Screen media practice research

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Screen media practice research is an emerging academic area situated primarily within university Media Studies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Art and Design, and Performing Arts departments. Conducted in the practical production of film, video, internet, visual arts, and similar media, it is a subsection of a wider body of practice research within the arts and humanities.


The British Arts and Humanities Research Council has stated that "projects that can be defined as practice-led or applied" are those "where creative practice is integral to the project or it is undertaken with the specific goal of producing a defined research output — for example, new or improved systems, designs, artefacts, exhibitions, performances, events, products, processes, materials, devices, services, films, compositions, broadcasts, policy guidance – that will be utilised beyond the research base."[1]

In the UK, in Drama, Dance and the Performing Arts these issues have been the subject of an Arts and Humanities Research Board (now Council) -funded project at Bristol University.

According to the Bristol University PARIP site, "practice as research (PAR) and practice-based research (PBR) — and 'research through practice', 'research by practice', 'performance as research' — are contested terms that resist close definition. Practice as research and practice-based research are frequently used interchangeably to suggest a relationship of research between theory and practice." [2]

Dissemination and review[edit]

Screen media practice research is disseminated in a variety of ways: at academic conferences (for example, the Joint Annual Conference of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), now incorporating the Association of Media Practice Educators (AMPE)); through academic publication; through relationships with cultural and creative industries (such as film festivals, broadcast, online communities, and creative partnerships).

In the UK there was a debate on whether submissions of practice research for peer review needed to be supported by a written statement evidencing the research, or whether the artefact could stand alone as research. According to the AHRC Review of Research Assessment (September 2003), there was need for a clearer articulation of the research process — including research methods, context and significance — in practice-led research that was submitted to the RAE in 2003.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council suggested that "practice-led research" should incorporate a scholarly apparatus that enabled other researchers to assess the value and significance of the results and that completed work should maintain a record or "route map" of the research process. Similarly the Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Panel Report on the UK's Research Assessment Exercise for 2003 valued practice that could give "a reflexive account of itself as research", but found that many practitioners did not explain the ways in which the work constituted original investigation.

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