews was also inspired by the ‘three party interview’ method developed by the government-funded research organisation Helsinki Design Lab through their 2013 project, ‘Legible Practices’:

Our hunch was that having practitioners interview other practitioners would take the conversation to a greater depth. People who have been there and done that know the hard questions.40 The mediated group interviews undertaken as part of this research were structured as four-way conversations, with two researchers and two respondents meeting for each interview. The respondents were paired in a number of ways, building on similarities or contrasts in their modes of practice, location and role within the network. These pairings did not rely upon respondents being already known to each other, but did not preclude this. 40 Bryan Boyer,. Justin W. Cook and Marco Steinberg. Legible Practises: Six stories about the craft of stewardship. Sitra, 2013. Available at: http://www. pdf , p.133.


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

This research aimed to draw out and construct understanding across the Europe-wide ADAPT-r network regarding: • ‘triggers’ within creative practice research, which pertain to shifts or changes in the mode of practice and the understanding of that practice • methods and instances of engagement and positioning of practice which help to define and develop it, for example through seeking recognition in different fora

understand creative practice.

Interview respondents In total, 18 creative practice researchers were interviewed for the study. The following list details the roles of those interviewed as part of this research, in terms of their status as practitioner-researchers or research supervisors, and their connection to the institutions of the ADAPT-r network: • 4 respondents had recently enrolled onto a PhD by Practice (2 enrolled at KU Leuven, 2 enrolled at RMIT)

• 6 respondents were 18 months into a PhD by Practice (5 enrolled at RMIT, 1 enrolled at Aarhus Arkitektskolen) • 1 respondent was nearing completion of the PhD by Practice, preparing for submission of the ‘research catalogue’ (enrolled at RMIT)

• 3 respondents recently completed a creative practice doctorate with RMIT and were subsequently involved as panellists for ADAPT-r PRS events, and beginning to take creative practice research supervision roles • 2 respondents were involved in creative practice research supervision and undertook creative practice doctorates within the RMIT program • 2 respondents were involved in creative practice research supervision

• Richard Blythe and Veronika Valk (Supervisors, RMIT and Estonian Academy of Arts Faculty of Architecture) •


Karin Helms and Tom Holbrook (ADAPT-r

Colm Moore and Alice Casey (ADAPT-r Fellows, RMIT)

Cian Deegan and Steve Larkin (ADAPT-r Fellows, RMIT)

• Jo Van Den Berghe and Arnaud Hendrickx (Graduates of the PhD by Practice, RMIT)

• Siv Helene Stangeland and Sam Kebbell (ADAPT-r Fellows, Aarhus and Westminster/RMIT) • Petra Marguc and Eric Guibert (ADAPT-r Fellows, KU LEUVEN)

• Martí Franch Batllori and Sebastien Penfornis (ADAPT-r Fellows, The Glasgow School of Art/RMIT)

A large proportion of those interviewed were candidates or graduates from RMIT, as RMIT’s PhD by Practice program is the longest-running among the institutions of the ADAPT-r ITN. While the findings of the study are most representative of one institution’s methods and understandings of the PhD by Practice, the involvement of candidates in placements at other institutions through the ADAPT-r ITN, and the involvement of several institutions as panellists at the PRS events means that the candidates are guided by ideas and inputs coming from more institutions than the one they are enrolled at for the PhD. Interview approach and preparation A semi-structured interview was designed in which the interviewers asked respondents descriptions about their experiences of creative practice research through discussion of concrete episodes from their practice and from the PhD process. In preparation for the interview, potential respondents received a written document outlining the scope and intentions of the interview. This document introduced the themes to be covered, enabling respondents to prepare their thoughts and where appropriate decide upon an artefact (or artefacts) to bring with them as an aide to conversation. There was opportunity for questions about the document, which was undertaken as email exchange or video conference/telephone conversation. A long-list of questions was included in the briefing document to give potential respondents an overview of what may be covered in the semi-structured interview. Respondents were encouraged to question or comment on one another’s points, and the interview was framed as a conversation between the group. 83

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Based on the available population from the ADAPT-r ITN at the time of undertaking this study, the majority of the respondents in the study were architects, with three being landscape architects. Therefore, the discussion of the creative practice doctorate based on the findings from the interviews is not immediately generalizable outside of these fields. Where possible references have been made to other creative fields through examples from the ADAPT-r conference. The interviews were undertaken as events, each undertaken with two interviewers and two respondents from the ADAPT-r network, as follows: • Kate Heron and Leon van Schaik (Supervisors, Westminster and RMIT)

Fellow & Supervisor, RMIT)

Pilot interview The approach to the interview design was developed, tested and refined through undertaking a pilot interview with two participants of the ADAPT-r network who had recently completed creative practice doctorates, and who were also recommended by our supervising Partners as having a good understanding of the RMIT PhD by Practice process. In order to develop the method of interviewing, we began by reviewing the research catalogues of the two pilot respondents, drawing out points we could find relating to the themes of triggers and behaviours and making notes about elements we felt were not covered. In addition, we read other papers and works developed by the respondents during the course of doctoral study, and looked at representations of their practice work. We also benefited from having seen both respondents present elements of their doctoral work in a ‘Research Methods’ presentation attached to the Practice Research Symposium in Barcelona in November 2014.

Analytic strategy Based on our experiences from the pilot interview, we developed an approach to transcribing the interviews from the audio recordings whereby pertinent information could be quickly highlighted based on recollections immediately after the interview and listening back to recordings. Using the manual transcription software 84

The illustrated transcripts were then circulated to the interview respondents for them to edit and propose any changes or additions to the text or images to better represent their ideas or positions, and changes suggested were incorporated. These illustrated interview records were designed to be accessible to other researchers and practitioners within the project. At a midway point in the research, emerging ideas and concerns from the first 10 interviewees responses were themed and discussed with project partners to test our understandings arising from the data against those of experienced researchers well-versed in the discussions of creative practice research and embedded in the network. Themes and topics emerging from the data collection and analysis were also presented at the internal and external research fora, in order to benefit from different interpretations from other creative practice researchers. Following completion of interview transcripts and reporting, codes from the instances of transformative triggers were compared and grouped across the 18 respondents for each topic, to identify themes emerging from the discussions across the data. These themes, and the groups of quotations and instances within them form the basis for the written analysis included in this chapter (and also in the chapter Public Behaviours). Our interpretation of the data from the interviews was also supplemented with observations from other activities within the network, such as PRS presentations and PhD completion presentations, and the ADAPT-r Creative Practice Research conference, ‘Making Research / Researching Making’ held in September 2015. Analysis of ‘triggers in creative practice research’ In the analysis that follows, creative practitioners’ descriptions of how they understand ‘triggers’ or ‘transformative triggers’ are themed around different stages and elements of the research process and the relationship between the research and creative practice. 85

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Reflecting on the pilot interview, we noted that pairing two respondents who knew one another’s work had benefits included aiding fluid conversation, as respondents were aware of one another’s projects and could give feedback on how well they felt explication in words related to their understanding of the work. However, drawbacks included limited investigative questioning between respondents; there was not necessarily anything new they wanted to find out from each other. Interviewing creative practitioners about their work brought up some particularities of method: one respondent used reference to photographs and drawings (though the other respondent did not), and it was necessary to note down gestures and phrases relating to the specific representation being referred to or indicated, as this would have been lost in the audio recording. Similarly, when we provided pen and paper for diagramming concepts in the course of the conversation, this was used by one of the respondents but not by the other. These observations led us to suggest that respondents bring visual material documenting their practice, and also drawing implements/materials of their choice, to the subsequent interviews.

‘Transcriptions’, we were able to listen to, tag and time-stamp audio file with text notes, and subsequently manually transcribe elements of the interview pertinent to the investigated themes of public behaviours and transformative triggers. These elements were then re-combined in the chronological order in which they occurred in the interview, to create an edited transcript of the interview including discussion of transformative triggers and public behaviours. The transcripts were illustrated with images of projects or artefacts which the participants directly referred to, or those which gave context of the work and environment of the practice.

‘Bringing to Light’ Revisiting, sorting and mapping past work: a trigger for changing understandings of practice A critical difference in the work of the PhD by Practice in comparison to the day-to-day architectural project development in practice is an emphasis on developing understandings across projects and time periods, looking at the work of the practice as an oeuvre and how this might be better understood and explicated.

The process is, OK, you’ve got a body of work. So the first thing is: What is that body of work? And that actually is a moment in which, even establishing what is that body of work, is where you get some of the major transformative triggers. An example from the past is a very interesting Australian practice with three partners and one office on one side of the 41 Bryan Lawson, ‘Schemata, Gambits and Precedent: Some Factors in Design Expertise’, Design Studies, 25.1 (2004), 443–57.


They didn’t even have a mental picture of the extent of what they’d done. Even something like that, these are all early triggers, transformative things.

Leon Van Schaik

Van Schaik emphasises the importance of re-familiarisation with the entire body of work, through laying out projects, sorting them and mapping connections, in order to establish a more complete picture of the practice, moving beyond the day-to-day understanding practitioner’s hold on their work, developing a researcher’s gaze, in looking at the work systematically and rigorously. Van Schaik went on to discuss how the process of sorting, grouping and categorising the work – what he refers to as ‘playing Happy Families’ is not necessarily informative in terms of the categories which emerge at that stage, so much as building up a familiarity with the whole body of work and becoming aware of it as an oeuvre, with different stages, preoccupations and knowledge within it. It is expected that this is a process not a single activity, rather it is a way of redeveloping awareness of the practitioner-researcher’s own work and will also help to position them within field of practitioners, a community of practice or established understandings of approaches to practice. The following descriptions from practitioner-researchers demonstrate four different approaches to looking back over past work. Arnaud Hendrickx, a Belgian architect, and one of the first cohort of European architects who undertook the PhD by Practice at Sint Lucas, with the degree awarded by RMIT, also discusses a method for analysing his body of work as a trigger for certain types of awareness:

I made a method of triggering. What I call the ‘method of good company’: this placing myself in a zone of discomfort. Not, ‘out of the comfort zone’, because it is very comfortable. But its not your usual way to become aware of some of the things you do. 87

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

The process of ‘bringing to light’ within the development of practice-as-research is a process of drawing out the knowledge of the practice as developed across multiple projects. Experienced practitioners design through recourse to a wealth of references, from others and from their own work, elements of which can be deployed, tested quickly as a design solution and used to filter, refine or change the approach to the problem in hand.41 Within the design office, newer employees will be directed to look at images and drawings from older projects from the practice, to learn from and sometimes replicate construction details, material specifications, methods of representation that have relevance for the project they are working on. The locating of these references and recognition of their relevance to the new projects is part of the role of the experienced practitioner, they perform a living directory of the past work to support and drive future work. However, the experience of those supervising the PhD by Practice over successive cohorts at RMIT has drawn attention to the ways in which knowledge of certain useful or recognised past works can elide or hide understanding of the full oeuvre. Van Schaik describes the processes of revisiting the past work of one’s practice, reflecting back over what makes up the ‘body of work’ or oeuvre, as a useful way for practitioner-researchers to trigger a change in their understanding of their practice:

continent and one on the other. And I went to visit the two on the West coast, and they said, “Yes, we’ve got about a hundred projects that we’ve done. We’ve closed this alley and the office next to us closes at 4 o’clock and well put trestle tables out there, well bring out all the models and we can play ‘Happy Families’ “. (You know, see which models fit with which). And the models kept coming, and they kept coming, and eventually they did a count - they had 300 projects.

To make something like Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas: just put together some of the objects of your practice – it could be drawings, could be text. And every time I made another collection, a mapping, what I call a ‘proximity wall’, where the proximity of things starts talking in a different language, there was one point on there which was unconnected. But I somehow still placed it there.

Arnaud Hendrickx

42 Christopher D. Johnson, ‘About the Mnemosyne Atlas’, Mnemosyne: Meanderings through Aby Warburg’s Atlas, 2015. Available at: http://warburg.> [accessed 5 November 2015]. 43 Sarat Maharaj, ‘Know-how and No-How: Stopgap Notes on “method” in Visual Art as Knowledge Production’, Art & Research: A Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods, 2.2 (2009), pp. 9–10, citing Agamben’s 1975 essay ‘Aby Warburg and the Nameless Science’ in Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy, edited and translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford Univeristy Press, 1999) pp.89-103.


One of the first things I did was to go back and look at all the practice. This allowed me to map out elements that make up projects and the associated influences. We made a number of discoveries about the work and work processes. Some of the more important discoveries I understand as transformative triggers. One such discovery is a categorisation of object and spatial thinking. This understanding opened the way to making a number of observations about design practice and also how the work might learn from, and sit into, a cultural context.

Steve Larkin

Yes, my supervisors suggested that I map out the projects. I organised it like a (musical) score as it allowed positioning of different projects and influences on a time-line and in relationships. The purpose of this method of mapping is quite internal to the candidate, in that the mappings do not communicate to the outside viewer without considerable interpretation from their maker. Larkin brings together his influences and projects on a time-line and connects them with lines indicating relationships. As he notes, Larkin’s mapping of objects and different examples of spatial thinking in precedents from European architecture allowed him in discussion with his supervisor to draw out discoveries about the work and work processes and how they sit into a wider practice context. Siv Helene Stangeland, founder and partner in Helen & Hard, a renowned Norwegian architecture practice with an emphasis on sustainability, currently undertaking a practice-led PhD at Arkitekstolen Aarhus, gave a description of her mapping process that emphasises subsequent stages of their use. Stangeland describes using mappings she made to understand her past practice as a method to explain the work to others, and also to feed new understandings back into future practice:

I can pull out two moments in the PhD period so far which I can relate to transformative triggers. One was after PRS 2, concluding, around that presentation of encyclopaedic mappings of the growth of Helen&Hard over 20 years, where I saw the whole practice as an enormous pool of knowledge built up – providing a rich but very specific growth fields, where on-going projects will grow in relation to each other. It 89

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Hendrickx’s ‘method of good company’ involves a process of analysing his body of work through collecting textual and visual representations and assembling them in order to see relations. Hendrickx is inspired by the ‘Mnemosyne Atlas’ of Warburg, an individual project undertaken in the 1920s, mapping ideas and symbolism in Western antiquity and their echoes and follow-ups through to the present day, in panels of constellated images.42 The approach of Hendrickx, drawing on an unusual way for him of developing awareness of the connections in his own past works, draws on feelings of the connections. Rather than using received categories (e.g.. project size, project type, location, client type) the method is reliant on tacit and experiential knowledge of the projects, and in assembling projects together things become apparent to the practitioner-researcher in terms of feelings of ‘discomfort’ or awareness of ‘tension’ between the representations of projects and his own thoughts about them. This parallels Warburg’s approach to knowing described by Maharaj as an “experimental-embodied practice” working with what Agamben describes as “think-feelknow”.43 It is a feeling, which leads Hendrickx that his mapping of proximities is important for his understanding of the projects. The stimulus does not lead straight away to declarative or propositional knowledge. Rather it leads to an awareness of where to focus observation or further analysis. Steve Larkin, an Irish architect currently undertaking the PhD by Practice at RMIT, also discusses a process of mapping in order

to relate elements within his projects to wider influences and a cultural context for the architecture projects he has developed:

was a moment where I saw these resources and constellations making up a practice as a third order of design. And the potential of being more conscious about how to further nourish it and use it when developing projects as well as when we present our practice. I was then actually using these mappings in several lectures afterwards getting feedback on it as elucidating in terms of understanding the work we do better.

Siv Helene Stangeland

Stangeland focussed her mapping on understanding the growth of the practice, with reference to the types of projects they were doing but also the size and operation of the practice as an organisation, and the places they were working in. The presentation of the mappings in lectures about the office then allowed the understandings developed to be tested in terms of how well they communicated to outside audiences. Being able to conceptualise the practice and past projects in terms of areas of specific knowledge and expertise allowed Stangeland to begin to think about areas of growth in relation to current projects, but also to introduce design into the way of conceptualising and planning the development of the office as an organisation – what she terms ‘a third order of design’. New Zealand architect Sam Kebbell, who is undertaking his PhD by Practice at RMIT, with a period of study at the University of Westminster, discussed using different methods of diagramming and mapping his projects as part of an ongoing process. He suggests that there is not one ‘correct’ way of developing understanding from the projects, rather that one can return to the same projects looking for, and constructing, different understandings:

Sam Kebbell

Kebbell’s diagram of the Humbug house takes an analytical 90

[Sam Kebbell] was having a great deal of trouble understanding how to reflect on the working to reflect the work back out into the [PRS] community in ways that were research and went beyond telling people what the work is. It wasn’t until he made this very beautiful diagram, of the Humbug house, which is the black and white striped one, where he pulls it apart just to show one small thing which is the story of the deckchair. What he had done there was to develop a technique, which he has then been able to apply to a series of buildings. This is a transformative trigger in terms of research techniques, which has allowed him to see his practice in a way that he hadn’t actually understood it before, but it’s also a useful technique in the sense that we can put it there and say that this is an example of how someone could do it. We wouldn’t for a minute assume that everyone would do ‘Sam Kebbell drawings’, but they could have in their mind – “ah I could make a drawing to talk about an aspect of the work which might then be helpful in research terms”. Richard Blythe

Blythe describes challenge of moving “beyond telling people what the work is”, and thus helps to frame the process of mapping and understanding the body of work as research methods for the creative practice doctorate. From the vantage point of the supervisor the method of mapping of a particular candidate is also potentially transformative in communicating a research technique to be used in the process of revisiting the body of work and explicating it. There is an emphasis on the development of these methods being 91

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

The way that I’m diagramming projects at the moment, the diagrams I showed you in January and some that I’ve showed today are really different - they’re the same projects, some of the projects are 5 or 10 years old, and I’ve diagrammed them lots before and presented them lots before, but the way that I’m doing it now is completely different. And we could certainly talk about the transformative part of the phrase is relevant to that: it is the distance between what’s happening now and what happened then. A key diagram was the one that I did of Humbug. But that wasn’t a moment, it came out of a series of diagrams that slowly got more and more focussed.

technique, a form of visual analysis whereby elements from a building façade are visually put in relation with material objects which inspired their design. He emphasises, that in calling the diagramming process a trigger, it is not to suggest that there is immediate understanding, ‘a moment’ but rather that he works through an iterative process towards constructing meaning, with understanding emerging slowly through a series of diagrams. Kebbell’s PhD supervisor, Richard Blythe, discusses this transformation in the ways of construction understanding from the projects firstly in relation to the shift from articulating the projects descriptively, to analytic method which draws out stories that influence the work:

particular to each candidate and their mode of practice – they are not necessarily transferable: “we can put it there and say that this is an example of how someone could do it […] We wouldn’t for a minute assume that everyone would do ‘Sam Kebbell drawings’”. However, seeing a method developed by one practitioner and understanding how it is particular to their work, and how it has triggered a subsequent line of investigation, can provide a useful tool in communicating a particular research approach to other practitioner-researchers. In this context, Blythe suggests it can become transformative in influencing researchers coming after.

