We spoke first about the possible combinations of internal and external examiners and whether it was necessary to have an examiner in philosophy or whether it was sufficient to have someone able to understand the underpinning theory of my practice. It is also important to find someone that has experience in examining practice-led PhDs.
Then more conversations about the Contemporary Practice Chapter (CPC) of my thesis. My second supervisor confirmed that broadly the outline I produced is along the right lines although I may need to reduce the number of themes to two or three and those central to my practice. She suggested that the Quiet Photographer/Quiet Photographs seemed to be a key theme as it was a method and approach, a framework and an aesthetic and may be as important as the philosophy. She also felt that the Case Studies of my practice should sit in the Practice section. The CPC is about positioning my practice and identifying the influencers and how they align with my research. She suggested that the philosophical underpinning might also be included in the CPC too.
She outlined the structure for a traditional practice-led thesis as follows with estimated word count for each section:
Introduction – 5,000 words
Contemporary Practice – 10-12,000
Methodology – 8,000
Justification of methods
Practice – 20,000 – Core Chapter
New insights, developments, evidence, report – what, why, how, lessons learned, outcomes. Case studies (work not included in Artists’ Book).
Conclusion – 5,000
Results and conclusions
New avenues of research not appropriate in thesis but for future consideration.
We agreed that the outputs should be in three volumes:
She said that I should not repeat the writing in published work but rather refer to the Appendices as appropriate. I should summarise rather than repeat. This would help with the word count too.
She suggested I looked at some practice-led PhDs via the British Library to get a sense of the possible options including a decision to put the Practice section first.
I need to ensure that at the beginning of each chapter I should look back to the last and forward to what is included in the current chapter. Everything should be signposted. Don’t confuse the reader! When repeating certain points, say something different in each chapter.