The Media and Communications Department has been offering a PhD programme partially by audio-visual practice for the last decade or so. We positively encourage applications from Doctoral candidates who wish to submit, as part of their thesis, a portfolio of practical work (such as photographs, video, film, installations, websites or other digital/print material) alongside a reduced textual component. The work submitted must be original, and be as integral to the research aims, processes and outcomes of the project as the textual component itself. The final thesis as a whole will therefore demonstrate the integration of its practical and theoretical components, so that text and practice reflect critically on each other.
- The length of the textual element should normally be between 30-60,000 words.
- The practical component should be a ‘substantial’ body of work. Given the potential range of media that can be used, and their differing potential relationships with the research process and the textual component, it is impossible to be precise here about what ‘substantial’ means. In the case of film/video it would normally entail the submission of a work (or works) of about one hour in length (or more), but detailed requirements will be worked out on a case-by-case basis.
- The practical component should fully and creatively exploit the medium in which it is made, and should make a contribution to the thesis that could not have been made in words.
- The practical component should also not be merely illustrative of the theory, but must make an original contribution in its own right, which relates back, in an integral fashion, to the theoretical component of the thesis.
- Similarly, the thesis cannot be ‘carried’ by the practical component, however original. The textual component of the thesis will therefore normally be more than a ‘commentary’ on the practical work. It should offer a substantial crtical, theoretical, formal or technical contribution to the chosen field of enquiry, at the standard (though not the length) of a normal PhD thesis.
You should apply to do an ‘AVPhD’ in the same way as ‘normal’ PhD students – please see programme information.
You are asked to enclose a 1,500 word outline of your proposed research, highlighting central questions to be addressed and some idea of theory and research methods to be used. In addition, your AVPhD research proposal should make clear in what way your project meets the criteria and regulations outlined above, paying particular attention to how you see the relationship between text and practical work in the research process you want to undertake.
We will also need to see evidence that you have the appropriate technical skills to undertake the proposed practical work. If your application is successful, you will get some expert support from supervisors and technical advisers, but no time-tabled technical tuition. We would therefore normally expect applicants to have had (and be able to demonstrate) a substantial amount of previous production experience in their chosen medium.
Supervisors and examiners
All PhD students at Goldsmiths routinely have a principal and a second supervisor. This is also true of AVPhD students, except that in this case it is most often a less uneven relationship, as one supervisor is normally a theory specialist, the other a member of staff with a relevant media practice background, and they operate as a team, frequently conducting joint supervision sessions. The practitioner supervisor will not necessarily have a PhD, but will be qualified by their expertise and specialist knowledge in the relevant field of media practice. The same criteria apply in the selection and appointment of the two examiners.
Technical and other resources
The Media and Communications Department has an extensive (and constantly expanding) bank of technical resources for digital media production, including HDV production, AVID, Final Cut and Pro Tools post-production, a TV Studio and a range of photographic and digital imaging equipment. These resources are managed by a skilled team of Technical Advisers, and are in heavy demand (in varying degrees) at different times in the academic year, from the Department’s BA and MA students as well as PhD students. Access to them for Doctoral students is encouraged, but has to be carefully planned before the start of academic years.
The Department arranges a programme of courses in Research Methods for first year MPhil/PhD students. As an AVPhD student you will negotiate with your supervisors which elements and how many of these courses you should take. The Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths also hosts an ‘AVPhD’ support group for all those doing audio-visual practice based doctorates in the Department, across the college and for some students in other institutions.
Current AVPhD students
Current students include Pola Bousiou, Catalin-Mihai Brylla, Sabine El Chamaa, Dettie Gould, Mine Kaylan, Alex Mattholie, Minou Norouzi, and Tom Tlalim. For more more information on their work please visit current PhD students.