Supervision & Research Presentation Events Triggers from interaction with the adapt-r network: developing practitioner-researcher understanding within a community of practice The supervisor-candidate relationship emerged, perhaps unsurprisingly, as a crucial catalyst and support in the development of knowledge through the PhD by Practice. In our interviews, practitioner-researchers emphasized the value they felt in getting an experienced academic in their field to spend time looking at their practice, including visiting their built works, and giving them detailed feedback. In this approach the supervisor is seen as a critic and connoisseur, valued for what they can see in the work that is different from the perceptions of the expert designer who has made it. The approach to this ‘seeing things in the work’ relies on a physical experience of the outcomes of practice, discussion with the expert designer and then a presentation back to the designer in which the connoisseur indicates things which either have not been noticed by the designer or are at odds with their self-perception of the work, these then ‘trigger’ re-evaluation and questioning. Alice Casey, a founder and partner in Dublin-based practice TAKA, undertaking a PhD by practice at RMIT, reflects on the importance of supervision in unsettling initial assumptions she held about tectonic approach in their practice:

Alice Casey

What is important here is the supervisor visiting the creative work or site of creative production, thus responding to it, not only the candidate’s representation of it. Thus the supervisor-candidate 92


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

[my supervisor] was very good, I think he came into the office quite early on - between PRS 1 or PRS 2 - He wanted to discuss our [practice] attitude to ‘ honesty’ and materials. We had been talking about how honest tectonic expression was one of the main drivers in our buildings. And he said, “Yes, but you feel free to use steel and use steel in a certain way. Why do you paint steel and you don’t paint plywood?” And we said we paint steel because it’s a manufactured thing. And he said “Yes but you use plywood. Plywood is completely manufactured and you don’t paint plywood.”

44 B. M. Grant, ‘Agonistic Struggle: Master Slave Dialogues in Humanities Supervision’, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 7.1 (2008), 9–27 (pp. 12–13).


between supervisor, student and thesis, whereby the supervisor’s relations with the student are mediated through the thesis, but also their contact with the thesis (and ability to shape it) is mediated through the student. In the discussion with supervisors involved in the RMIT and ADAPT-r project, the need for the supervisor to have direct access to the work - buildings or designs that the candidate has produced in their career to date - was emphasized. Kate Heron, ADAPT-r representative at the University of Westminster and PhD supervisor, states that having direct contact with the past work of the candidate is a “crucial bit of a supervisor’s role”. In this way the supervisor is able to form an aesthetic judgment of work in context and represent this understanding of the work back to the candidate. As Leon van Schaik explains: “I write back to them telling them what I have seen. [...] it reveals gaps - between what an outsider can see and what they’re seeing.” Supervision in this model of the creative practice doctorate takes place not only through one to one meetings with the supervisor, but also in the biannual Practice Research Symposium, which structures the creative practice doctorate in providing a place for presentation, feedback and review, learning between candidates and a sense of regular progression. Over the course of a minimum 3 years, practitioner-researchers are required to take part in at least 7 biannual Practice Research Symposia (PRS), whereby work-inprogress is presented to panel of critics, including PhD supervisors and past PhDs as well as invited experts, attended by an audience of current PhD candidates, interested practitioners and others. The role of PRS panellists is in responding to and helping to identify the usefulness of observations and understandings practitioner-researchers are drawing out from their work, and suggesting where to focus investigation. Partner in TAKA architects Cian Deegan discusses how a different term for reference projects and images used by a PRS panellist triggered a change in understanding for him about how certain precedent projects and architectural devices influenced his practice:

There was a moment for me in the feedback at the first PRS, where what we were calling references Jo [Van Den Berghe] referred to as ‘ fascinations’. I think it seems funny, it’s only a word, but it felt extremely profound to me, because it was a change from something being something academic to something which was about a non-categorised, I suppose, love of these things that were out there. 95

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

relationship within the creative practice doctorate also includes close engagement with the candidate’s creative work. Casey expresses how she values her supervisor’s engagement with her previous work early in the process of the PhD, as it has brought out a contradiction between how her practice viewed its approach to tectonic expression of materials in the building, and thus to the working theory the office had of what it was their work was doing in architectural terms. The supervisor’s role here can be seen to draw on his propositional knowledge of theories of architecture: the idea of ‘honesty’ of material expression references the approaches developed by 19th century French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and English critic John Ruskin. However, in his questioning of the surface treatment of different materials in the practitioner-researcher’s work, the supervisor is drawing on an experiential knowledge, responding to the aesthetics of the work. His critique and questioning of the choice to paint one material and leave another visible is not put to the candidate as a negation of their architectural approach, but uses a Socratic questioning style to draw attention to what he sees as being a flaw in their explanation to themselves of why they have done this. As the candidate reflects, the exchange does not provide her with a ‘better answer’ but simply undermines a previously held assertion: “I still don’t really know why we paint steel and we don’t paint plywood, but I do realize it’s not about ‘honesty’ or faithfulness to a material”. This undermining points to avenues of exploration in questioning prior sense-making of aesthetic judgments: “we were used to thinking we just do ‘awkward looking’ things and we’re not hugely interested in the aesthetic output. But I think we are”. As with mapping, the trigger of this discussion with the supervisor is not simply a moment of change, but a catalyst to a process of consideration and understanding differently. Talking about buildings produced by the architect in the course of their practice, and through which their expertise in practicing architecture has developed, Leon van Schaik emphasizes the importance of the candidate’s previous work, and also the need for the supervisor to have an un-mediated, direct access to it: “You have to visit it, you have to experience it.” The triangular structure of the PhD relationship has been discussed by Grant in terms of the Humanities doctorate.44 Grant presents PhD supervision in terms of a mutual struggle and dependence

There didn’t necessarily have to be a logic placed on them.

Cian Deegan

Here the term of ‘fascinations’ used by a panellist is seen by Deegan as a trigger to change the value which he puts on projects and instance which have influenced his work. The term does not need to be precise, as for example, terminology with accepted understandings within the discipline, but rather, connotes a different type of understanding in the moment of the conversation. The word then seems to become a place-holder for a new understanding to be investigated. This idea of words used as place-holders as part of a process of finding new understandings was something which we observed in other PRS sessions, and is also reported in the interview with Arnaud Hendrickx, where he described how one of the projects which stood out as feeling “disconnected” in his proximity mappings was identified in a PRS presentation as his “monster”. This term then became a shorthand for an area of investigation and a re-evaluating of the project and subsequently its relationship to other projects. Triggers from interaction with the adapt-r network: supervisors and panellists in a critical or provocative role As experienced practitioners, used to presenting their work to receptive audience within the context of invited lectures, several of the practitioner-researchers noted how much they value the PRS in terms of getting critique or contradiction in their own understandings of their work. Siv Helene Stangeland describes questioning from a PRS panellist which made her re-evaluate her outcomes from the process of mapping and understanding the work:

Siv Helene Stangeland


I believe that there are some personal issues in this situation. That some people that you respect a lot would hit harder. And I think why it hit me last time was that as well as asking these critical questions, Leon was also pointing at one drawing which I was particularly fond of. So he was recognising something that was very important for me and was criticising at the same time, that is a transformative trigger trick.

Siv Helene Stangeland

Stangeland mentions the ‘trick’ of knowing where to ‘hit’ in the critique of the work, to catalyse pushing thinking further. It can be observed that the involvement in the PhD puts at stake both the professional life and body of work of the practitioner, and their personal understandings and self-belief as is tied up in this work. Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that respondents discussed the ‘triggers’ of transformation within the process of the doctorate in emotive and emotional terms. Kate Heron, in discussing the role of supervisors and panellists in triggering progression of the work, refers to a panellist who articulated the need for ‘crisis’ to drive the PhD process:

[...]I keep coming back to a comment that Paul [Minifie] made a year ago. And you could feel this whole thing [a presentation at the PRS] was flagging a bit. Actually, the PhD process was flagging, slightly more than halfway through. And Paul suddenly said: “if you’re going to have a crisis I think now is a good moment.’ I suppose [the candidate] had no idea there might be anything like a crisis or that in fact one needed to be induced. And Paul did it. So sometimes the supervisor has to sort of [dig in and?] prod. But I haven’t actually witnessed that happening on any other occasion.

Kate Heron


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

the other [trigger] was in PRS 4, where I got these intriguing questions, which really set me up. Like - “Where does things come from? Why does it matter for you to make something beautiful? This is a very cool response!” - It was triggering me to really dig into what is going on while designing. It was like I hadn’t been unpacking closely enough through the extensive mapping. I thought that I had really given all of what I could but with this response I saw that I kept getting stuck, that I’m not really revealing what is going on. So that was a very important moment which triggered a change in the way I was researching the practice.

This quotation emphasises the importance of the personal aspect of relationships within the PRS, as the panellist recognises emotional attachments or sensibilities in the work and thus can effectively catalyse an emotional and involved response. The involved response also relates to the feelings of respect between practitioner-researchers and the PRS panel, built up over the period of involvement in the community of practice:

Here the panellist, through communicating the need for an extreme level of re-evaluation, addresses lack of progression in the research. However, there is an ethical question in the probity of trying to catalyses crisis with candidates whose work will then need to continue outside of the PRS context, and thus perhaps the supervisor relationship is a more stable and structured space for offering extreme critique or direction change. Sebastien Penfornis, a French landscape architect and urban designer, who is nearing completion of his PhD by practice, discusses the value of discussion with his research supervisor in a way that catalysed change in the research process and subsequently the practice, through highlighting different approaches and values which can be incorporated into practice-led research:


At the same period, the research process seemed to have reached a kind of impasse. The investigation didn’t really reflect any real modes of engagement. During a discussion with my supervisor, SueAnne Ware, she highlighted the importance of the notion of play and pleasure in the research process. This discussion sparked a new way of envisaging my investigation, through a more carefree and playful approach

Sebastian Penfornis

45 John Hockey and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, ‘The Supervision of Practice-Based Research Degrees in Art and Design’, Journal of Art & Design Education, 19.3 (2000), 345–55; Jillian Hamilton and Susan Carson, 12 Principles for the Effective Supervision of Creative Practice Higher Research Degrees (Sydney: Queensland University of Technology, 2013) Available at:



Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

In this model of creative practice research many candidates come into the PhD programme without a clear understanding of what research entails and how it might be undertaken in a way which dovetails with the interests of practice. As such, part of the role of the supervisor is in supporting candidates to think more broadly about how they can draw on their expertise from practice, in a way that can be developed as research. The role of the supervisor in supporting candidates stepping between the ‘worlds’ of practice and research is beyond the scope of this chapter, but is an area of potential interest to the development of the creative practice doctorate in the partner institutions of the ITN. Reflections on the supervisor role particular to the creative practice doctorate are discussed in Hockey and Allen-Collinson’s survey of UK art and design research supervisors, and in the Queensland University of Technology report ‘12 Principles for the Effective Supervision of Creative Practice Higher Research

Embracing Uncertainty The space of ‘not-knowing’ in shifting and developing understandings of practice With regard to the candidates interviewed as part of the ITN, there is a shift in behaviour in undertaking the research, as successful professionals who operate with a high degree of confidence and autonomy in practice, become for a period reliant on the supervisor with reference to the judgment this person brings to the task of research supervision, but also critical insight into their practice. The supervisor arguably holds a powerful role in shaping discussion of what the work is or is not doing, what it is about, and where to focus investigation into knowledge within the work. If one sees the built work as data and the supervisor as giving strong hints to the candidate as to how to analyse and theorize this data, we could argue that the work of the candidate is being undertaken in collaboration with the supervisor, rather than just under their supervision.


This way of describing it has been with the program for twenty years (begins drawing diagram of cone of practice). It’s really broad at the base because that is the established mastery. But in looking at that and then presenting the body of work at one of these research symposiums, in the very act of presenting it you open up a gap. Which is the gap between your practice and what you understand of it. Then the next time you’re trying to close that gap. But in the very process of closing it, you open up another one, and it just seems to go on. Typically it goes on three times, and round about the third time you suddenly have a thing we used to call the ‘PhD moment’. This is the moment it produced - an “aha, I can see how I could actually derive a PhD [project] from it, how I could finish this thing off ”. (drawing) Putting a pipette through it and drawing it out.

Leon Van Schaik

In the initial stages this gap between thinking and rethinking of practice and developing understanding seems to require an acceptance of working with uncertainty and with not knowing. As discussed above, while a trigger may happen within a moment of conversation or development of a method of mapping, the subsequent understanding emerges within a process e.g. of testing different interpretations or iterating explicatory mappings. Interviewing candidates at the midway stage in the PhD (those whole had been working for 18 months or more within the PRS structure) discussion of triggers focussed more around what was not known, or rejection of previous understandings, as the articulation of knowledge:

So I have this thing about the layering up of small things, and equating that to how we actually design as well. That we don’t necessarily see the whole, we see bits and then we add those bits together, and that makes the whole. So then thinking about the research a bit like that. Because I was really intimidated or confused about inevitable question ‘What’s your PhD, what’s it about?’ I’m slowly realising that maybe, hopefully by the end I might know what the PhDs about. Just having faith in the process maybe. Just doing the 101

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

However, critical to the understanding of research through the medium of practice is the role of ongoing practice as a method of research. Thus, the aim of the PhD is not for the candidate to produce a written exegesis on the significance of their built work in relation to theory from their own or other disciplines. Rather it is to draw out expertise and knowledge which exists in the prior work of the practitioner and in the means of practicing, and understanding made explicit in order both to be applied to future work of their own and to contribute more widely to practice knowledge through communication to others. This takes the form of verbal and visual presentation in an examination before expert examiners, peers and public, and a catalogue of images of work and written text which together create an exposition of the knowledge developed in the practice. In relation to this type of doctorate, supervisors are seen (by themselves and the candidates) to have the role of supporting ways of better understanding what the work of the candidate is and what it does in terms of discipline-specific knowledge. Rather than beginning the doctoral research with a research question, the topic of research emerges and is narrowed down throughout the first year to year and a half of study. This happens through a process of discovering gaps between the work of the practice and understandings of it which can be communicated within the community of practice (as discussed above). Leon van Schaik discussed this process of identifying gaps in our interview

with him in relation to the idea of the trigger and transformative trigger:

bits, and I’m hoping when the bits add together there’ll be something.

Alice Casey

Cian Deegan, Casey’s practice partner, discusses a shift in values he has experienced through the PhD process, which again relates both to understandings of the design process and outputs of practice and the methods of presenting and explicating this to a wider audience:

I suppose before the PRS or the PhD I would have consciously thought the best building that you make is the one that is the most clear, the most pure, the most powerful, the most singular. And that has absolutely fundamentally changed. In my view, I would have thought ambiguity before was somewhat of a failure, and [I ] now absolutely revel in the complexity. […]We don’t present our work anymore in talks as being the perfect thing; we talk about doubts and failures.

Cian Deegan

Once a gap in understanding has been recognised, the practitioner-researcher proceeds in this space of not knowing, possibly drawing on place-holder terms or metaphors as discussed above, to draw closer to the gap in understanding. In working in this space of uncertainty the creative practitioner-researcher also becomes attuned to other ways of perceiving as steps towards understanding, something which is discussed in the following section.

Other Ways Of Knowing Recognising triggers through other ways of knowing: intuition, hunch, ‘feeling’ and bodily knowledge The creative practice doctorate involves experiences and judgements based on and understood through experience, the knowledge from which is required to be shared, as a move towards exposition and explication. Indeed, a key challenge comes from this personal experiential element of practice, in that much of the knowledge needed for, and generated through art/design/architecture practice is not verbalised, but occurs through interaction with materials and media of practice, visual representation, reaction to bodily experiences of spaces, atmospheres etc. Reliant on integrative processes of aesthetic judgement, learned procedures and applied theories, it is thus difficult to draw out what are the key elements to explicate.

46 Kristina Niedderer, ‘Mapping the Meaning of Knowledge in Design Research’, Design Research Quarterly, 2.2 (2007), 1–13 (p. 8). 47 Niedderer, p. 9.



Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Niedderer suggests that experiential knowledge includes both sensual knowledge “ the unmediated reception of external reality through the sense”, and perceptual knowledge, “the reception of external stimuli mediated through human faculties”.46 This understanding, drawing attention to both personal, unmediated experience and experience, mediated through thinking, judgement, memory etc., underpins our understanding of experiential knowledge in our focus on ways of knowing and types of knowledge that are important to practice-based research. Niederrer’s formulation of how experiential knowledge might relate to propositional and procedural knowledge is also influential in how we have approached this research, as we follow the assertion that “propositional knowledge can be understood as the norms and principles by which to understand experiential knowledge, while procedural knowledge can be understood as experiential knowledge in action”.47 Describing the experience of shifts of understanding in the PhD process and in practice, practitioner-researchers pay attention to different ways of ‘feeling’, and ‘intuitive’ ways of knowing. Triggers are experienced as bodily, visual or other tacit means of recognition. Recognising and addressing the gaps entails a shift in ways of understanding work, often founded on intuitive modes of thinking.

Belgian architect Jo van den Berghe, a graduate of the PhD by Practice at RMIT, describes a ‘moment’ of awareness dawning in response to reading. Van den Berghe begins with a stimulus from theory – the idea of spaces experienced as a child being somehow formative– which he then relates to his own experience, finds relevance for but cannot explicate:

Jo Van Den Berghe It’s a moment, a specific moment, which you are aware is important. When it happens, you are triggered by something. So, a transformative trigger is a moment and there is something else that causes that moment. This one, ‘My Grandmother’s House’ (above), was caused by reading. In this case, reading Leon van Schaik’s 2008 book ‘Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture’. In the reading process, I became aware of constitutive moments in my own spatial history, and realized that they were situated in that house. I could not explain what it was exactly, at that moment. Anna Holder But you felt it? Yes. It was poking me here (gestures to his side). And saying ‘You have to investigate that and it’s going to be a lot of work’, which I subsequently did.

