The Department of Art at Goldsmiths is committed to supporting and developing art research of the highest quality in the areas of Fine Art, Curating, Art Writing and across disciplines.
Within the overarching programme of MPhil/PhD in Art, there are three different pathways for undertaking doctoral research, including:
Pathway 1: Thesis by Practice
The thesis comprises a substantial body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice, presented as an integrated whole. This is accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project, and a written component of approximately 20,000-40,000 words for PhD (10,000-20,000 words for MPhil) offering a critical account of the research.
For more information on Pathway 1, please refer to the programme specification.
Pathway 2: Thesis by Practice and Written Dissertation
The thesis comprises a body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice AND a written dissertation of 40,000-80,000 words for PhD (20,000-40,000 for MPhil), presented together as an integrated whole. The thesis will be accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project.
For more information on Pathway 2, please refer to the programme specification.
Pathway 3: Thesis by Written Dissertation
The thesis comprises a written dissertation of 80,000-100,000 words for PhD (40,000-50,000 words for MPhil), presented as an integrated whole.
For more information on Pathway 3, please refer to the programme specification.
Researchers will start on one of these three pathways when they apply and may change to a different option only up until the time of Upgrade.
Every Researcher has a supervisory team consisting of a Primary Supervisor and a Second Supervisor. As we encourage and support interdisciplinary research, many of our Researchers have Second Supervisors in another Department. The exact structure of your supervision will be determined by the nature of your project and through discussion with your supervisory team; however, it is expected that you will maintain regular contact with your supervisors throughout the research project.
Programme Activities (Induction Week)
A series of events and activities for all incoming MPhil/PhD Researchers in the College is organised by the Graduate School as part of Induction Week. The Department of Art hosts a specific induction session for all incoming art researchers, who are also invited to attend a day of public presentations by current researchers.
The Public Presentations provide an opportunity for researchers due to upgrade or submit their final examination the following year to make a presentation of their work. It is also an opportunity for incoming PhD Researchers to experience the work of those already pursuing the PhD.
Programme Activities (Intensives)
All skills training, research activities, monitoring exercises and public-facing events fall into three intensive clusters, one in each term, including:
- Term 1 - Flashpoint 1
- Term 2 - Flashpoint 2
- Term 3 - Annual Review Panels / Research Day
Full-time researchers are required to attend both Flashpoint 1 (Term 1), and Flashpoint 2 (Term 2), with the exception of those in their Writing Up Year (Year 4 FT)
Part-Time Researchers have the option of attending either Flashpoint 1 (Term 1) or Flashpoint 2 (Term 2). However, you are highly encouraged to attend both. Those in Writing Up Year Years 7 & 8 PT) are exempt.
All Researchers enrolled in the Programme are expected to attend and participate in the Annual Review Panels/Research Day, including those in their Writing Up Year (Year 4 FT, Years 7 & 8 PT)
Your attendance and participation in the intensives includes acting as the main organiser for many of the events. We consider this organisation of research events to be a key component of your research-skills training and development.
Scheduled in Term 1 and Term 2, respectively, the Flashpoints are moments where Researchers come together to gain necessary skills, share and disseminate research, open public debate and foster community through:
- Skills Workshops run by invited guests (Year 1 only)
- Art Research Seminars collaboratively organised and run by small groups of MPhil/PhD Researchers
- Public Events organised by MPhil/PhD Researchers in consultation with members of staff
- Flashback/Flashforward where we look back at, and forward to, the events in each Flashpoint
Annual Review Panels/Research Day
Scheduled in Term 3, the Annual Review Panels are an opportunity to monitor progress and support researchers at formative stages throughout the project. The yearly Research Day is an opportunity for everyone to come together around a particular topic or concern, inviting guests and research outside of the programme.
Programme Activities (Scheduled throughout the year)
If you are a research student on one of the practice options, you are required to install your practice by means of a public facing exhibition at least two times during your time on the programme. The INSTALLATION allows you to test out how to best stage and articulate your practice and its research trajectory; how to negotiate exhibition and presentation formats most suitable to your research/practice; and how to best open these up for debate. As you calibrate your overall thesis and assemble its component parts, the installation is an important opportunity to negotiate the practice component of the research in relation to the overarching claims and written components of your thesis, to test their boundaries, or indeed to investigate how to productively disregard such categorisations.
