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Creative Graduates: learning and research in the creative arts 2008

A joint project with PALATINE, Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music and the Scottish QAA


What makes higher education 'higher'? Is some form of linkage between teaching and research a defining characteristic of 'higher education'?

Specific 'graduate attributes' related to research, or 'research mindedness', all feature in the SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) and QAA subject benchmarks and these high level attributes are also widely assumed to be important in graduate employability.

At the same time, many universities as a consequence of the RAE are organising their activities in ways that separate research and teaching, and educational researchers have also raised questions about whether innovative and effective teaching is necessarily dependent upon staff being involved in discipline-based research.

PALATINE and the Art Design Media Subject Centre (ADM-HEA) are currently undertaking a collaborative project, co-funded by the Scottish QAA, that is investigating the potential for the enhancement of high level graduate attributes through research-teaching linkages in the creative arts.

The project is particularly concerned with understanding how Scottish institutions enhance the students’ learning experience through the use of:

  • Performances and exhibitions;
  • Creative projects within and outwith the institution;
  • Contact with professional artists and organisations;
  • The professional artistic experience of staff;
  • The research interests of staff – especially where these include creative work and practice-based approaches;
  • The other research activities of the institution, including consultancy work.

A one day symposium held on 18 March, 2008 was an important contribution to the work of the project. It aimed to provide a valuable opportunity to discuss and showcase the various ways in which 'a spirit of enquiry' informs and becomes integral to the learning process in creative and practice-based disciplines. It also aimed to explore and articulate the interconnectedness of research, learning and teaching in those disciplines.