Van den Berghe’s account of a stimulus resulting in a specific moment of a dawning awareness, that cannot be explained exactly at that moment, tallies in some ways with Leon van Schaik’s concept of ‘the gap’. There is both an emotive and experiential element 104

48 Leon van Schaik, Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture (Chichester: Wiley, 2008).

49 Emma Policastro, ‘Creative Intuition: An Integrative Review’, Creativity Research Journal, 8.2 (1995), 99–113 (pp. 99–100). 50 Policastro, p. 99.


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

It all became possible through appreciating this ‘ house’ as an entrance gate, which led me to a new field, that all of a sudden opened up… I could look at it and I could begin to give names to things. ‘This is a thickness and that’s a substance, that’s a depth and that’s a darkness’.

to the description of the realisation or awareness – the trigger is ‘poking’ him and saying, “You have to” explore this further. The theory of ‘spatial intelligence’48 gives form to something Van den Berghe is aware of as experience - “I became aware of constitutive moments… situated in that house” – but the understanding or insight developing in response to this trigger remains tacit – “I could not explain what it was exactly, at that moment”. Van den Berghe’s description of the subsequent work of the PhD demonstrates a method of analysis applied to the experiential memories of a space he sees as being important to his development as a practitioner. He constructs a lexicon of terms to articulate spatial elements in a way which describes their qualities but is particular to his understanding of the space: “I could look at it and I could begin to give names to things. ‘This is a thickness and that’s a substance, that’s a depth and that’s a darkness’ “. Policastro’s 1995 review of the concept of ‘creative intuition’, which draws on a range of previous studies and documentation of the creative processes of highly creative people, including researchers and scientists as well as architects, reflects both the phenomenological, experienced understanding of intuition as “a vague anticipatory perception that orients creative work in a promising direction” and a technical understanding of intuition as a “tacit form of knowledge that broadly constrains the creative search by setting its preliminary scope”.49 Policastro contrasts this with insight, which involves sudden awareness and clarity of understanding.50 Policastro reflects on the limitations of autobiographical testimonies, noting that the creative process may involve changes that are not reflected in the subjects’ memories, and also the limitation of describing the creative process in words. However, the value of personal accounts is in building a phenomenological understanding of intuition as experienced by the creative individual. A key insight Policastro draws out is the relationship between intuition and logical and sequential processes, as she notes that intuitive leaps may need to be followed with a logical plan for proceeding with a creative endeavour, and that the metaphorical ‘seeing’ of answers in scientific research may prefigure a direction which then takes further years of methodical work. Reflecting on the concept of triggers, Van Den Berghe

introduces the idea that once certain ways of recognising triggers have been experienced it is possible to seek and operationalize them. In this extract from our interview he reflects on a moment of recognition that came from a photograph he had taken during the process of construction:

I still remember the moment when I took this picture. I took it simply because I said to myself, ‘This is a nice image. I want to keep this building like that’. Full stop. And it went into the archive. But having gone through the spaces of this house mentally, it came back. And I said ‘OK, there have been transformative triggers before that one’. This was a moment of insight. Which is perhaps the second definition of transformative triggers. And then out of that, in the research itself, I made this design (gestures to drawing). As a piece of architecture that should look like this in its final state. And then approaching the end of the PhD, there was another one like this (detail sketch). Which was part of the design for my new workshop. I began to see there is a chain of transformative triggers. Like a chain reaction. One trigger, triggers another trigger, that triggers another… And once you begin to see that, I think you become able to instrumentalise it.

Jo Van Den Berghe

“[...] knowledge is promoted through an intimate criss-crossing between construction/making, perception/observing and conceptualization/understanding.” 51 51 Catharina Dyrssen, ‘Navigating in Heterogeneity: Architectural Thinking and Art Based Research’, in The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, ed. by Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (Routledge, 2012), p. 225.


in my research practice transformative triggers are the key experiences which made me shift the way of doing architecture. […] [I] felt performing as an architect requires a broader range of knowledge and design skills than how to shape and transform matter. That intuition which I couldn’t name, and which became explicit for me as a trigger during the debate on urban blocks, provoked that after having been working already in architecture practice I decided to enrol in a postgraduate course. Petra Marguc

Marguc terms ‘intuition’ her recognition of lack of particular design knowledge for social action and transformation, which she then shifts into action to seek out and develop further understanding. Interviewees also referenced intuitive understandings which were recognised prior to beginning the research trajectory, and guided the work or career choices. There is a recognition of experience as key to a type of knowing which guides action, as Catalan landscape architect Martí Franch Batllori describes: “Since I’m quite an action person, I act first and later I reflect, upon the results of action. So intuition leads the action.” Triggers within practice The triggers discussed thus far relate to the process of the creative practice doctorate: bringing to light an expanded understanding of the practice; testing this understanding in conversations with supervisors and within the forum of the Practice Research Symposium; working with uncertainty as previously held knowledge is unseated or disrupted; and learning to pay attention to other ways of knowing. 107

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Van den Berghe’s interview looks back on the process of the PhD, post completion, and can thus begin to draw connections from these intuitive or tacit moments of recognition to the work of explicating and application in on-going practice. His description of moving between ‘feeling’ and visual understanding, experiential knowledge explored in relation to theory, and then drawing, designing and making parallels Catharina Dyrssen’s explication of the ‘embodied realism of architectural design and practice research as criss-crossing actions and modes of understanding:

For practitioner-researchers in the earlier stages of the research process, discussing these tacit ways of knowing is less clear, and has not yet been articulated in the process of development of the research. However, references to intuitive modes of working and understanding occurred frequently in our discussion of triggers. Petra Marguc, founder of Polimorph, a Paris-based architecture and urbanism practice, beginning the PhD by practice at KU Leuven, reflects on the experience of designing interventions within a postwar city, and how this influenced her understandings of knowledge needed in her practice:

Triggers were also discussed in the expanded sense of catalysts and shifts within the practitioner-researcher’s practice trajectory and their motivations for taking risks and opportunities. Triggers within practice: recognising and pursuing triggers to change Siv Helene Stangeland discussed the process of developing work for exhibition and exhibiting work as a trigger for her practice. She discussed exhibition as a ‘confrontation ‘ in articulating a standpoint in relation to the wider profession:

I think there has been transformative triggers in the praxis from the very beginning, but now I see them in a new light through the PhD process. It’s always linked to a kind of confrontation with where we stand in relation to what we perceive is a more general standpoint of the profession. And the wider we set up that frame for ourselves to position ourselves, then the bigger the confrontation. And every exhibition has been a transformative trigger in this respect, if I think about it.

Siv Helene Stangeland

Sebastien Penfornis also talked about the presentation of the practice towards the wider profession as a trigger for change, giving the example of their receipt of an award from a professional journal, which catalysed a re-articulating of the position of the practice for the journal in the form of an article, which then helped to develop an on-going approach:

From 2012 onwards, my practice gained access to public commissions on a national scale. Taktyk’s involvement in major projects for the greater Paris region resulted in the expansion of the agency from 4 to 20 people. This major increase in staff engendered an internal restructuring of the responsibilities and roles of each team member.

Sebastien Penfornis

Martí Franch Batllori discussed a key trigger in the development of his practice in the shift to self-initiating projects:

So the way to start was I took some references from elsewhere and I went and I talked to the municipality of my hometown, Girona. I said well I mean to do that and this would be part of a system of growing value to the edge of town, would you like to play with this? That we collaborate together? I need to borrow some of your garden department staff to implement a Pilot project, and quite fast the said yes. It wasn’t really structured, but I knew we had to start by having some palpable results, and this required action. The next step would be to show the result to the politics and policy makers and convince them to expand a system on the knowledge gained by the prototype.

Martí Franch Batllori

Franch Batllori sees the initiating of this project, which marked a way to develop his understanding of design through management, as a transformative trigger, in its articulating of a distinct way of working, which marks a shift for his practice and what he considers a contribution to wider knowledge for the discipline through this ‘live’ testing of a new way of working.

In 2012, Taktyk received the Topos landscape award. This recognition was associated with the writing of an article in Topos magazine, presenting a new portrait of the practice, addressing bricolage and collage as our privileged operative modes.

Sebastien Penfornis

The receipt of the Topos award and the process of articulating the Taktyk mode of practice coincided with access to larger 108


Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

For me one of the scales, that I saw triggered my research, was not simply within the PRS format, or the presentation styles I chose to represent my practice through, but also how others saw value in the work and wrote about it, for example in the format of a magazine, Topos.

commissions and a subsequent change in scale of the practice as an organisation:

Reflections And Conclusions


• ‘Bringing to light’: Revisiting, sorting and mapping past work as a trigger for changing understandings of practice; • Triggers from interaction with a creative practice research network: Developing practitioner-researcher understandings within a community of practice, and, supervisors and panellists in a critical or provocative role;

• Embracing uncertainty: The space of ‘not-knowing’ in shifting and developing understandings of practice; • Other ways of knowing: Recognising triggers through other ways of knowing: intuition, hunch, ‘feeling’ and bodily knowledge;

• Triggers within practice: Recognising and pursuing triggers to change practice through creative practice research.

In the above summing up I use triggers, as opposed to transformative triggers. As clarified by Richard Blythe in the group interview, the intention of the term transformative triggers is the demarcation of methods or techniques that have a wider application and contribution beyond the developing understanding of the practitioner-researcher themselves. As various members of the ADAPT-r network noted, ‘trigger’ is an intentionally loose term, one that is open to redefinition and change. We might also talk of methods and techniques for the revisiting, reconstructing and sifting of past work, and awareness or sensitivities, in terms of feeling and recognising changes in approach and understanding through specific research processes. In the majority of instances described above, the trigger is a catalyst to a shift or change in understanding or action, relating to the practitioner-researcher’s own knowledge of and from their work and how they might begin to communicate this. In order to be substantiated as a contribution to wider knowledge for a larger community or for the discipline this knowledge would need to be positioned within the context of wider practice and more fully exposed or explicated. However, the development of methods of triggering the bringing to light of understandings, or of paying attention to ‘other’ ways of knowing beyond propositional knowledge in order to make sense of particularities in the creative process 111

Transformative Triggers Anna Holder

Reflections on the methods and limitations of the study The generating of primary research data for this study relied heavily on the quality of the discussion generated in mediated group interviews between creative practitioner-researchers and the researchers undertaking the study. The idea of an interview which allowed a back-and-forth between creative practitioners, ‘bouncing ideas off’ one another, and working together to articulate difficult concepts or tacit knowledge, was realized to different extents in the interview pairings. For example, pairing two practitioner-researchers who were from different architecture practices but had collaborated in the past, shared office space and taught in the same institution, allowed for flowing conversation. The respondents encouraged, challenged and teased one another to discuss their work and seemed to demonstrate potential for developing knowledge through the talking together when they reflected on shared experiences within their mutual community of practice. However, the interviewees were also seemingly very relaxed, and perhaps too informal, and respondents could possibly have been ‘pushed’ more by feeling like they needed to explicate, and critically reflect, if they had been paired with another practitioner they were less comfortable with. In another pairing, two creative practitioners with quite different modes of practice and little former interaction productively questioned one another, and one, (having researched the work of the other a little before the interview) made links and asked questions about the relationship between practice and cultural context which went beyond the questions and prompts of the interviewers. The development of the interview method for this study focused on a phenomenological approach in terms of our interest in practitioner-researcher’s experiences of the research process. It is also constructivist in epistemology, focusing on respondents’ understandings of their practice and research activity, and recognizing this knowledge as a personal and social construction. This in some cases found conflict with practitioner-researchers’ own views of practice, which incorporated epistemological essentialism, believing there was a true essence to their practice that they could access through reason.

‘Triggers’ as markers of knowledge creation, development and change in creative practice research The following types of trigger, and ways of understanding the term trigger, are advanced as having relevance to the development of creative practitioners’ research into and through their own practice:

and wider practice is a vital ‘step’ in the research journey, and should be recognised and valorised as such. It is important to note that triggers are not (necessarily) immediate insights or moments of clarity, but rather a means of opening up of gaps and spaces for investigation. As noted in the comments on ‘embracing uncertainty’, practitioner-researchers must make a significant step to unseat previously held assertions about their practice or to begin to conceptualise and in some way ‘sketch out’ the knowledge and experience gap they are trying to bridge in the process of creative practice research. Therefore, this more nuanced understanding of the different types of triggers - which allow a move from unquestioned certainty into critical, reflective and exploratory spaces of uncertainty and non-knowledge - is useful to open up understanding of the different stages of the explication process. Developing these triggers - be they methods, articulations of other ways of knowing, or particular instances of sense-making and testing conversation - into tools which have efficacy beyond their original crafting within the practitioner-researcher’s own trajectory of understanding, then allows them to be seen as transformative, with a clearer use, and possibly wider application.


Public Behaviours

Eli Hatleskog


This chapter has been written in response to research into the work package title: ‘Identify public behaviours including trans-disciplinary impacts’. It follows twelve months of meta-research across the ADAPT-r ITN. The chapter approaches the notion of public behaviours in Creative Practice Research (CPR) with regard to four different perspectives or scales: • •

The theoretical context, why behaviour?

The institutional, project field and interactions across CPR.

• The ER methodological, can a method be a public behaviour?

conversations, this means that boundaries can blur. Sometimes I have felt guilty - are these people my friends? Am I being deceitful when I think how this conversation would make a great example of an unconscious behaviour? Do they remember why I’m here? The unease of these thoughts has, no doubt, led to a great deal of self-censorship which may be apparent in the reporting. In order to gain an understanding of our own public behaviours, as experienced researchers, the chapter, related to transformative triggers needs to be explored in parallel to this one.

• The ESR/Supervisor practical, deliberate and unconscious behaviours.

The main body of data supporting this research comes from mediated group interviews that were staged with eighteen supervisors and researcher/practitioners and can be found in the project internal reports. Anna and I joined the ADAPT-r network following the activities of two other Experienced Researchers and many of the Early Stage Researchers were already in place at their host institutions. In order to get an understanding of our interactions, conflicts and responses within the network, the following section will give insight into how we positioned ourselves with regard to the meta-research.

It should, perhaps, be noted that the role of experienced researcher within the ADAPT-r network requires somewhat perilous navigation. Put most simply, we embody conflict of interest, not least, since we are paid by ADAPT-r to research ADAPT-r. As such, over the course of our fellowships, we have interacted with fellows, partners and others with a view to finding out what public behaviours are. We have made social connections and had many 116


Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

Role and conflicts of the experienced researcher position Our role within ADAPT-r ITN has been to research the research that is going on within the framework of the PhD by practice. So where supervisors might argue that, through say the PRS, they are performing peer review, we, the experienced researchers, are conducting research into our peers. This puts us in the middle of something, where our role has not been to judge and express the research potential in the diverse practices of the Early Stage Researchers, but instead, to take actions toward making sense of triggers and behaviours in collaboration with members of ADAPT-r ITN.

Why Behave? Relevance and intentions in creative practice research What is the relevance of creative practice research today? Now, after twenty years of development, creative practice research has established itself, as a valid research methodology, across Europe and beyond. What started with a question, that seemed radical at the time, what could research in the medium of creative practice be?52 has become increasingly more mainstream. In turn, there are ample opportunities to do research in many varied forms of creative practice. These range from: architecture, art, dance, design, film-making, music, writing, new media, and also disciplines beyond those normally considered ‘creative’. This broad acceptance of creative practice research, as a recognised approach to research, means that we can move on from discussions of - is it research? toward questioning the intentions, purpose and outcomes of this type of research. Asking why we need creative practice research is important, since it is different to other types of research. In turn, rather than assuming that creativity is an end in itself, it can be understood to have much broader societal significance. It addresses themes, concerns and knowledge production through the development of new ideas and the use of imagination and, as such, is inherently future-orientated.53 The approach differs to both quantitative and qualitative approaches, which tend to look backwards, since it seeks neither to measure, explain and predict events -it is not necessarily deductive - nor does it aim to explore and construct theories - it is not necessarily inductive. 54 The outputs of creative practice research are not limited to either numbers or words, but can be framed, instead, by the imagination. The future-orientation of creative practice research gives it a special place in society. It deals with the new, the unknown, the

53 Frayling, C. (1993). Research in art and design. V: Royal College of Art: Research Paper, 1 (1).

54 Schwandt, G. (2005). Dictionary of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.


What creativity used to be Over the past twenty years, understandings of what creativity is have profoundly changed; the notion of the creative genius has been dispelled, in favour of a more relational understanding of creativity that operates in networks and across disciplines and fields. 55 See: Mouffe, C. (1999). Deliberative democracy or antagonistic pluralism?. Social Research, 66 (3), pp. 745-58. Frayling, C. (1993). Research in art and design. V: Royal College of Art: Research Paper, 1 (1). Hirst, Paul. (1995). Education and the Production of New Ideas, AA Files 29, London: AA Publications.

56 Sullivan, G. (2011). CREATIVITY AS RESEARCH PRACTICE, International Handbook of Research in Arts Education, London: Springer.


Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

52 Following on, not least from the work of Leon van Schaik: Schaik, L, van. & Johnson, A. (2011). Architecture and Design: BY PRACTICE, BY INVITATION: Design Practice Research at RMIT. Melbourne: onepointsixone.

desired and the undesirable.55 It can challenge us to think about who we want to be and allow us to question our intentions and consider new ways of doing things. It can enable us to see things differently.56 As such, everything we do as creative practice researchers is in some way political. With this in mind, what are the intentions, purposes and outcomes of creative practice research? What are we doing and why? There can, at times, be a myopic slant to creative practice research, which sees practitioners look into their souls and practice for answers. Whilst this, no doubt, can reveal some of the methods, intentionality and actions in practice, it also demonstrates a twentieth century, modernist, mind-set at work. Today, however, knowledge is understood to be socially constructed and multiple, so it would be fair to say that modernist singularities lack the depth, complexity and context, that we now understand, and expect, to be present in creative practice research. Rather than being an essence, contained within the individual, knowledge in creative practice research is largely social and distributed amongst different communities of practice. These communities provide fields of significance, contexts and relationships, against which the intentions, purposes and outcomes of creative practice research may be framed. Creativity goes way beyond the individual, it relates to the things that we value and share. In turn, these things can act as incentives and triggers to creativity. Furthermore, by considering that creative practice can provide ideas, imagined futures for society, some broader considerations arise, which relate to the intentions, purposes and outcomes of research through creative practice. These are concerns about the ethics of creative practice research, the responsibilities of researchers and the impact of the research: its sustainability. After all, our future is not singular; it is common.

