Supervising Artistic Research PhDs. Guest Speaker: Michaela Glanz

Online Seminar Series

Supervising Artistic Research PhDs in film and performance practices brings its own set of concerns for staff and students. This seminar focused on challenges in PhD supervision, questions which distinct pedagogies lead to best practices, and imagines potential support structures for supervisors to enhance PhD delivery. Michaela Glanz, from the Erasmus+ Project Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates, introduced the seminar with an overview of emergent successful practices in doctoral supervision. 

This seminar too place on Thursday 20th August 2020

Recording Of The Seminar

In Summary

Michaela Glanz, Head of Art, Research and Support at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, discussed how we might think about supervision, talked about the Erasmus+ project Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates, and provided some examples of best practices. She stressed the importance of thinking about supervision not in terms of creating standardized approaches, but rather considering which potential protocols and structures might fit the specific environment of each institution, and are appropriate for distinct PhD projects. She spoke about supervision rather than supervising, considering the horizontal triangulation of the supervisor, the PhD student, and the institution as opposed to an authoritarian relationship between supervisor and supervisee. In the triangulation model proposed, the three parties – supervisor, student, institution – work together to support a good supervision setting. It is important to note too how the different life cycles of the PhD might call for distinct supervisory support structures, and how the very act of supervision is one which is not clearly defined: supervisors sometimes are mentors, coachers, and teachers. 

In this context, Glanz proposed four dimensions to the ‘world of supervision’: to teach, to coach, to think through art, and to institutionalise. They are clearly interrelated in the Mind Map interactive online tool from the Advancing Supervision project, which highlights the many dimensions associated with the supervisory context, and which staff and students can use to think through what supervision means in their setting. It is interesting to note here how language plays a part in our perception of the term supervision. In Portuguese, the word for supervisor is orientador, which effectively translates as the person who orientates. In the mind map, to orient is one of the dimensions of supervision associated with to investigate, however, in Portuguese language, it represents one of the main aspects of the supervision context, which highlights the array of nuanced dimensions of the world of supervision in different cultural contexts. 

Glanz also discussed the PhD Supervision Agreement as a tool that sets out from the beginning the expectations, roles, and supervisory settings for all the players involved. This agreement should be specific for each research project as its individual needs will be distinct from others. She further discussed Peer Group Supervision as a powerful practice to complement more formal supervision structures. Whilst it must be implemented with the support of formal authority, it should run without the supervisors, providing a free space for students to present what is timely at that moment, what they are concerned with, to peers and to an experienced facilitator/critical friend. The example of the Slot Machine – developed to provide space for more experimental and artistic approaches – highlighted how this alternative type of practice provides a space where artistic interventions can thrive, and where other modes of showing – rather than traditional academic forms – can be explored. Jools Gilson highlighted how this approach makes space for and values other forms of intelligence, thinking through art beyond critical and analytical processes. 

Padlet Discussion

Helpful Resources

Erasmus+ Project Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates:

Enhancing Supervision Mind Map:

Florence Principles

Upcoming Events from Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates:

Feed-Back, Feed-Forward: Formats Of Artistic Feedback In Doctoral Supervision

Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates (and beyond)

About Michaela Glanz

Michaela Glanz is Head of the Art | Research | Support at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where complimentary services from the working areas of the research service, of the Center for Doctoral Studies, and of knowledge transfer are provided. She is also the coordinator of the Erasmus+ Project Advancing Supervision for Artistic Research Doctorates.