The INSTALLATIONS are also a committed chance to solicit debate, feedback, discussion, and explore collaborative expansions to the scope of your individual research practice. We have allocated programme resources for these installations so that you can invite external guests and/ or collaborators into the production and/ or discussion of these. Installations normally occur at key stages of your research, which may be leading up to the transfer of registration from MPhil to PhD or the final exam, but may also include other moments where the research would benefit from public exposure, expansion and discussion.
Related Research Activities (Ongoing)
MARs (Mountain of Art Research) Sessions bring together researchers within Art, across disciplines, between institutions and beyond higher education for intentional, concentrated discussion and sharing of research. Each small-scale, curated event engages around 12-15 people in conversation, all of whom share a research interest in common. The sessions are organised and run by members of academic staff along with MPhil/PhD researchers in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, keying into specific research interests.
Depending on the curatorial agenda, each MARs Session may have up to three ‘prep’ sessions involving readings, screenings, gallery visits, etc. Keying into the research theme/topic of the main MARs session, these ‘prep’ sessions are organised by an MPhil/PhD Researcher in Art in consultation with the main MARs organizer. The ‘prep’ sessions run on consecutive weeks leading up to the main MARs session. Participants may choose to sign up for the main session only, but are welcome to attend any or all of the 'prep' sessions as well.
MARs (Mountain of Art Research) Transmissions are a series of Lectures and Seminars.
The Lectures are intended to provide a platform where we frame the work of high-profile, national and international artists and creative practitioners as research. The lectures will be open to the public as well as to art research communities across London and the UK as well as to a more general public – we will encourage a wide audience, aiming for 150-200 people per lecture.
Seminars are where PhD Researchers are invited to engage with the work of an invited artist/creative practitioner, exploring this work alongside presentations by two of the PhD Researchers themselves. In order to facilitate discussion and to ensure benefit to doctoral researchers, the Masterclasses will be capped at 15-20 participants.
Seminars in Art, Literature & Philosophy
Seminars involving readings of texts from philosophy and literature relevant to current questions in art, literature and philosophy.
An ongoing series of research productions initiated by Edgar Schmitz in 2016 in the context of the Art Research Programme at Goldsmiths.
Through contributions by invited guests, the events animate the affordances of choreographic registers for artistic and cultural work. As part of a broader investigation into the status of competencies in a post-skill environment, the series renders the choreographic as a set of language possibilities, procedural matrices and production protocols. These registers are variously recognised and/or fetishised in institutional practice.
The emergence of dramaturgy as a professional category within institutional curating attests to this as much as the interest in and circulation of dance and related forms under the conditions of museum displays and collection protocols. The largely consensual inscription of the choreographic into the broader milieu of artistic labour and commodities is one key perspective for the project; debates around practice-based research formats within higher education institutions and their material and discursive supports are another.
Against these backdrops, the CHOREOGRAPHIC series aims to test the extent to which languages of the choreographic (discursive as well as performed) afford us the possibility to re-visit habituated languages of curating, artistic production and display, as they circulate within discussions and self-projections of current modes of practice.
Postgraduate Talks Series
The Postgraduate Talks Series is geared toward the MFA and PhD cohort. The first half of each term is organised by the Art Research Programme Director so that the series is informed by and informs ongoing discussions within the PhD research environment.
The Contemporary Artist Talks series runs throughout the year, showcasing prominent national and international artists who speak in detail about their work and practice.
MFA Crit Groups
Researchers in Year 1 have the possibility of attending the MFA Year 2 Group Crits. There are four MFA Crit Groups in total and these meet on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The MFA sessions start during the first week of term with five-minute 'slide' introductions; the MFA seminars then begin properly the week after Reading Week and run every week during undergraduate term-time except Reading Week through to the end of May.
Should you take up this opportunity to attend the MFA Group Crits, you would be expected to fully participate in your Crit Group and would do one Critical Studies Presentation based on your practice and one Studio Practice Presentation.