57 Rand, A. (1961). For the new intellectual. New York: Signet. p.79: The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or surbordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary. 58 Of which only one was female, suggesting his writings promote the notion of the predominantly male master.


published, we have undergone a paradigm shift from the modern to the post-modern and as a result of this shift, Gardener’s conclusions cannot be applied with any real significance to contemporary notions of creativity. This is something that Howard Gardner himself acknowledges. In the preface to the 2011 edition, he discusses the transition from modernism to post-modernism and the impact that this had with regard to his earlier writings: I was aware that this era was at an end, and that we had embarked on an era that was postmodern: both in the literal sense, of succeeding the modern era, and in the rhetorical sense, an era exhibiting its own epistemology and aesthetics. […] Briefly, the postmodern era is a time when any claim of ultimate truth or morality is shunned, where genres are blurred and readily mixed, and when seriousness is challenged and irony is favored. And had I been more prescient, I would have anticipated the dominance of the digital media: global communication, the collapse of time and space, instant access to knowledge and to personal messages, and powerful interpersonal networks. […] more of artistic work is collaborative—across genres and disciplines, and even with teams of creators. (pp. xviii – xix) Following on from the idea that creativity is now a collaborative endeavour, new forms of media and communication have altered our understanding of what creativity can mean. After all, there is no need for any artist to feel isolated, move to the city or reject all human relationships, when virtual networks can connect people with common concerns across both time and space. In the same way that the invention of printed media altered the spaces through which knowledge was both produced and distributed,59 immaterial networks have changed our understandings of knowledge,60 which, in turn, has impacted upon how new ideas can be produced through creative processes. What creativity can be Given that creativity goes well beyond the individual, the issue of creative practice research is complex and relates to public behaviours. As such, the question of what creativity can be today relates to what individuals choose to share, have in common or disagree 59 As famously declared by the Archdeacon in Victor Hugo’s, Notre Dame de Paris (Book V) [Hugo, V., & Guyard, M. (1961). Notre-Dame de Paris. Paris: Éditions Garnier frères.] “This will destroy that. The book will destroy the edifice.”

60 Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2004). Multitude. New York: The Penguin Press. P. 105.


Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

As an example of the modernist creative genius, the writings of Howard Gardner describe a creative mind-set, which shows similarities to an objectivist world-view.57 In 1993, Gardener published ‘Creating Minds’, in the book he describes investigations into seven people58 who he deemed to be ‘master creators’ from the modern era (1885-1935): Sigmund Freud; Albert Einstein; Pablo Picasso; Igor Stravinsky; TS Eliot; Martha Graham and Mahatma Gandhi. The study concluded that creative masters: come from supportive homes lacking in emotional warmth; are prone to mental fragility; are rebellious by nature; treat others badly (from disregarding people, to out and out sadism); feel marginalised, isolated and lonely, so move to a metropolis; are productive every single day, and are under the illusion that they have made some kind of Faustian pact, whereby they feel that they have sacrificed everything for their talent. These conclusions seem to suggest the singular ego of a ‘master creator’ requires a great deal of selfactualization, which comes about, in part, through the dogged rejection of relationships, context and community. However, it must be remembered that Gardner’s social science study, aimed at developing reflections about how to study creative processes, was developed through a sample size of only seven. So, it does not represent all of creativity – either by masters or amateurs, but only a very small part. Indeed, Gardener himself asserts that if he had chosen other subjects, then his results would have been quite different. To demonstrate this he discusses the conclusion that ‘master creators’ move to the city and notes that with a different choice of master, Ludwig Wittgenstein, he, ‘would have detected an opposite pattern.’(p. xv) Following on from this, his conclusion that creative people were difficult and disposed to treat others badly, could equally have been reversed if different subjects, like for example Charles Darwin, had been chosen.(p. xvi) The study sought to look at recognised creative minds with a view to constructing broad generalisations from these few case studies. These generalisations were, however, specific to the time period and mind-set that the selected subjects, the masters, operated in: the modern era. However, since ‘Creating Minds’ was first

upon. There are many potential contexts and relationships that may be relevant to creative practice, with this in mind, creative practice research may be seen to relate to how a practitioner/researcher decides to frame their interactions, engagements and collaborations with others. It is with regard to this act of framing that new knowledge can begin to be produced, transforming creative practice into creative practice research. In turn, by thinking about knowledge as being socially constructed, something which operates within networks, in relationships and between actors, it becomes clear that there is no singular thing that amounts to knowing, instead there are multiple knowledges. Knowledge represents multiple considerations about creativity. Creativity can be a new idea, imagination and/or innovation; it too is multiple. As such, it can be thought of as responsive and relational, not classic and timeless. This raises the question, how is creativity recognised? If it is not an essential quality waiting to be discovered, then where does it come from? The simple answer is that it comes from us: we recognise creativity; we define it; we shape it; and we understand it both singularly and collectively. In turn, although, or because, we are linked across networks through commonalities, we do not all have to agree what creativity is. This is exactly why it has to be multiple, responsive and relational. As such, whilst the creative practitioner plays a key role in the creative process, that role is singular and lacks meaning without consensus. In other words, communities need to identify with the creative practice in such a way that common ground is found in the agreement that something is, or is not, creative. This means that creativity can be defined in common through the crowd.

… it is the community and not the individual who makes creativity manifest. Csikszentmihalyi (1999, 16)

… what we call creativity is not the product of single individuals, but of social systems making judgements about individual’s products. Any definition of creativity […] will

Csikszentmihalyi (1999, 3)

The seemingly symbiotic relationship between a creative practitioner and his/her audience suggests a dynamic through which exchanges between the two depend upon a certain degree of commonality. There is an underlying complicity, whereby it is not only that the creative practitioner produces ideas, but that the audience expects those very ideas. The audience’s anticipation of creativity may, in turn, put pressure on the creative practitioner to act in a particular way. This means the audience is by no means neutral, there is a tension between the creative practitioner and the audience and whether negative, positive or something else, this tension may trigger creativity. As such, to call the audience an audience is perhaps incorrect, since that suggests a one-way flow of knowledge from the individual creative practitioner to the observing public. Furthermore, given the rise of social media, it is doubtful whether a passive observing public even exists anymore. So, rather than trying to think of audiences or publics, it is perhaps more useful to take into account: contexts; processes; social interactions; material practices; ambiguities and disagreements, and talk about communities of practice.61 These communities of practice are not measures through which creativity can be judged and appreciated. But rather, they support, prompt and produce innovation through enhancing individual and collective competences. Knowledge is developed through communities of practice as shared interest and alignment; it is ‘the product of habits and everyday interaction in which thinking and acting are combined in inseparable unity’.62 In turn, creativity may be understood to relate to processes, which include three different types of knowledge: • There is input knowledge (Verbeke, 2013), which is the knowing before action. It relates to the skills, experience and understandings of the creative practitioners and communities of practice. It is competence. • There is also output knowledge, which is the knowing as a result of action. It is the outcome of the creative

61 Amin, A., & Roberts, J. (2008). Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice. Research Policy, 37(2), 353-369.

62 Amin, A., & Cohendet, P. (2004). Architectures of knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 62



Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

As such, creativity can be understood as innovation that is appreciated in some way by others. It is not self-contained; it has meaning only in that others say it does.

have to recognise the fact that the audience is as important to its constitution as the individual to whom it is credited.

process and ideally results in a new idea. It is innovation.

• However, between competence and innovation knowledge is also developed relationally through collaborations and interaction, relational knowledge. This is knowledge in action and it produced through communication.

The input knowledge is what any given creative practice researcher brings to his/her research. It is composed of all of their existing skills and experiences. It is what they have learnt through doing practice and can be seen demonstrated through their actions and responses in practice. It can be developed over time through repeated operations, such as doing things, trying things out, copying others, and learning from anticipated and unanticipated responses. Quite simply, it comes about through practicing something over time. Given that competence lies largely in actions taken, it is for the most part unspoken. It may be thought of as the reasoning behind any number of tacit operations. These tacit operations are not, however, contained or controlled by any one individual, but work instead across communities of practice. As such, competence has dynamic capabilities, and allows the framing of knowledge across communities of practice. In turn, competences can also overlap, compliment and contrast each other across creative communities:

Creative communities are those that are able to confront and channel difference and disagreement. Learning within them is clearly partly a matter of exploiting existing competences, but it is also both about retaining variety so that these new opportunities are not lost and renegotiating the creative play of dissonance, ambiguity, struggling with otherness, and rivalries.

Amin & Cohendet, 2004, 117.


‘creativity [is] not something […] contained within the head and heart of a person, but […] an outcome […] given meaning by what others [have] to say about it.’ Furthermore, as Frank Blacker asserts,

‘ knowing should be studied as practice, and practice should be studied as activity that is rooted in time and culture’.

(2002, 63)

Thinking about the temporal dimensions of creative innovation allows us to move on from the idea that the outputs of creative practice are singular, self-standing artefacts, since every creative innovation performs across space, time and context and in relation to various communities of practice. As such, the outputs of creative practice go well beyond any objects of practice, such as: paintings,


Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

This suggests that relationships between competences can be both diverse and nuanced, but, not only that, they can also be productive. Competence is not static, it develops and learns in response to situations and experiences. As such, it is a type of knowledge that is constantly in flux and whilst it can be described, any description can only be a momentary understanding. (This links to ‘mental space’ – Van Schaik, 2008, 36.) With regard to creative practice research, competence may be considered as a framework to the narrative of research, which itself changes over time. This framework may give confidence to actions, instill doubt or bring conflict, however, it can also provide support

to creativity, since it provides a dynamic set of relationships and situations in which actions may happen. The output knowledge of creative practice would ideally be innovation of some sort. Innovation may be regarded as change of some sort. The practitioner aspires to make something new, or to have an original idea. For a creative practitioner innovation may result in the production of an artefact, event or experience. In turn, what is new or original can only be seen in relation to the existing context, as perceived by communities of practice. This lends a great deal of specificity to innovation. It is situated. So where competence may be regarded as a framework in which the practitioner has the potential to act, innovation occurs at a specific point and time within these potentials. It is a moment of crystallisation and transformation. In order for innovation to be innovative it must be recognised as such by the creative practice researcher’s communities of practice. In addition to this, the new and original can only be defined as new and original with regard to the past. As such the question of when innovation occurs becomes critical. This suggests that with regard to creative output/innovation, as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asserted in 1996, the question need not be what is creativity? But rather: when is creativity? Indeed, as Graeme Sullivan (2007, 83) states (whilst discussing Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi),

… knowledge is not simply communicated between actors (human and mechanic), but is generated through 63 Till, J. (2011). Is doing architecture doing research? 4th International Meeting On Architectural And Urbanism Research, Valencia: Universitat Politècnica De València ‘Architecture exceeds the building as object, just as art exceeds the painting as object.’


communication – speech acts, conversations bodily gestures, glances, expressions, data exchanges, machine to machine interactions, are the relational iterations through which we know, understand, and learn. Amin & Cohendet (2004, 67)

Communication can be understood as conversations that develop and reveal relationships between actors. They operate socially, in both context and time, by creating common links and interactions across the field of research. As such, a conversation is not simply two people talking, but the negotiation of relationships and can be operationalized with a view to explicating knowledge through creative practice research. This view of conversation supports the idea that understandings of context/spatiality do not necessarily develop when visiting or experiencing a space (even although that can be a factor), but rather that conversations can link actors across a field that is both temporal and spatial, in such a way that knowledge may be developed somewhere else entirely and at a different time, through the act of investigating and developing relationships in conversation. (McFarlane, 2011, 7) Communication and the development of relational knowledge is vital to creative practice research, not only because is contextualises the research, but also because it can make it relevant to the creative professions, communities of practice and society at large. In turn, communication allows for both the co-creation of knowledge and the sharing of ideas. It can trigger, develop and disseminate creativity. Furthermore, much of creative practice is already about communication. Architecture, art, dance, design, film-making, music, writing and new media, can all be forms of expression, whereby practitioners are engaging with the world and developing relationships. As such, it seems only sensible that creative practice research would harness this tendency, somehow, toward the pursuit of new knowledge. Given that knowledge can be developed through conversations, which engage and act across various communities of practice, it would seem that creative practice research has an opportunity to think differently about how research itself is communicated. Creative practice researchers can work in any number of different media and fora. They need not be restricted by the format of the standard scientific article. There are many other ways for the sharing, co-creation and dissemination of new knowledge. By considering creative practice research as a means of 127

Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

sculptures and buildings.63 Where it is clear that there is knowledge in both the inputs (competences) and the outputs (innovations) of creative practice and that these knowledges rely upon space, time and context, and operate with regard to communities of practice, the knowledge in creative practice cannot be classified as research unless it is framedas such. Doing creative practice is not the same as doing creative practice research. With this in mind, it can be useful to consider the knowledge that may be produced somewhere between competence and innovation, when seeking to conduct creative practice research. In order to make the transition from creative practice to creative practice research, practice needs to be framed differently. This framing would typically be achieved, in the first instance, with regard to a length of time. This could be the duration it takes to complete a PhD project, or other research fellowship. It is during this time, that a practitioner/researcher has the opportunity to position themselves with regard to their own research. This could be done through considering their relationships to communities and knowledge. In turn, they might consider the competences that they have acquired over the years and the innovations that they have been a part of, in relation to where they are today, or perhaps, where they want to be, and with regard to, context, process, social interaction, material practices, ambiguity, disagreement, in other words, communities of practice of which they are a part. By considering these relationships, creative practitioners can find ways to frame their practice, so that it becomes research, at the same time as developing knowledge relationally. Indeed, it would seem that relational knowledge is critical to creative practice research, since it can be produced through collaborations and interactions. It can develop shared connections between past experiences and future ideas. It is a type of knowledge that is present in action and refined and developed through communication, where communication is understood much more broadly than just speech. It includes actions, movements and data, which mediate across communities of practice, fields, disciplines, humans and nonhumans. It represents conversations about shared experiences, concerns, identities, tools and engagements.

developing knowledge through communication, it can be understood as a way of framing practice as research and then exploring and developing relationships and conversations through practice, with a view to creating relational knowledge. This knowledge relates, not least, to time, space, context, communities of practice, competence and innovation. However, these very things (time, space, context, communities of practice, competence and innovation) are themselves not static. They can evolve, adapt, resist and react, in relation to knowledge as it develops through creative practice research. As such, the conversations are not one way. There can be consensus, ambiguity and conflict. However, through the researcher and through communities of practice, there is always an intention of some sort. Conversations are never neutral. With this in mind, it becomes clear that there is no creativity for creativity’s sake. There is always an objective, a purpose and an outcome and this is also the case for creative practice research. Why creative practice research What then is the purpose of creative practice research? There is, of course not one simple intention, but multiple possible agendas and outcomes, which may result in many different forms of new knowledge. Over the past twenty years, creative practice research has asserted itself as a valid methodology. It is more than a way of studying creative processes with a view to developing new understandings. If the purpose were simply to investigate knowing in practice, it would not need its own methods, reflective practice would suffice.64 Creative practice research is also about more than the products of practice. Of course there is knowledge embedded in the artefacts, events or experiences of creative practice, however, that knowledge is only a small part of creative practice.

64 SchĂśn, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books.



Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

Creative practice may be thought of as the dynamic negotiations of various competences across communities of practice, leading to innovation. In turn, it may be suggested that the role of creative practice research is to explicate knowledge from these dynamic relationships or conversations. This knowledge is propagated by competence and can result in innovation, however, in order to become research, creative practice needs to be framed in relation to practitioner/researchers and communities of practice. This can result in a situated, yet dynamic, knowledge, that is produced in context through the development of relationships. By understanding creative practice research as being situated

with regard to relationships, across broad fields, or networks, between practitioner/researchers, communities of practice and society, it becomes clear that the role of the researcher is critical to the process of the research. This can be challenging for creative practice researchers, since, often, they might assume that it is their creative productions, whether artefacts, events, experiences or something else, that communicate across networks on their behalf. However, where creative productions can mediate to some degree with communities of practice and society, they do not stand alone. They are always embedded in particular contexts, spaces and time, and set in direct regard to the agency of the creative practice researcher(s) and communities of practice. There are many invisible forces, intentions and agendas at work. This is even the case when practitioner/researchers do not think that they are actively practicing or researching. As such, it must be understood that the titles of: artist, musician, architect, and sculptor, are all imbued with different types of agency, which the communities of practice respond tacitly to. So, a member of the public might speak to an architect with an expectation, or understanding, that that very architect can help, or hurt them, in some way. The title of architect suggests that the person holding it has the power to act in a particular way, even if they say they do not and have no intention of doing so. Nevertheless, the title triggers a different kind of conversation. Following on from this, this agency also extends to the title of researcher and as such, when creative practitioners call themselves researchers, other kinds of tacit responses can develop. With this in mind, it would seem naĂŻve to think that any creative practice researcher could be treated as an objective entity within his/her research. By the very nature of creative practice, the researcher is enmeshed in complex relationships and contexts that they can never simply observe, in the same way that they can never simply be observed. This lack of neutrality suggests that creative practice researchers need to think carefully about the ethics of what they do, their responsibilities and what the outcomes might be. Is the creative practice research sustainable, both materially and socially? After all, communities of practice are dynamic and responsive. In other words, are situations made better or worse by the actions of creative practice researchers? Creative practice research gives us the opportunity to see things differently, however, things, once seen, cannot be unseen, so there is an ethical responsibility for researchers to think about the

changes that they might expect to exert through practice. Creative practice research does not take place in a vacuum, so communities of practice and society can all be affected in some-way. This raises the question: what do we use creative practice research for, is it just about seeing things differently, or is it also about thinking about things relationally and saying different things? Creativity is not an end in itself, however, it can support the development of knowledge through interactions, engagements and collaborations. As such, creative practice research is not about singularities. It is a means of researchers framing their intentions with regard to communities of practice. This type of positioning is inherently political, not least since both the practitioner/researcher and communities of practice have agency and are dynamic. When it comes to doing research across the diverse field that is practice, it may, in turn, be useful for practitioner/researchers to consider what is common. What values do they share with others? What responsibilities and ethics? In turn, how can these shared values help to trigger ideas and what are the common futures that may be imagined together?

