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Design and Architecture Practice Research (DAP_r)

DAP_r (Design and Architecture Practice Research) is a collaboration of 14 Australian universities, led by RMIT, building a new model to fill an internationally identified gap in architecture and design postgraduate training. It is specifically aligned with the core teaching and learning components of design and architecture programs in Australia. It provides a radically new way of connecting the academy with SME practitioners, locating the site of new knowledge discovery within SME studios, producing results with immediate industry impact and linking them with studio teaching.

The doctoral model involves the production of new works during the period of the PhD which are, in most cases, included in the final PhD material, and the placement of the work of the practice in a broader disciplinary context. Candidates examine and document the methods and techniques of practice as they relate to the existing and ongoing body of work. Thus, the work examines and transforms the practice within which it is situated.

With funding from the Federal Department of Education and Training, the project aims to mobilise the adoption of a practice approach to doctoral training, and enable Australian universities to:

• Explore its applicability to their context;
• Adopt this proven approach to doctoral training through the establishment of an open supervisory network;
• Develop allied support resources;
• Achieve substantial engagement of SMEs in doctoral training; and
• Capitalise on nascent pedagogical scholarship.

Partners come together at RMIT’s twice annual Melbourne Practice Research Symposium to work towards key project outputs, which include:

• An open supervisory network, enabling partners to share the PRS supervisory and training system and create new centres for its expanded operation;
• A web resource and community hub for researchers, supervisors and candidates, supporting research methods training and supervisor development, and providing access to practice based research outcomes to other researchers and institutions;
• A series of DAP_r exhibition and symposium events, to showcase completed PhDs and to discuss supervision, training, methods and infrastructure related to the program, showcasing the DAP_r program to partners institutions;
• An impact survey undertaking research into the immediate impacts of the program in industry and the academy; and
• Pedagogical approaches research, building on the existing body of work done through the European ADAPT_r grant to further explore the potential benefits of improved pedagogical practices – arrived at through PhD study – for learning in architecture and design studios.

Project Links

Images Credits:

• Niki Wallace, PhD (Architecture & Design), University of South Australia. Thesis: Beyond making greener things: expanding the understanding of sustainability within communication design practice
• Mirai Morita, PhD (Architecture & Design), University of Adelaide. Thesis: Making Happenstances
• Sven Mehzoud, PhD (Architecture & Design), University of Technology Sydney. Thesis: Museum and migration: Scenographic exhibition strategies for the communication of counter-hegemonic narratives
• Lucy Bleach, PhD (Fine Arts), University of Tasmania. Thesis: Harmonic tremor, horizontal slowness: connecting the geologic with the intimate through a temporal, sculptural and social inquiry
• Robert Cameron, PhD (Architecture & Design), University of Western Australia. Thesis: Architecture as interface – examining the design of locative media in urban public space

RMIT Partners
Richard Blythe, Laurene Vaughan, Suzie Attiwill, Pia Ednie-Brown, Brad Haylock, Vivian Mitsogianni, Marcelo Stamm, Leon van Schaik
Research Partners
Bond University, Charles Sturt University, Deakin University, Monash University, University of Newcastle, Queensland University of Technology, University of Canberra, University of New South Wales, University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, University of Tasmania, University of Technology Sydney and University of Western Australia
Date: 2016-17
Status: Ongoing