Symposium 2: Term 6

Charlotte Webb talking about doing a practice based PhD

“Charlotte Webb is Project Manager, Student Engagement (Digital) at the University of the Arts London. She manages institutional research and projects that investigate students’ experiences of digital technology for their learning. She is also undertaking an art practice-based PhD at Chelsea College of Art, which investigates the effects of the web on the artist’s agency.”[1]

Concept = Extra subjectivity. Originality – disrupted by automated processes that give rise to extra subjectivity.

  • 6th year into it! (Final year)
  • About £2.5K per year
  • 3 meetings per term with supervisor
  • Word count Min 15K Max 100K
  • Submission is the artworks and the thesis explaining the work leading up to the artworks
  • PT better than FT as allows for maturing ideas, processes and products (+ funding)
  • The shape of the submission:
    • Artworks (as chapters) – eg automated processes that create their own meanings out of internet data

“Flickr Nude or Noodle Descending a Staircase was inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 painting ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’. It is a custom built application that searches Flickr for recent images tagged ‘nude’ and displays them as if they are descending a staircase. You can create your own staircases and submit them to the staircase archive. For more information and instructions visit the about page.

Please note that we have no control over the images displayed in this work. They are whatever has been posted in Flickr, and some may be explicit. If you want to avoid explicit images, please visit the ‘noodle’ version of the work. Click the links below to view whichever version you prefer.”[2]

  • Supervision = key. The person needs to click
  • Some tension between practice and research

Examples, of automated work creating extra subjectivity (ie meaning)



Thoughts: the symposium
The two hour session was interesting as much for her area of research as for the practicalities of doing a Phd. For example, she explained some of the issues she faced regarding copyright because of using images that maybe subject to it appropriated from the Web. I was also surprised by Charlotte saying that she experienced some tension between practice and research as for me the two are inextricably linked. Practice is a form of research as well as execution.

I think the discussion confirmed for me the need for a year’s break and trying to exploit the work already created during this MA and do some fun things with the RPS and on social media. In a sense I am saying that I need to cast my eye wide for a while and then come back to narrow down any artistic interests after a period of more open activity.




About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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