What is Public Behaviour? Is it an interaction ritual? Following on from the previous section’s assertion that creativity does not come about in isolation, this section will describe how public behaviours can describe ways of navigating the contexts in which creative practitioners practice and conduct research. This will be done with a view to understanding what public behaviours might mean with regard to the evolving RMIT/ADAPT-r PhD by Practice network and with reference to the American sociologist, Randall Collins’ descriptions of Interaction Rituals (IRs), as explored in his 1988 book, ‘The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change’. In ‘The Sociology of Philosophies’, Collins suggests that the history of ideas is the history of social structure, or networks of people who exert, ‘emotional energy and cultural capital’ through chains of human interactions and contact. The principal motivator of intellectual activity is conflict among those who form the networks, and the greatest concentration of creativity’s emotional energy is found in face-to-face relationships at the centre of networks. Collins describes interpersonal activity and conflict across the network as Interaction Rituals and proposed that these rituals have three main ingredients: • A group of at least two people is physically assembled. • They focus attention on the same object or action, and each becomes aware that the other is maintaining this focus. •

They share a common mood or emotion. (p. 22)



Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

In order to demonstrate his point, Collins takes examples from historical intellectual communities across: Ancient China, India, Japan, to France, Germany and beyond. These communities are mapped in relation to relationships between masters and pupils, colleagues or competitors, with a view to visualising acquaintances, collaborations and conflicts. Collins suggests that face-to-face acquaintance, collaboration and conflict allows for people in the network to both converse and engage in micro-behaviours, such as through voice, rhythm and movement, the fluctuations of which, prompt the creation of emotional energy. In turn, the emotional energy generated though

face-to-face interactions is critical to IRs, since it can be a driver to creative or intellectual ideas. Collins argues that IRs are of interest since, ‘if one can understand the principles that determine intellectual networks, one has a causal explanation of ideas and their changes.’ (p. xviii) As such, he proposes that an understanding of IRs can support attempts in trying to know, or find out, how innovation can occur through creative processes. Furthermore, he suggests that the notion of the individual creative person/hero is only an abstraction made in relation to the contexts in which creative people practice. (p.3) The broad assertion in Collins’ notion of IRs is that face-to-face interaction is critical. It is not simply as a means of positioning oneself within a network, but rather, a way of generating emotional energy, which can trigger the production of new ideas. He suggests that text based dissemination methods do not prompt sufficient levels of emotional energy and as such, may not be considered an effective means of catalysing innovation.

face-to-face contact is preferable to disembodied forms of communication, such as artifact image or text, since it allows for responsive micro-behaviours that may, in turn, prompt emotional energy and generate innovation.1 In addition to this, it may also be noted, that by making this kind of argument, in relation to the primacy of social interactions, Collins is simply doing what sociologists do best.

… although lectures, discussions, conferences, and other realtime gatherings would seem to be superfluous in a world of texts, it is exactly these face-to-face structures which are most constant across the entire history of intellectual life […] Without face-to-face rituals, writings and ideas would never be charged up with emotional energy. (p.25-27)


In turn, he proposes that creativity comes about as a direct result of group dynamics and interactions:


It is of interest to note, that whilst Collins’ IRs operate across networks, they seem to be attuned to the individual. This can be seen in the use of the phrase the intellectual’s creative intuitions as opposed to the intellectuals’ creative intuitions. As such, the ‘intellectual’ may be seen to take the role of protagonist, who negotiates the network through interaction rituals, in the understanding that 132


Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

New ideas are created as combinations or reframings of old ones; the intellectual’s creative intuitions are feelings about what groups these ideas are appealing to and which intellectual antagonists are being opposed. The network structure of the intellectual world is transposed into the creative individual’s mind. Creative flashes are the emotional energy that comes from imaginary interaction rituals. (p.52)

Modes of Behaviour Knowing in action

[The] nature of social interaction that sustains innovation and learning varies markedly (precisely why the temptation to reduce it to practices of community must be avoided). Amin and Roberts (2008, 356)

As discussed in the earlier sections, creativity may be viewed as dynamic exercise undertaken in pursuit of new ideas, or innovation. It is developed through experience, or competence, which allows practitioners to mediate the varying situations in which they practice. These mediations can be called: public behaviours (ADAPT-r), interaction rituals (Collins) or social interactions (Amin and Roberts).


• •

Sustained mutual relationships—harmonious or conflictual Shared ways of engaging in doing things together

• The rapid flow of information and propagation of innovation

• Absence of introductory preambles, as if conversations and interactions were merely the continuation of an ongoing process •

Very quick setup of a problem to be discussed

• Substantial overlap in participants’ descriptions of who belongs

• Knowing what others know, what they can do, and how they can contribute to an enterprise •

Mutually defining identities

Specific tools, representations, and other artefacts

• The ability to assess the appropriateness of actions and products •

Local lore, shared stories, inside jokes, knowing laughter

Certain styles recognised as displaying membership

• Jargon and shortcuts to communication as well as the ease of producing new ones • A shared discourse reflecting a certain perspective on the world

However, where there are shared key characteristics, there is also difference, since: … situated knowledge comes in varying forms of organisation, which in turn, affect the nature of innovation and creativity. These differences relate to whether a community is managed in a decentred or hierarchical manner, and whether it is open or closed to the flow of knowledge from other communities and to change in 135

Public Behaviours Eli Hatleskog

These pursuits, whether behaviours, rituals or interactions depend upon the networks in which a practitioner practices: their communities of practice. Dynamic creative pursuits toward innovation are, however, not bound by communities of practice. Instead, communities of practice provide fields in and across which a practitioner may exert shared understandings and intentions in collaboration and also in conflict. In ‘Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice’ (2008) Ash Amin and Joanne Roberts discuss ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoP) with regard to ‘knowing in action’. They propose that where a CoP can be, ‘a driver of learning and knowledge generation across a variety of different working environments’(p.353), the knowledge produced is not homogeneous. In order to understand why the knowledge produced through CoPs is not homogeneous, it is of value to consider where the term CoP came from. In the 1990s, a number of studies were made into how learning happened in the dynamics of the workplace. These looked at the types of group learning that occurred at insurance companies, service industries, such as photocopy machine repairers and in corporate research (Lave and Wenger, 1991;Wenger, 1998; Orr, 1996; Brown and Duguid, 1991). More recently, these studies have informed how, ‘to explain learning and knowledge generation across a variety of work, organisational, and spatial settings.’ As such, the term CoP was not only conceived in different settings/ workplaces, but it is also being applied to others, where relationships in the workplace are seen as key to understanding the specific

varied knowledge in action at those workplaces. In turn, variation is critical to CoPs since they relate to situated practice and how people do things together. Furthermore, it is clear that no two situations or communities are the same. However, what may be common, is a will to do things together, to share a sense of place, develop purpose and identity and avert conflict. (Wenger, 1998, 2000) In response to the breath and potential of CoPs, Amin and Roberts suggest that there are some key characteristics that may be found in CoPs (p.354):

general. (Amin and Roberts, 2008, PP) This difference is described by Amin and Roberts in relation to different types of knowing in action, that can be found in the modes of ‘craft or task-based knowing; epistemic or high creativity knowing; professional knowing; and virtual knowing.’(p. 357) and summarized in the table below. Looking at the varieties of knowing in action, it could be suggested that the creative practice researchers that we interviewed from ADAPT-r incorporate, to different degrees, each of these varieties, with perhaps the exception of the virtual. They utilize the craft of their discipline, which results in an aesthetic, kinaesthetic and embodied knowledge. They employ a professional, learned and entrepreneurial stance, which develops specialized knowledge and they also seek to extend knowledge (be venturous) through their creative pursuits. This would suggest that the potential for knowing in action is diverse amongst the fellows, that there are varied social interactions, types of innovation and dynamics present within the group that go somewhere toward creating another mode, which relates to the knowing in action developed through the group learning of the ADAPT-r fellows. By considering knowing in action as having the potential to be ‘craft or task-based knowing; epistemic or high creativity knowing; professional knowing; and virtual knowing’ and understanding that the fellows operate across these different modes, it becomes clear that the way in which they mediate this diversity through their public behaviours is critical to beginning to understand how they know in action. In turn, there are also spatial and temporal dimensions to each of these behaviours - the where and when which may be seen to relate to the discussion in the previous section regarding Randall Collins’ theory of interaction rituals. Where Collins placed significance upon face-to-face interactions, Amin and Roberts cover territory that goes beyond the physical assembly of people in space and discuss the virtual. Given that ‘The Sociology of Philosophies’ refers primarily to historical sources and was written before the advent of new media, it comes as little surprise that new forms of virtual media and communication were not discussed in the text. Indeed, Collins himself asserts that the question of new forms of communication is the most frequent question he receives today with regard to his theory of Interaction Rituals (IRs). In response to these questions Collins proposed that there are at least three possibilities: • First, new kinds of IRs may be created, with new 136

Varieties of knowing in action Activity

Type of knowledge





Social Interaction Proximity/nature of communication

Temporal aspects

Aesthetic, Knowledge transfer Long-lived and kinaesthetic and requires co-location - apprenticeship-based embodied knowledge face-to-face commuDeveloping nication, importance socio-cultural of demonstration structures Specialised expert Co-location required knowledge acquired in the development through prolonged of professional status periods of education for communication and training through demonstraDeclarative tion. knowledge Not as imporant Mind-matter and thereafter technologically embodied (aesthetic and kinaesthatic dimensions)

Long-lived and slow to change. Developing formal regulatory institutions

Specialised and expert knowledge, including standards and codes (including meta-codes) Exist to extend knowledge base Temporary creative coalitions, knowledge changing rapidly

Spatial and/or relational proximity. communication facilitated through a combination of face-to-face and distanciated contact

Short-lived drawing on institutional resources from a variety of epistemic/ creative fields

Codified and tacit Social interaction from codified mediated through Exploratory and technology - face-toexploitative screen Distanciated communication Rich web-based anthropology

Long- and shortlived Developing through fast and asynchronous interaction

A.Amin, J. Roberts / Research Policy 37 (2008) 353-369

forms of solidarity, symbolism, and morality. In this case, we would need an entirely new theory.

• Second, IRs fail; solidarity and the other outcomes of IRs disappear in a wholly mediated world.

• Third, IRs continue to be carried out over distance media, but their effects are weaker; collective effervescence never rises to very high levels; and solidarity, commitment to symbolism, and other consequences continue to exist but at a weakened level.65

Amin and Roberts, however, take a less determined and more speculative approach:

Until recently it has been assumed that virtual space cannot be considered as a site of situated practice, generative of knowledge on its own terms. Although, virtual interaction has been seen to enable information exchange, learning, and possibly situated knowing at the interface between face and screen, it has not been considered as an ecology of social knowing in its own right. As it becomes easier to communicate with distant others in real time and in increasingly rich ways due to the availability of sophisticated software and visual technologies, interest is growing in how the new environments support knowledge generation

(p. 363)

It may be suggested that the role of knowing in action through interaction rituals in the virtual domain is, as yet, not fully understood. However, it would seem that there is potential in this form of knowing and it is worth further investigation.

65, accessed Sept, 2015


ADAPT-r Partner Behaviour

Eli Hatleskog, Richard Blythe, Johan Verbeke, Tadeja Zupancic, Veronika Valk, Sally Stewart and Claus Peder Pedersen


KU Leuven (Sint-Lucas) and RMIT/RMIT ES have considerable experience and appropriate campus resources in Europe for hosting the PRS and associated key activities of ADAPT-r located centrally in Europe. KU Leuven (Sint-Lucas) span the disciplines of Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture, Architecture and Fine Arts. The KU Leuven Associatie Sint-Lucas School of Arts has a long-standing collaboration with the School of Architecture and engages actively in the project. Aarhus School of Architecture has a track record in project-based doctorates and strong links with venturous practice. These strengths in a closely aligned doctoral model will contribute to the development of a high-quality practice-based doctorate. The University of Westminster has a long tradition in creative practice research. At the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008, 20% of research in Architecture and the Built Environment was evaluated as ‘world-leading’ and a further 40% as ‘internationally excellent’, placing the School high in research rankings among other Schools of Architecture in the UK. The evaluation panel mentioned in particular research by design. The Westminster School of Media Art and Design has a long tradition in art research and engages actively in the project. The University of Ljubljana has a strong track record as a research institution and offers a flexible and open doctoral programme in architecture at the Faculty of Architecture, where research by design represents a key orientation that is strongly integrated in its interdisciplinary context. The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana brings its specific 142

competence in Design. The Estonian Academy of Arts also has experience in dealing with creative practice in a research environment. The range of research varies from policy practices in historic protection to artistic practices in new media. Thus, the agile Doctoral School in Tallinn spans the multiple disciplines of ADAPT-r, offering a valuable and unique perspective placed as it is, both historically and geographically, on the edge of Europe. RMIT ES has a campus in Barcelona, Spain, with facilities and staff suitable for supporting and hosting PRS events and hosting EU based fellows as part of the ADAPT-r. RMIT ES are able to draw, where necessary, on the considerable resources of its parent institution RMIT. The Glasgow School of Art is internationally recognised as one of Europe’s foremost university-level institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture, fostering the conditions for creativity in order to promote critical thinking, experimentation, discovery and innovation. Its distinctive pedagogy and research promote studio culture as the basis for creative communities, the meeting ground for diversity of opinion, independence of thought and learning from each other.(Annex 1 pp18-19) Where the partner institutions are each self-standing entities, ADAPT-r works across and with these individual institutions, in turn, ADAPT-r follows years of interactions between the partners. The following timeline aims to give an indication of some of the public behaviours of the partners.


ADAPT-r Partner Behaviour Eli Hatleskog, Richard Blythe, Johan Verbeke, Tadeja Zupancic,Veronika Valk, Sally Stewart and Claus Peder Pedersen

Interactions leading from partners to ADAPT-R The network partners have been selected to provide geographic and institutional diversity to ensure the greatest possible ‘reach’ of the programme – including more recent and regional EU members. Importantly, all network partners have been involved in different ways and to a different degree in the three-year trial period pioneered by KU Leuven (Sint-Lucas) and RMIT and have now reached the crucial stage of being able to fully endorse the proposed European model of this research training scheme in the current format. It is part of a distinctive European signature that this ground-breaking network includes a traditional European university, and institutions with art academy and technical school histories. These diverse institutional types have a shared interest in creative practice research and provide potential models for other institutions in the future development of this research area with an intended impact and relevance well beyond European borders.

This time-line will show some of the collaborations that have led to the network, with a view to understanding some of the public behaviours that have generated ADAPT-r. 1986-2004 Leon van Schaik initiates a PhD by practice strategy at RMIT. He invites Gerard De Zeeuw and Ranulph Glanville among others to develop a master programme into a PhD training. Other current ADAPT-r partners developed their own research traditions in parallel. Sint-Lucas developed the personal platform for the research training. The doctoral training in architecture in Ljubljana, for instance, developed from more theory focused doctorates in the sixties towards a more balanced, in the majority of cases hybrid integration of theory and practice. 2001 Ranulph Glanville informs Johan Verbeke about the vision and developments at RMIT. Johan understands the potential for Sint-Lucas and architectural research and plans to visit Melbourne. 2005 The Unthinkable Doctorate: PhDesign in Architecture? - Conference at Sint-Lucas, Brussels. Johan Verbeke visits RMIT, Melbourne for the first time and will continue to do so during the following years.

2007 Richard Blythe develops a new strategic plan for the A&D school at RMIT and one key element of that plan is to develop international opportunities for the PhD model. The proceedings of The Unthinkable Doctorate: PhDesign in Architecture? is published and shared with future ADAPT-r partner, Tadeja Zupančič from the University of Ljubljana. Leon van Schaik is invited to the Mackintosh School of Art, Glasgow School of Art, and gives a lecture about Practice Based Research, before holding a seminar with senior staff on the development of practice based doctoral models 2008 Reflections 7 is published by Sint-Lucas, the book is co-edited by future RMIT PhD graduates Jo Van Den Berghe and Arnaud Hendrickx. 2006-9 A project is envisioned which might replicate the RMIT program in a second international centre. The RMIT’s invitational program is trialled at Sint-Lucas, Brussels 2009 A bilateral agreement is made between RMIT and Sint-Lucas: [To] recognize the mutual interest of cooperation activities between both institutes, especially in relation to developing research by design and embedded design practice. Communicating (by) Design, Conference staged at Sint-Lucas, Brussels.

2006 Richard Blythe and Leon van Schaik are invited to ‘RIBA Research Symposium 2006: Making the difference: Design Practice as Research’. Convenor: Kate Heron of Westminster.

Tadeja Zupancic presents at the conference and ‘research by design’ is accredited as a visible option of PhD research approach in architecture, which can be combined with others, at the University of Ljubljana, following a two-year accreditation process.

Research Training Sessions (RTS) at Sint-Lucas begin to develop ‘research by/through design’ and result in the publication of Reflections 3. Johan Verbeke invites Leon and Kate to run a session as a part of the RTS.

Leon van Schaik presents an exhibition of ideograms relating to the PhD by Invitation at the University of Westminster and in Ljubljana..


Richard Blythe presents the RMIT model for the PhD by design at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn. 145

ADAPT-r Partner Behaviour Eli Hatleskog, Richard Blythe, Johan Verbeke, Tadeja Zupancic,Veronika Valk, Sally Stewart and Claus Peder Pedersen

Institutional View of Partners to ADAPT-R

2010 The first RMIT EU Research Symposium Weekend with GRC in Ghent. The Aarhus School of Architecture send a delegation to both the GRS Melbourne and the EU Research Symposium in Ghent, with a view to adopting the RMIT programme at the school.

conceived in the department of architecture, as a way of developing and explicating knowledge relating to architectural design practice, the ADAPT-r remit was broader and sought to include arts other than architecture. This is in line with developments in artistic research in Europe. University of Ljubljana and the Glasgow School of Art begin regular participation in the Graduate Research Conference in Ghent. 2013 Start of ADAPT-r grant, however, technical difficulties delay the engagement of ESRs until mid 2014. Knowing (by) Designing - Conference at Sint-Lucas, Brussels.

Veronika Valk, future ADAPT-r partner representing the Estonian Academy of Arts, enrolls as a candidate for the PhD by practice at the RMIT.

Community of Practice – conference organised by the Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Architecture.

2011-2012 Johan Verbeke introduces and hosts 4 meetings between the future consortium members of ADAPT-r to define the direction and collaboration. Johan and Richard together work on the application text.

2014 ADAPT-r ITN:

Johan Verbeke visits the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn and gives a lecture on Developments in Research by Design(ing). Richard Blythe takes up a Velux Fellowship at the Aarhus School of Architecture. The development and refinement of the idea that became ADAPT-r took place largely in Denmark. During this time Richard Blythe wrote the draft agenda and application for ADAPT-r in close collaboration with Marcelo Stamm (RMIT), with input from Claus Peder Pederson (Aarhus School of Architecture) and Johan Verbeke. Johan Visits Richard and Claus in Aarhus. The application for EU funding sought one of the largest amounts ever given to creative practice research, at just over four million Euros, with KU Leuven (Sint-Lucas) as project coordinator. In January 2012 Johan finalized the application draft. In the process of writing the grant application, a number of changes were made with regard to the invitational programme at the RMIT, one of these related to the scope and experiences of potential candidates. Where the RMIT PhD by practice had been 146

First call for ADAPT-r fellows.

Implementation of the ADAPT-r ITN will result in 32 Fellowships, 8 training conferences, a major research conference, a major exhibition, three key books, and a web site providing public access to research and events. Mediators - ADAPT-r Creative Practice Research Conference at Sint-Lucas, Brussels. ADAPT-r Outreach event held in the Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art, with presentations on the ITN, Fellowships and practice based research. Johan Verbeke, Claus Peder Pedersen and Sally Stewart present the ADAPT-r network at the ELIA ( European League of Institutes of Art) Bienniale held in Glasgow. Two further calls for ADAPT-r fellows. 2015 ADAPT-r Days at Westminster, Ljubljana and Sint-Lucas, Brussels. ER Fellow Landscape Summit held at Glasgow School of Art.


ADAPT-r Partner Behaviour Eli Hatleskog, Richard Blythe, Johan Verbeke, Tadeja Zupancic,Veronika Valk, Sally Stewart and Claus Peder Pedersen

2009 - onwards RMIT’s invitational PhD program hosted by Sint-Lucas - Ghent. Through an alliance with the Sint-Lucas School in Belgium RMIT is able to begin to offer PhDs in Europe and it was this initiative that lead to the formation of the current PRS program based in Ghent and Barcelona.

Making Research - Researching Making - ADAPT-r Creative Practice Research Conference at Aarhus School of Architecture. Final call for ADAPT-r Fellows. 2016 The remaining ESRs and ERs take up their fellowships. There have been several doctorates awarded through ADAPT-r. Further ADAPT-r days have been organized in Westminster, Ljubljana and Glasgow. A Landscape Day has been organized in Paris. As for the future, each of the enrolled ESRs has the potential to complete a PhD at their host institution. In turn, some of the partners may wish to evolve or refine the ADAPT-r model within their own institutions. To mark the end of ADAPT-r, in 2016, there is a major exhibition staged at the University of Westminster. This exhibition aims to showcase both the ADAPT-r method and the outcomes of the research in the network.


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour

Eli Hatleskog


This text relates to the following nine interviews: • Kate Heron and Leon van Schaik (Supervisors, Westminster and RMIT)

• Richard Blythe and Veronika Valk (Supervisors, RMIT and Estonian Academy of Arts Faculty of Architecture) • Karin Helms and Tom Holbrook (ADAPT-r Fellow & Supervisor, RMIT) •

Colm Moore and Alice Casey (ADAPT-r Fellows, RMIT)

• Jo Van Den Berghe and Arnaud Hendrickx (Graduates of the PhD by Practice, RMIT) •

Cian Deegan and Steve Larkin (ADAPT-r Fellows, RMIT)

• Siv Helene Stangeland and Sam Kebbell (ADAPT-r Fellows, Aarhus and Westminster/RMIT) • Petra Marguc and Eric Guibert (ADAPT-r Fellows, KU LEUVEN)

• Martí Franch Batllori and Sebastien Penfornis (ADAPT-r Fellows, The Glasgow School of Art/RMIT)

The analysis of the individual accounts raised the following themes: •

Where do you seek recognition?

Regional variations and references

• •

Language use - How we talk Individual vs. collective

• What is unspoken? Hidden behaviours and a need to survive

• Critical judgement - recognition and interpretation by the supervisor & PRS pranel • • 152

PRS – Learning how to behave ‘openly’ Conflict between being a practitioner

• •

What do we do?

Teaching as a behaviour

• What we do and what we say we do - unconscious behaviour • •

Changing behaviours as a result of the PhD

Control, release & social constructions of practice

• Ethics, responsibilities and relationships: clients, builders, other professions & society

These themes will be discussed with a view to revealing which public behaviours can, at times, be present in creative practice research and specifically ADAPT-r doctoral research training. Much like ‘Transformative Triggers’, there is no strict definition of public behaviours. Our aim has been to discover interpretations and instances and not a single answer. Indeed, any discussion of definitions, solutions or answers would be detrimental to this research, since it would not take into account the contingency, specificity, agency and the lack of resolution, or even at times logic, implicit in behaviours. As such, the behaviours described in this chapter are by no means definitive, nor do they seek to be. Where do you seek recognition? Public behaviours can be thought of as ways of demonstrating how the practitioner/researchers engage with the world through their studies and works. These behaviours may be viewed as being: largely social, negotiations, engagements and help to position the research and practice with regard to broader contexts and forums. In his interview, Leon van Schaik asserted that an awareness of this type of behaviour is not necessarily something that is taught at architecture school. Furthermore he suggested that the predominant professional behaviours, in the UK at least, supported by the RIBA [Royal Institute of British Architects] and the awards system, do not promote an active response to practice. With this in mind, he seems to suggest that practitioner/researchers can take a more entrepreneurial approach, rather than simply waiting to ‘slot in’. In turn, the strategies and actions of this type of approach may provide valuable insight into how practitioner/researchers can further assert and develop their own public behaviours.

[P]eople don’t think about their public behaviours at all, until they are exposed to the idea that there are such things. We 153

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

The analysis in this chapter has been derived from the edited transcriptions and eighteen individual accounts of public behaviours. The eighteen individual accounts that are discussed here come from fifteen architects and three landscape architects. As such, the discussion can be seen to relate largely to the architectural profession and not other forms of creative practice research, this can be seen demonstrated in the discussions relating to professional bodies and entrepreneurship.

and being a researcher

don’t introduce students to this idea when they are going through the pre-professional and professional degrees at all. We treat the world as if its a given thing. So, you will graduate, and theres the RIBA, theres the awards system, which induces a kind of passivity. People just waiting to ‘slot in’ somehow.

Leon Van Schaik

Schaik’s interest in how practitioner’s work is shaped by the opportunities they access and the recognition they seek and ‘engineer’ was developed from Howard Gardner’s studies in the behaviours of creative individuals, emphasising that recognition from a peer network within the discipline is part of the process of developing creative work. Schaik has formalized this interest through his PhD by Practice research approach, to support practitioner’s to develop some awareness of how their opportunities to create work and have this work recognised within their discipline are socially constructed through interaction with clients, the institutions of professional bodies, academia and the media. In conversation, Schaik highlights the limited awareness and uncritical approach most practitioners have to the above processes and networks, which he ascribes to this topic not being covered in professional education. Schaik’s understanding of the PhD by Practice places emphasis on precise critical reflection, undertaken with prompting from the supervisor, on where and how and from whom recognition is sought and how well this relates to the goals of the practice and practitioner in their work.

Leon Van Schaik

Schaik argues that the role of a good supervisor would be to help the practitioner/researchers discover where they actually seek recognition. This may be done by asking the candidates, ‘whose praise or insights matter to you?’ This would suggests that public behaviours do not simply relate to how practitioner/researchers wish to project themselves, but also upon what values they hold. As 154

[RIAI lectures] Which I’m involved with. […] And there are exhibitions, we’ve done exhibitions together. […We publish books in Queens [Queen’s University Belfast], which are research-based.

Colm Moore

They create an exhibition, [or] some practices use the monograph as not just a coffee table [book] or advertising…

Leon Van Schaik

Putting yourself out in a festival is definitely part of your public behaviours - substrata of practice, that you are building through all sorts of engagements and activities, that you created a multi-modal practice which allows you to spring from that into moments of particular creative practice that are quite diverse in their outputs.

Richard Blythe

Whilst some of the practitioner/researchers interviewed employed traditional techniques for developing their public persona, through marketing themselves, there were also other types of behaviours that were revealed through the interviews, that the practitioner/researchers did not explicitly name as such. For example, Alice Casey’s discussion of public behaviours in the work of her practice highlight firstly how networked she is in both the Dublin and wider Irish architectural scene. Her examples of how opportunities for recognition arise include a phone call from the ex-head of the Irish architecture professional body.


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Where I think this process - and a good supervisor will do this - is to push and push: “Where do you really seek recognition? Whose praise or insights matter to you?” Just becoming really precise about that, and then working out how to engineer that recognition. So some practices have worked out how to constantly renew themselves through the process of exhibiting their work.

such, discussions relating to public behaviours may also take into account the ethics, responsibilities and attitudes of practitioner/ researchers, since these are all things that practitioner/researchers project through their actions. Throughout the interviews it was apparent that there were various media/forum that the practitioner/ researchers were aware that they used, with a view to positioning themselves. They considered these media/forum to represent their public behaviours. Examples of these were: giving lectures, teaching, making exhibitions, writing monograph, advertising themselves, giving interviews, joining committees and organising festivals. Some of these methods fall under what one may call practice marketing. (RIBA, 2010)

I got a phone call saying, did we want to be in this RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) summer show. The guy who was asking was the ex-head of the RIAI, didn’t know many young architects and said, “Is there any more of you?” So then we rang around. There were five practices who decided to work together: we’d take a theme, and each practice made a model. They were very different models but we presented them similarly, and showed them together.

Alice Casey

These examples of exhibition and lecturing opportunities demonstrate a collective approach to engineering recognition between young firms in the country, as the approach for an exhibition is to say “we’d be better together” and produce an exhibit “setting our stall out to Dublin, or Ireland. Saying that these practices are linked somehow”. They also find out about opportunities or receive invitations due to their close relationship with other young firms:

“we were asked to do a lecture here, an RIAI lecture, which is a bit of a big deal. Colm invited us – it’s all very insular!” Alice Casey

Some of the other who we interviewed also discussed ways in which they sought recognition.

When I started my practice I was more interested in getting my projects published in the broader press than the professional one - and most of it was interior design then - I found it more relevant, particularly the weekend magazines because they are read by a large number of people. It is a way of transmitting knowledge, if nothing else through the photos.

Eric Guibert

Exhibitions and interviews:

There was a moment when I first started the practice we had a small exhibition as well, it was a group exhibition. There were three well-known architects and us. And we got interviewed, and I was pretty young. I certainly didn’t 156

Sam Kebbell

And teaching, review and TV appearances:

In my projects I really try to engage people, from the head of the municipality, to the technical guy, I really pursue that they are all part of the project team, and therefore promoters and co-creators. I publish I am on the advice board of a review. I’ve been teaching since 2001. I take part in associations. We won an important prize and I wanted to use this to get recognition myself but also I wanted to in our Catalan TV we never talk about landscape so I called the TV producers and I said that I wanted to be interviewed, so we did a programme they came to our project and we talked both about the project and the discipline, so I seek it. Martí Franch Batllori

Language use - how we talk

I quite often find my verbal expression limited, I search for the right word and don’t find it, or I mix up different languages as if I couldn’t say in one language what needs to be said, a real pain. We can talk amongst experts and understand each other, but as architects we are not very good at mediating to a broader audience […] Part of my practice is about how to design situations where we do something together with different publics. I like to mix different people and then from this shared experience of having done something together onwards we can then exchange verbally and develop a shared language. Petra Marguc

In ‘Talking architecture: Exploring knowledge production through conversation in architectural creative practice research’ (Hatleskog, Holder, Hoete, 2015) we argue that, since it is an entrepreneurial profession, a lot of what architects do is talk, but that we do not usually think of talking as a design skill or research method. However, talking about architecture is not just words. Not only can it 157

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Through popular media:

manage the media that well, but I got framed as this kind of enfant terrible, which is the story they wanted to tell. It probably didn’t matter what I was going to say, but I played into it probably more than I needed to.

can inform the production of built form, it can allow for nuanced and diverse views of practice to be shared and developed. As such, talking about architecture (and not simply drawing it or writing about it) can help us to develop greater understandings of both the role of the architect in practice and the diverse opportunities that an architectural response to creative practice research may provide. Regional variations and references One source of difference is, of course, language and all that comes with it, but there is much more. In Europe, British people will form a neat queue whenever they have to wait; not so, the French. Dutch people will as a rule greet strangers when they enter a small, closed space like a railway compartment, doctor’s waiting room, or lift; not so, the Belgians. Austrians will wait at a red pedestrian traffic light even when there is no traffic; not so the Dutch. Swiss tend to become very angry when somebody-say, a foreigner- makes a mistake in traffic; not so the Swedes. All these are part of an invisible set of mental programs which belongs to these countries’ national cultures.66

I certainly found a lot of the conversations I had with Colm [Moore, ADAPTr fellow] in January were fascinating for me to start to tease that out. I had to explain more things, and as I did that I was realising (and now I’m reflecting on that as I speak) that the cultural distance between Colm’s background

Sam Kebbell

... there is a lot of big nature [in Norway] and we are mostly operating within a very scattered urbanity, just that makes it different. And then there are of course other cultural aspects, but I find that much more difficult to say something precise about because I think we are getting more and more internationally influenced. Siv Helene Stangeland

That’s why I’m fascinated with what I call, well many people call, the Irish gang since they are in {the same} building and that allows informal exchanges to happen constantly, which in London because of the scale and the number of people somehow there is a lot less of, and there is a question of time ; everybody seems to always be in a rush going somewhere. Eric GUIBERT

Working in a more international community gives perspective on Irish architecture. It is difficult to pinpoint specifics of the characteristics of Irish architecture, but you can begin to discern characteristics, probably arising from education or community etc., through differences. For example, references that are common in in Irish architectural community are less common elsewhere. Steve Larkin

It’s quite existential I guess… I really want to change things… Are there other ways that I could change things besides (building projects)? I was born during the end of the dictatorship in Barcelona so I saw the process of transformation of a society and then I had the chance to work in Berlin. These moments where city says - We can change! We can do things differently. So I’ve seen it happening. Martí Franch Batllori

66 Hofstede , 1983, p76



Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

We have been struck, throughout our involvement in ADAPT-r, by the different understandings of what practice is across the group. Where we thought we knew what architectural practice was, it seems that it can mean different things in different contexts. Examples of this can be seen with regard to the role of competitions in Estonian practice, the common references/sameness represented in Dublin and the contrast between the precarious nature of practice in Spain and the economic stability of Norway. This suggests that each practitioner is dealt a specific hand, which relates to many factors, such as connections, wealth and the local situation, which they then have to play in ways that they see fit. There is specificity to the places in which they practice and produce knowledge. In turn, through their interactions, some of the fellows gained a heighten sense of their own local stances on practice in relation to others in the group.

and mine could be understood as a New Zealandness of a certain kind … As soon as it travels it becomes interesting.

Yesterday, in a conversation in P3 we heard of a critic who kept saying all morning ‘No the streets are the wrong shape, the proportions are wrong,’ he kept repeating this stuff, ‘no, no, no, no’. And then, at lunchtime, he said to the first student after lunch, ‘are you European?’ and the student said ‘no, I’m Russian’ and then the penny dropped that this was a completely different world view, and his proposals were not weird they were actually fine, and he had a whole lot of perspective shifting to do as a critic.

Sandemose to negatively describe a condescending attitude towards individuality and success. The term refers to a mentality that de-emphasises individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers. Siv Helene Stangeland

Sam Kebbell

Individual vs. collective By beginning to consider their ‘localness’, some of the fellows began to question the role of the individual, or rather their individual role in the research. Eric Guibert noted that prior to the PhD he had felt isolated, as such, the research allowed him to join a group with common concerns to his own:

There is this phenomenon where you feel like you’re doing something completely on your own, and the paradox was I was in London, so I couldn’t argue that I was in the province, it was maybe a provincial state of mind but not a physical one. Eric Guibert

… the West coast of Norway where I’m from and where we have our main office- has especially strong traditions within puritanism….and thinking about it now, on top of this there is the “Law of Jante” a term coined by the author Axel 160


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

The role of the individual is not however, uniform across cultures. For example, in the Nordic countries it is fair to say that there is a push toward social conformity, which can result in a certain degree of fear of the individual (Avant, Knutsen,1993). This fear is typically propagated through an understanding, which is at times both ironic and self-deprecating, of ‘Janteloven’ or Law of Jante. (Sandemose,1933) In Norwegian cultural debates and daily newspapers, Janteloven is often referred to, as a term that expresses and communicates both a fear of individualism in Norwegian culture and a local awareness of this very fear. In turn, it is something that Siv Helene Stangeland discusses in her interview as impacting upon her public behaviours:

What is unspoken?

practice, but also within the spaces of practice.

Hidden behaviours and a need to survive whilst how a practitioner/researcher chooses to market their practice is, no doubt, a form of public behaviour, there are also other aspects to the notion of public behaviours. At times, the need to position oneself also comes through a need to earn a living and not simply a will for recognition.

Many of the practitioners feel that the society, the economic climate and the market situation are shifting very-very fast. We don’t know if without reconsidering their practice from within the venturous practitioners would even survive. Veronika Valk

As such, it can be argued that public behaviours relate to more than just simply self-promotion. An architect’s role, at times, can be to convince people to spend money on a project, to find sources of funding, or even self-initiating work, negotiating this fiscal element can require subtle behaviours. This is something that was not directly addressed by the practitioner/researchers in the interviews however, in his interview, Schaik described a Belgian practice who:

Leon Van Schaik

This ‘kind of knowledge’ relates to the entrepreneurial aspects of the profession, and seems particularly relevant today, given the competitive situation that a lot of architects work in. In turn, there might also be competition not only with regard to 162

Petra Marguc

It may also be noted that none of those interviewed described their public behaviours with regard to new forms of media. However, the practices of 5th Studio (Tom Holbrook), Taka (Alice Casey) and Clancy Moore (Colm Moore) are all active on Twitter. Beyond those interviewed, there are other PhD candidates with the RMIT/Adapt-r programme who use new media in more diverse ways. Further research into public behaviours through new forms of media could assist in developing a more contemporary understanding of public behaviours, one which goes beyond peer-recognition (awards, books and so on) and looks at how new forms of mass-communication can influence action in practice. These types of studies could, in turn, help to define more effective research techniques when it comes to understanding public behaviours through the ADAPT-r creative practice doctorate. Critical judgement Recognition and interpretation by the supervisor & prs panel The idea of recognition was understood by all of those interviewed to be integral to the relationships between practitioner/researcher, supervisors and the PRS community. As such, in response to the question, ‘where do you seek recognition?’ everyone interviewed seemed to agree that the early stage researchers seek recognition from the ADAPT-r network. This suggests that the critical judgement provided by the network can form part of their public behaviours. This idea of interpretation, or critical judgement, comes into the relationship between the ESR and his/her supervisor. In her interview, Katherine Heron shed light on the complex relationship between supervisor and ESR, noting the need for “mutual admiration” between these established architects and those they are 163

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Following the economic crisis in 2008, were sitting there going, what are we going to do? So, they started combing the newspapers and they would apply for anything. There was a thing at Antwerp for installing lighting in the sewers, so that tours could go down there. They applied for that and in bidding for it they said, well, what we are going to do is put miners helmets on everybody so they have got a light and then we can take the money for the lighting and we can make a room where you go and you get into waders and then you go wading through the sewers […] and then you come back and you decontaminate. It turned from a lighting project into an architectural project. There is a type of that kind of knowledge that comes out of this.’

Each of us used [the space] in a different way for our own practice, it was a very vibrant, invigorating period. But then over the years the renting partners changed and today there is a configuration of professionals in that space where there is less time, less sharing, a change in open attitude, which affects trust relations and yes, results on more competition amongst us instead to have competition on another level, in the public realm. Maybe because of the market situation since the crisis the working conditions changed for everybody as well.

turning to to support their development of their work in the PhD by Practice. The critical judgement of the supervisor becomes a new forum in which the practitioner is seeking recognition. (Practitioner’s awareness of this may be the beginning of a critical awareness of where and why they seek recognition and from whom.)

[The supervisory role] a sort of role of critic, and it’s very often a peer critic. In other words, they are all really established architects. It’s not a teacher-student relationship at all. It may be that also that is something absolutely crucial. There has to be a sort of mutual admiration in it I think. They have to totally respect your critical [judgement] - and want it, I mean they’re urgently seeking it. Kate Heron

Some of the practitioners actively seek this kind of review/ judgement:

At the beginning of my career I would do anything to make enough money in order to stay in London and I did many projects that I would never show to anyone, but after a while there was a high degree of frustration and then I saw Leon present the ‘Mastering Architecture’ book and that led me to start thinking that I needed to go back to the communities where I can discuss this. Eric Guibert

I agree with that I think privilege is the right word. To have these incredible panels, offering you amazingly insightful feedback, is second to none. Steve Larkin

Where interactions between ESRs, supervisors and the PRS panel members represent public behaviours, so too does the broader event of the PRS itself. Through the interviews, the PRS was highlighted as a forum for a particular kind of public behaviour, not just in presenting but in being part of the audience and the “group dynamic” of “listening and sharing each others work”. Heron notes the difference of the RMIT research approach (to other fora of architectural discourse) which is the collective desire to “make more good work more widely available” raising both standards of built work and it’s spread to different clients and users. The model of the PRS expects that practitioner/researchers talk about their practice/research in a particular way. The presentations should, not least, be: provoking, imperfect, sharing, sincere, comfortable and generous.

What I say to [my supervisory candidates] always is “How can you present this in such a way that provokes a conversation which is going to be stimulating to the process? Its not perfecting it. Its much better to put a ‘ broken’ presentation in and go “this what I’m trying to do, I think this is what its about, I’m not really sure”. Leon Van Schaik

I think the crucial thing is that the supervisor in preparing the candidate is a oneto-one normally. But the whole thing of the PRS is this big group dynamic. Which is the panel and the presenter but also the audience. I think is such an important part of this process that people are listening and sharing each others work all the time. Kate Heron

But arriving at such reflections is all possible through the PRSs only where the atmosphere is loosened up, when you feel really free to talk, to be sincere, with yourself. Then it’s crucial to make the best effort to explain your practice, but it all comes together only when you feel comfortable enough, and this kind 164


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

And, broadly speaking the all appreciate gaining access to a forum where they can receive feedback on their practice/research.

PRS - learning how to behave ‘openly’

of comfort comes with this kind of informality that is peculiar to the PRSs. Veronika Valk

Colm Moore recognises the importance of involvement in the Practice Research Symposia of the PhD by Practice, as it offers a forum for discussion which is radically different from others he has had access to within the profession. The latter he notes as being a “closed ommunity” with “limiting discussion” whereas the value of the PRS is in the “generosity” of participants and the “generative” discussion.

I remember saying when I first came to Melbourne. I was absolutely gobsmacked at the mutual generosity. Whereas outside they might be in competition. But really the big desire is to make more good work more widely available to more people. And that’s the big community of practice actually. Kate Heron

For Arnaud Hendrickx, the PRS was a critical forum with regard to public behaviours. Like Veronika Valk, he valued the opportunity to discuss his practice in a space where he could let down his defences. However, he was fully aware that architects are in competition with each other, so understood the unease that practitioners have when starting the PhD and pressures they might feel when learning the preferred way that they are expected to talk about their work.

Arnaud Hendrickx

As such, it would seem that the PRS provides a forum which is deeply appreciated by those who attend and take part. It encourages behavior that both the ESRs and supervisors claim is different to behaviour in practice. 166

… the first PRS presentation I did here I barely slept the night before, I came out elated but exhausted. Actually, this time is the first time when I feel that I have the beginning of a certain degree of comfort. Eric Guibert

Or frustration:

I saw people I thought why are they not talking about their projects— What are they talking about? modes of practice? And now I understand bit more I guess… but I said - why are they not telling me what they are doing? - Why don’t they get to the point? And I didn’t get it, you know. I said I want to see your stuff cause I’m really interested in changing reality, so - show me the output! Martí Franch Batllori

Or discomfort:

Well my first reaction, the first reaction I got in PRS 1 was also quite confronting. The response was that the work is showing so much more than you manage to say with words! So I got confronted with a way of talking which didn’t really hit what’s in the projects and that was a very good critique. Because I saw also myself this pattern or habit I have been accumulating in how to speak about our work. Now I was encouraged to break that habitual pattern. Siv Helene Stangeland

Or pleasure:

It’s an amazing privilege (in the PRS events) to have people of that calibre looking at your work and considering it and re-presenting it to you. Framing it for you in such an intelligent way, I mean you get it when you are in college when you are doing design projects, then it just stops. Suddenly, you are in this forum again, where people are, in a really supportive way, critiquing your work and opening it


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

I think I felt this as a sort of condition to be able to do what we do. There was this first presentation where you feel that you are valued for your architecture, or as an architect, and so you shouldn’t be talking about this any more, only about what this architecture can do. Suddenly you are drawn into being honest, precise and rigorous about your work. We must somehow confess things, or share things that are not so commonly shared with competitors. Because architects are also competitors.

Reflecting back on Collins’ descriptions of Interaction Rituals, it is clear that emotional energy is produced through the PRS forum, whether this be anxiety:

up. It’s amazing. It’s probably the single most important thing about the PhD for me. Cian Deegan

Conflict between being a practitioner and being a researcher What do we do? As part of the interviews, the fellows and those who had already completed the PhD by practice, were asked why they decided to embark on the PhD and what they intended to do with it. This question was asked with the intention of getting a broader understanding of the motivations to do the research and how it might relate to their future behaviour in practice or in academia. The practitioner/researchers did not seem particularly attached to the idea of being a researcher, or, indeed, of having a PhD:

I guess ask most practitioners why they’re doing it and they will tell you that they don’t really need one [a PhD]. There’s not a requirement like there is in academia to have higherlevel qualification. I think at a certain point, like ... You know, I get bored really quickly, and it’s always been good for me to mix practice up with teaching and other things. [So, the PhD was a way of mixing things up a little.]

Tom Holbrook

Veronika Valk

I am definitely not an academic by any stretch of the imagination. And I found the jargon a bit incomprehensible. But then I decided to just do something really simple, really basic. [laughs] Furthermore, amongst some of the fellows, there seemed to be some confusion as to what the role of research was: Alice Casey



Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

... For me there was never a need really [to have a PhD] but it was absolutely just falling in love with that atmosphere.

I don’t know that the phd necessarily is the research, the tender set or the spec you write, in a lot of cases, is the research. Colm Moore

I think that, you can see we started the PhD for purely selfish reasons. It was about making us better, and we didn’t really care about what anybody else thinks, or adding to any body of knowledge or anything like that. Alice Casey

And, at times, concern with regard to the dissemination potentials of the work:

This is something I’m very worried about if I finish the PhD I want a book I want evidence that this is useful to someone else. Martí Franch Batllori

In his interview, Jo Van Den Berghe demonstrated an extremely personal understanding of research. All his public behaviours related to himself somehow, he was at the core of a diagram he drew during the interview relating to public behaviours. This ‘self-centric’ diagram comprised of concentric circles. The rings were titled: self; supervisors; peers/academics; colleagues and society. As such, it may be suggested that Van Den Berghe sees himself as the critical/defining force behind his research. In turn, he suggested that he deliberately kept elements of his practice hidden:

… There is the self-communicating with the self, the self as other. So if you don’t trust anybody else that’s something to start with! Jo Van Den Berghe

The ESRs generally have active practices, with day-to-day activities that they have to perform, this can put pressure on the time that they feel they have available to do the PhD.


Richard Blythe

As such it would seem that there are conflicts at work. There is a perceived conflict between what research is and what practice is. There is also a conflict between being a researcher and being a practitioner, which leads into a broader conflict between transferable knowledge and individual learning. However, one of the aims of the creative practice doctorate programme is to develop techniques and methods for the explication and dissemination of knowledge in practice, as such there need not be a divide between practice and research. It could perhaps be advantageous to ADAPT-r to aim to further empower the ESRs to think of themselves as practitioner/ researchers and not either a practitioner or a researcher. Teaching as a behaviour

Intellectual life is first of all conflict and disagreement. Teaching may give the opposite impression, when initiates relate to novices what we claim to know [...] the forefront where ideas are created has always been a discussion among oppositions.

Collins, 1988, 1

The support that some of the fellows receive through teaching may allow them to explore some of their more venturous ideas in an environment sheltered from clients, market forces and competitors, with the assistance of students. As such, it may be suggested that the security that they receive from teaching affects their public behaviours.

I was teaching young students who would become professionals and yet I had a sense where actually I was not sure if what I was telling them would work and sustain itself in an


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

You can talk about several layers of public behaviour. The first layer of public behaviour is between you and yourself. Seeing yourself as other. And you begin a conversation with yourself.

You know when I did it, we had a growing practice lots of work ... was doing a PhD myself, so there wasn’t a lot of time to do stuff -and at least one baby… it was pretty full on. Leon used to get so grumpy [when I didn’t stay present at the whole PRS weekend]. It took me a long time to work out just how important it was to be there. So when I’m working with my candidates, now, I take a lot of trouble to try to explain that it a really worthwhile investment.

unprotected environment, in the open field of free market forces. Petra Marguc

Colm Moore describes the value he places on involvement in a teaching community (in the undergraduate architecture programme at Queen’s University Belfast) which provides a “safe forum to be challenged in” and allows access to “individuals who [...] think radically different houghts about what architecture could be or might be or should be.” Karin Helms compares her role as advisor to her role as teacher, suggesting her behaviour aims to let the public or her students come round to her point of view, without telling them directly to do so. She explains things with a view to getting the results she would prefer.

By explaining what is the context, the physical, the morphology, and how nice it is and how - well I never use the word ‘nice’ - I try to explain them how lucky they are here and let them know that they should be proud of it, and they are participating in doing a landscape. I have the same feeling as when I’m teaching for a student, trying to explain how his project is interesting and how he could go on. Not designing instead of him obviously - he has to learn… Within the ADAPT-r network the potential for actively conducting creative practice research within the protected environment of student education has only been explored by one fellow, Gitte Juul. She was able, at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana, to participate within the MArch Architecture programme. Juul invited students to volunteer in an elective course which formed part of a larger obligatory course for second year students. This way she got students involved with her mode of practice/research, by applying it to a learning environment. In 2015, as part of her ten month ADAPT-r fellowship, she co-created the ‘Stadium Nowhere’ project with a group of students, which resulted in the construction of mobile pavilions that were carried round the city centre in procession. Given that there are seven schools of architecture involved in the ADAPT-r network, it seems that the students conducting study at those institutions are 172

Unconscious behaviours What we do and what we say we do The interviews with supervisors to the PhD by Practice revealed that one of the core intentions of the doctorate is to understand some of the elements of practice that usually remain hidden. These relate to behaviours and operations that the practitioner/researchers do not necessarily think fit into research as well as tacit operations that would not normally be articulated.

An example from the past is a very interesting Australian practice with three partners and one office on one side of the continent and one on the other. And I went to visit the two on the West coast, and they said, “Yes, we’ve got about a hundred projects that we’ve done. We’ve closed this alley and the office next to us closes at 4 o’clock and well put trestle tables out there, well bring out all the models and we can play ‘Happy Families’ “. (You know, see which models fit with which). And the models kept coming, and they kept coming, and eventually they did a count - they had 300 projects. They didn’t even have a mental picture of the extent of what they’d done. Leon Van Schaik

Obviously, they know they do it, but they don’t see it as an important part of their practice. Richard Blythe

The interviews with supervisors to the PhD by Practice revealed that one of the core intentions of the doctorate is to understand some of the elements of practice that usually remain hidden. This is done with the intention of explicating knowledge in practice. There is perceived value in talking about practice in this way, since there are so many tacit operations in day-to-day practice. As such, looking at a practice from the outside does not necessarily reveal the intentions and understandings held by the practitioner/researchers. Changing behaviours as a result of the PhD The most common change as a result of the PhD by Practice, as discussed in the interviews, was to how the practitioner/researchers present their work. Involvement in the PhD by Practice has changed the way Alice Casey and her practice partner present their 173

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Karin Helms

a potential resource for creative practice research, which is, as yet, not fully utilised.

work to their peers in a formal context, opening up (in a controlled way) the process of their practice and the mistakes which inform their learning.

But you are there and it is an audience of your peers. It is the people that taught you, its the people you’re teaching, its everybody so you really don’t want to [mess] it up. But by then we had done two PRS and we consciously made the effort to not do that kind of ‘ fait accompli’ kind of lecture you know “this is what it is, because that’s what it was always going to be”. We tried to show bits that didn’t work. And say, “this isn’t great and we learned not to do that again”. I mean, we didn’t hang all the dirty washing out, but we hung a little bit out! Its really hard not to just give the finished version of the project and then everybody thinks that that’s just how you started it. It just arrived and of course it was going to be that, when actually…

Alice Casey

Colm Moore, suggests that this change is not limited to how he talks about his work but also to how he chooses to represent it visually too.

Colm Moore

Indeed, it seems that the fellows develop their own relationships with research through the public act of presenting their practice/ research.


Eric Guibert

It has changed how I teach slightly in that things that I’m trying to work through coming up to PRS presentations, I do try and talk to students about [it]. Myself and Alice [Casey] recently gave a talk in Dublin School of Architecture (D.I.T. Bolton St.) and we presented our work in a different way than we’ve ever presented before. We called the lecture ‘Elaborate Pragmatics’ and explained through reflecting on the work for the PhD, the process of finding when something is correct, and that in terms of the layout something only feels right if it is dealing with almost exclusively pragmatic things in an elegant way. Cian Deegan

Indeed reflecting back on her PhD research Veronika Valk noted that her behaviours changed. She became more aware of the different roles that she could take and no longer felt restricted by the regulations and confines of architectural competitions. This allowed her to move from a more traditional practitioner role into an advisory/practicioner role.

[To Veronika], talking about her public behaviours at the PRS - After the first PRS You showed us the work, but you weren’t getting ‘ it’ or ‘underneath it’ in the way you needed to in the phd, and that came later.

Richard Blythe

These changes in presentation techniques are something that Leon Schaik asserts others can see in RMIT PhD holders.

If you read the Pink Book and all the interviews that Anna Johnson did in that, almost every one of them says, going through this process means that I understand better what it is that I or we as a practice are interested in doing. And we’re 175

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

I wonder if it changes how you communicate your work to other people. How you think about photographing it and how you think about drawing it. A lot of time in projects the reflection happens, if you say the project is complete, and then you have this other project about documentation of that project. And I think the way you might engage with that, certainly for me, I think it would change now, in terms of how I’d like to represent it to others and how one goes about doing that, how one publishes.

You realise much more clearly where the relevant parts of what you do are, so gradually you feel more confident with what you are going to present and that which is valuable to somebody else. You could say the PhD is a transformative trigger on public behaviours in my case.

better able to find the clients who are interested in doing that sort of thing as well. So they’re dramatically different. Geoffrey London who’s been government architect in Western Australia and in Victoria says that when the presentations are made to the government to do work the difference between people who’ve been through this process and the ones who haven’t is just stark. The thing you were saying earlier about a different way of presenting, being able to involve and engage people. The others [architects who haven’t been involved with the PRS program] come, the others almost walk in mentally with a fully designed project, and thats what they’ve got to sell. Whereas, people who’ve been through this process are often more able to say [to clients] “this is the process we’ll go through, with you“. Leon Van Schaik

The interviews revealed that there seems to be consensus amongst the supervisors and candidates that doing the PhD by practice changes the way in which the practitioner/researchers share their work, in particular how they make presentations of their work. As such, it may be claimed that the programme helps the practitioner/ researchers to refine their presentation skills and public behaviours, through an awareness that talking more openly about their work and its flaws can help others to engage with it more readily.

I think we were the same way, we were waiting for a moment where there was clarity. And we’ve now concluded that there never is clarity! Colm Moore

Because I was really intimidated or confused about inevitable question ‘What’s your PhD, what’s it about?’ I’m slowly

Alice Casey

This release was, it seems, supported through the programme, especially the through the environment at the PRS:

I think the PRS operates in a very particular way. I haven’t seen any other forum, which does quite the same thing. There are a lot of forums where you talk about projects and this is not really about project. It is not a phd by project. I always say that, it’s a phd by practice, practice is more than its projects, it relates to the social construction of the practice itself, the public behaviour and so all those dimensions are talked about. Richard Blythe

However, given that practice, itself, is a social construct. There are many informal and formal exchanges that go on beyond the PRS. In particular, the Irish contingent, who at the time shared an address, may be considered a microcosm of small-scale daily exchanges and influences. Indeed, it seems curious that there is such a high representation of ADAPT-r fellows at one town house in Dublin, but nevertheless, there is potential for further investigation into this very particular dynamic and its implications with regard to creative practice research:

There are conversations [within the building they share with two other architecture practices]. Well Steve [Larkin] sits right beside me so there is an inevitability, even just by virtue of somebody brings a book in and puts it on the desk, that there is a conversation that is ongoing ... Colm Moore

There are however, many other interesting social dynamics at work across the fellows represented in ADAPT-r programme.

I rent space from a larger architecture practice - Ash Sakula - and I expected that there would be quite a lot of daily conversation. There is some but we are generally all so busy that you arrive, you do your thing, you have a 30 second conversation and … its London life. It seems necessary to create moments when discussions are possible, to structure. Eric Guibert



Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Control, release & social constructions of practice With the research came acceptance that the practitioner/researchers had to relinquish some degree of control and accept that everything cannot be managed.

realising that maybe, hopefully by the end I might know what the PhD is about. Just having faith in the process maybe.

… the conventions of how architects work, the legal framework we are bound to make a transversal and integrative collaboration challenging. It is important to make it palpable to non architects why issues about our lived environment are a concern for each of us, that it is not only an expert business, so we need to find a language, a medium to reach out to each other, to many different people who all have latent knowledge about space. That takes time.

Petra Marguc

It seems that knowledge and understandings are generated through the group. It appears as though the partners, supervisors, researchers and practitioners are co-creating a very specific kind of knowledge that is shared and developed, in part, through the telling of anecdotes, such as the trestle table story. Ethics, responsibilities and relationships clients, builders, other professions & society Some of the skills of ‘professionals’, however, are answers to self-created problems; the skill is intrinsic to the professional structure itself, and does not exist without it. [...] Hence I would suggest that the model of ‘self-created’ problems and the ‘professional’ knowledge which is a solution to them may be the most important component for a theory of idealized occupational status groups. Collins (1990, 20-21)

The term ‘entrepreneurial’ has become diminished in meaning: it has just become connected with business, whereas in fact, it encapsulates the idea of how something happens, the initiation or sustenance of projects going. It involves seeing 178

Tom Holbrook

There seemed to be interesting dynamics at work between the practitioners and their perceived view of themselves and their relation to society. Some of those interviewed had well-established senses of self (albeit in irony):

[Talking about the first PRS presentation] Where I say “I am the man!” Jo Van Den Berghe

Which we’re always saying, somehow. Even if we’re not explicitly saying it, we’re saying it. So in that sense it’s taken care of. So maybe I can be a little bit more honest about things if they go wrong and come with questions to the table. Say “I was here, does anybody see some way out?”

Arnaud Hendrickx

Whereas, others had a greater degree of self doubt and concern with regard to how they might position themselves, so as to be relevant to society:

Society don’t give a shit about architecture in general and even less about landscape so now we are in these rooms [PRS], these spatial things, getting more and more complex and refining something that the distance between the people who will consume it, its huge! This relates to both the PhD and to projects. I’m working for the public sector, I’m working in 179

Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

When asked about influences behind their behaviours and triggers, those interviewed mentioned authors, theorists and famous architects, alongside their supervisors, however, there broadly seemed to be less discussion relating to all of the different people involved in any given architectural project (client, engineers, advisors, municipalities and so on). Where Tom Holbrook did talk about the entrepreneurial aspects of the profession, a notion popularised in the 1980s by Robert Gutman, he interpreted this through the self-initiation of projects and a will to negate the need for a client in the traditional sense, by becoming the client himself.

where the risks are, talking to the right person at the right time to head those off, or knowing how to make an impact when you don’t have as much funding as you’d hoped. It’s a sort of timeliness I suppose, rather than the traditional path of being given a brief and a budget and then you start. Actually, one big breakthrough came when Leon [van Schaik] made a connection with the professional’s duty of care. There is a duty that one has beyond the container of each individual project, which is social duty of care. It made a big impact for me to realise that I really do care about that: I’m quite willing to sustain projects to achieve broader ends. We stand in for projects with no fees just to sustain them until they get going again and I think that’s quite rare: a lot of people just go “oh well its gone, move somewhere else”. Its not particularly a great business strategy one might say!

places where I usually don’t have much money, , I work in very raw conditions, a very raw public, so … what level of high culture do you have to deliver? Martí Franch Batllori

I need to extend beyond the profession into society, because as an architect I am working with, amongst and for people. As they are from very different backgrounds, with different, often conflicting needs and desires, this is a complex task and it takes time, hence I need sparring partners who are also thriving on cross fertilization amongst each other and a wider public. Petra Marguc

Through her interview, Helms revealed that she considers her own public behaviours to relate to convincing people through having conversations with them and sharing her expertise, with a view to influencing the choices that people make. She considers her public behaviours as ways of influencing sites and situations. From the examples she mentioned in the interview, it would seem that talking is her primary medium for convincing people to think situations in the ways that she would prefer.

Alice Casey

Given that as Tom Holbrook asserts, architecture is a business. Who are the different actors and what do they bring to the process? How can a practitioner/researcher’s behaviour negotiate these kind of situations?

[Business is] the other dimension of working as a practitioner: it’s not like acting as an academic because there’s also a business that you have to keep going. Sometimes there are tensions between the two: how do you move into spaces where you want to be? Tom Holbrook

Its an ethical - caring - so you stay connected with the project, from that capacity as a sense of responsibility.

Anna Holder

Karin Helms

In turn, when Alice Casey talked about clients, she stated that they need either to be ‘romanticised into something’ or reassured, or both. This suggests a particular attitude to the client. 180


Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

Being Landscape State Advisor means that you’re meeting inhabitants - M. & Mme. Tout-le-monde - meeting mayors - and you know in France there are 36,000 mayors, we didn’t regroup them, which means 36,000 to convince. There’s lack of reform in France, a very medieval way of government. So its these people who are the actors of the landscape, they are doing everyday transformations, some of them fit very well because they are continuing a long story, they are in dialogue with the site, but there a lot of things they’re doing that are not related to the site, and they are making it more and more banal.

Sometimes it better for me to talk to clients and sometimes it is better for Cian to talk to clients. Sometimes clients have no interest in being romanticised into something. They just want to know it is going to stand up, and they’re going to be able to fit all their stuff in it I can be quite good at saying, (…) it’ll do all that. And then there are some clients that just want to be lyrically brought into it, and then some clients want both. I think actually my ability to be reassuring comes from having the first projects with family.

Conclusion This chapter sought to look at the issue of ‘public behaviours’ in relation to ADAPT-r ITN. It attempted to do so from four different perspectives or scales: •

Section 1: The theoretical (ERs)

And, Section 3: The practical (ESRs).

Section 2: The institutional (Partners);



Instances and Contexts of Public Behaviour Eli Hatleskog

The introduction outlined our position/positioning as experienced researchers within the ADAPT-r network. It raised questions relating to conflicts of interest and provided a narrative of our own public behaviours within the group. As such, it links to the Anna Holder’s chapter of this book, explaining how we used interactions to develop a responsive project specific research methodology. The theoretical section began with a question - what is the relevance of creative practice research today? And, the proposition that creative practice research can support the development of new knowledge through interactions, engagements and collaborations. Taking reference from the American sociologist Randall Collins, these collaborations may be likened to ‘interaction rituals’. However, further to Collins’ work, and with an awareness of ‘communities of practice’, Amins and Roberts (2008), argue that knowledge can be situated in a number of different modes, through different types of rituals, which do not rely solely upon face-to-face interactions, but may also operate across virtual networks. In Section 2, the ADAPT-r network was contextualized with regard to interactions between the partner institutions, which revealed the history of the ADAPT-r network through interactions across time. This may be seen to represent some of the internals workings of ADAPT-r’s public behaviour. The contextualization with regard to other creative practice research networks is in the appendix. In Section 3, the results of our interviews with members of the ADAPT-r network - fellows and supervisors - raise some broad observations and themes relating to public behaviours in both practice and research. From the interviews it was clear that those interviewed sought recognition in different ways, from exhibitions to interviews, teaching, popular media and professional awards/press. They were generally aware that these different sources of recognition, or

publics, required different kinds of interactions and language use. In turn, they were also aware that there are also regional variations in language use and intentions. The fellows we interviewed seemed keen to assert their individuality in response/contrast to others in the ADAPT-r network, this was reflected, for example, in discussions about perceived isolation in practice and the collective community at the PRS. Despite mentioning feelings of isolation and appreciating the PRS community atmosphere, the fellows generally felt that they were, to some degree, in competition with each other and, as such, hid certain elements of their practice both deliberately and unconsciously. When asked why they wanted to do the PhD the majority of fellows mentioned a crisis of some sort, whether financial, emotional or in confidence. These crises combined with feelings of isolation, seem to have prompted many of them to take up doctoral research. As such, it may be argued that the community acceptance they claim to experience at the PRS is less about the group than it is about the individual practitioners sense of self-worth and confidence. Rather than explicitly contributing to new knowledge through the group, a number of those we talked with, informally, suggested their intended ends were much more personal; they simply wanted to improve their individual practices and become better architects. In order to become better practitioners, the fellows all agreed that the PRS was a vital forum to the research. It allowed them to receive critical feedback on their work in a way familiar to what they may have experienced during their education, i.e. the student ‘crit’. This type of structured conversation was perhaps something that they had missed upon becoming registered practitioners. This suggests that where ‘continuing professional development is a facet of the architectural profession in some countries, such as the UK. Some practitioners crave a different forum for lifelong learning, which the PRS provides. The PRS allows the practitioners to talk about their work and themselves, over many years, in a protected, structured, hierarchical environment, which they seem to deeply appreciate. Some of the practitioners seemed to demonstrate a certain degree of resistance to thinking of themselves as doing research. Furthermore, the interviews revealed that they had limited insight into the methodologies of the broader established field of creative practice research. Indeed, when questioned about the research elements of their research, it was curious to note that many of

them mentioned references from the natural sciences and not more appropriate references from creative practice research, or even the social sciences. The interviews revealed that one of the core intentions of the doctorate is to understand some of the elements of practice that usually remain tacit and, also, to change or reinvigorate the practice, somehow. In turn, it seems that knowledge and understandings are generated through the group. It appears as though the partners, supervisors, researchers and practitioners are co-creating a very specific kind of knowledge that is shared and developed, in part, through the telling of stories and the generation of common language and anecdotes. This leads to questions relating to the transferability of knowledge (i.e. dissemination) beyond ADAPT-r ITN, which the subsequent ER work-packages (1.5 Explicating Tacit Knowledge and 1.6 Explication of Method) will hopefully address. Future work Where this reflection has been written to present the immediate project results to the public, there is much more that could be done, both with regard to the methodology we have developed and the data we have gathered. We have many hours of transcribed interviews relating to the paired interviews, which give an unprecedented view into the creative practice research of architects and landscape architects across Europe. Furthermore, the methodology seems to have great potential and could be worth exploring further. In turn, further review and analysis of public behaviours in relation to ADAPT-r could result in more interesting new material. As such, it would appear that the data and analysis produced through the process of project reporting and this chapter reflection could have diverse future possibilities, with regard, say, to various forms of dissemination.

References, (2015). Adapt-r. Retrieved October 2015, from, (2015a). Creative Practice Conference: making research | research making. Retrieved October 2015, from creative-practiceconference-Aarhus, (2015b). Activities | Adapt-r. Retrieved October 2015, from http:// AEC., (2004). AEC - Polifonia. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www. Amin, A. & Cohendet, P., (2004). Architectures of knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Amin, A. & Roberts, J., (2008). Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice. Research Policy, 37(2), 353-369., (2006). Reflections 3. Retrieved October 2015, from http://, (2015). Publications – Faculteit Architectuur KU Leuven. Retrieved October 2015, from, (2015). About. Retrieved October 2015, from http://, (2015). Fellowship Programme | Program for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid. Retrieved October 2015, from stipendiatprogrammet/?lang=en, (2012). TAhTO. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www., (2015). About EARN. Retrieved October 2015, from http:// Belderbos, M., Dujardin, M., & Verbeke, J. (eds.), (2007). The Unthinkable Doctorate at Sint-Lucas Brussels from 14.-16. April 2005, Brussel: St. Lucas Architectuur Blackler, F. H. M., (2002). Knowledge, knowledge work and organizations: an overview and interpretation (reprinted). In The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge . (pp. 47-64). USA: Oxford University Press Inc. Blythe, R. and van Schaik, L., (2013), What if Design Practice Matters?, in :



Fraser, M. (ed.), Design Research in Architecture: An Overview, pp. 53-69., (2015). Parip/Practice as Research in Performance. Retrieved October 2015, from Brown, J.S., Duguid, P., 1991. Organizational learning and communities of practice: towards a unified view of working, learning and innovation. Organization Science 2 , 40–57.

Holder, A., (2014). Initiating Architecture: Agency, Knowledge and Values in Instigating Spatial Change. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Sheffield. Hugo, V., & Guyard, M., (1961). Notre-Dame de Paris. Paris: Éditions Garnier frères.

Collins, R., (1998). The sociology of philosophies, a global theory of intellectual change. Thousand Oaks: Sage Periodicals Press.

Lave, J., Wenger, E., (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Collins, R., (2011). The Sociological Eye: INTERACTION RITUALS AND THE NEW ELECTRONIC MEDIA. Retrieved October 2015, from

McFarlane, C., (2011). Learning the city: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell., (2012). European Commission : CORDIS : Projects & Results Service : “Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training ‐research”. Retrieved October 2015, from rcn/106609_en.html Csikszentmihalyi, M., (1999). Creativity. New York: HarperCollins. (2015). Aims of DRS. Retrieved October 2015, from ELIA, (2015). ELIA - About. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www. Frayling, C., (1993). Research in art and design. Royal College of Art: Research Paper , 1 (1).

Mouffe, C., (1999). Deliberative democracy or antagonistic pluralism?. Social Research, 66 (3), pp. 745-58. Orr, J.E., (1996). Talking About Machines: An Ethnography of a Modern Job. IRL Press an imprint of Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY/London. Rand, A., (1961). For the new intellectual. New York: Signet. Read, H., (1974). Education through Art. London: Random House. Schaik, L. H. R. van & Johnson, A. (eds.), (2011). The Pink Book. By Practice By Invitation. Melbourne: Onepointsixone. Schaik, L. H. R. van, (1988). Context and value thresholds as demonstrated in certain Southern African assisted and self-help housing, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Portsmouth Polytechnic.

Gardner, H., (1993, 2011). Creating minds: An anatomy of creativity seen through the lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic Books.

Schaik, L. H. R. van, (2008). Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture. Chichester: Wiley.

Hardt, M. & Negri, A., (2004). Multitude. New York: The Penguin Press. P. 105.

Schön, D., (1983). The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books, New York.

Hatleskog, E., (2013) Cooperatives, Control or Compromise? The Changing Role of Participation in Norwegian Housing. Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal, 7 (2), pp. 99-114. Hatleskog, E., (2014). The First Space at Brøset. A Practical Investigation into Participation, Sustainability and Design Processes, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architecture, NTNU. Hatleskog, E., Holder, A. & Hoete, A. (2016). Talking Architecture: Exploring knowledge through conversation in architectural creative practice research. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 9 (3), 18 p. Helsinki Design Lab & Boyer, B., (2013). Legible Practices: Six Stories About the Craft of Stewardship. Helsinki: Sitra. Hirst, P., (1995). Education and the Production of New Ideas, AA Files 29, London: AA Publications.


Schwandt, G., (2005). Dictionary of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.,. (2015). Resources - Share handbook - SHARE. Retrieved October 2015, from,. (2015). Society for Artistic Research - Society for Artistic Research. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www. Sullivan, G., (2011). CREATIVITY AS RESEARCH PRACTICE, International Handbook of Research in Arts Education, London: Springer. Till, J., (2011). Is doing architecture doing research? 4th International Meeting On Architectural And Urbanism Research, Valencia: Universitat Politècnica De València


Udall, J. & Holder, A., (2013). The Diverse Economies’ of Participation’ Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal, 7 (2), pp. 63-80. Valk, V., (2013). Steadfast in versatility : the substrate of a multi-modal practice, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University. Verbeke, J. (2013): This is Research by Design. In: Fraser, M. (ed.): Design Research in Architecture, An Overview. Ashgate, Burlington, 137-159. Wenger, E., (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Wilson, M., & Ruiten, S. (2013). SHARE handbook of artistic research education. Amsterdam: ELIA.

Appendix ADAPT-r & Who Else?

Creative Practice Research Training Networks In order to contextualise the work of ADAPT-r ITN with regard to diverse networks investigating and supporting creative practice research across Europe, the following section provides a list of some networks and initiatives that operate at both international scales across institutions and regionally within different countries and universities. From the list it is clear that there are networks at different scales, from the whole of Europe to a single country and they also represent a range of creative acts including: music, architecture, art, design, drama and performance. The following list is ordered alphabetically (all links accessed september 2016): ADAPT-r ITN: Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research – aims to significantly increase European research capacity through a unique and ground-breaking research model. At its core is the development of a robust and sustainable initial training network in an emergent Supra-Disciplinary field of research across a range of design and arts disciplines. AEC: Polifonia since its launch in 2004, the ERASMUS Network for Music ‘Polifonia’ has proactively addressed European higher education policy issues from the perspective of higher music education (HME). ARENA: Architectural Research European Network Association supports the culture of European architectural research by gradually creating a broad network of established academics and practitioners in the field, and by providing information resources to help the development of doctoral students and early-career researchers, and by encouraging the exploration of newly emerging and transdisciplinary/interdisciplinary research fields.



ARTIST AS CITIZEN: European Publics and the European City took place between 2009 and 2010, during which EARN affiliates worked as part of a policy grouping, to consider the links between art, research and the public sphere. CICA: Changing Identities and Contexts in the Arts: Artistic Research as the New European Paradigm for the Arts was a two-year network (2011– 2012) funded by the EU Culture Programme. CICA aimed to open up an intellectual dialogue around the changes taking place in the artist’s identity and the societal potential of creativity. DRS: Design Research Society a learned society committed to promoting and developing design research worldwide. Established in 1966 it is the oldest multi-disciplinary society for the international design research community. The biennial conferences, organized in collaboration with host universities, have become an essential meeting point for the design research community. http://www. EAAE: A non-profit organisation committed to promoting the exchange of ideas and people within the field of architectural education and research throughout Europe EARN: European Artistic Research Network was established to share and exchange knowledge and experience in artistic research; foster mobility, exchange and dialogue among art researchers; promote wider dissemination of artistic research; and enable global connectivity and exchange for artistic research. http://www.artresearch. eu/index.php/about/


ADAPT-r partners

KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture Sint-Lucas Belgium Aarhus School of Architecture Denmark

The Glasgow School of Art Scotland Estonian Academy of Arts Estonia University of Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture Slovenia

RMIT University Australia The University of Westminster England

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.