In 2016 Cambridge School of Art piloted Theorem—what we believe was the first expanded format PhD conference in the UK to include an exhibition of practice-based arts research in conjunction with a one-day symposium. The symposium considers the very tangible realities of both theoretical and practice research in the visual arts and design in a knowledge sharing and peer networking event, while the exhibition provides the opportunity to present practice research under the visual and spatial conditions best suited to its communication. The publication is an opportunity to publish academically for these early-career researchers in a peer-reviewed forum.
One of the most gratifying things about producing Theorem is seeing the visible learning that takes place as we move from the symposium/exhibition event to producing the book. Then to receive feedback from participants and supervisors attesting to the benefits they or their students have received from Theorem is even more rewarding. The pathway is not an easy one for some, but those who persevere gain a lot—and often at a time when they need to learn these skills the most in their doctoral progression.
“Theorem is organised and run by PhD students for the benefit not just of the research culture at Anglia Ruskin but for any post-doctoral Arts research community wishing to expand or consolidate its research culture. It is a notable addition to the provision for PhD research in the Arts in the UK.”
Katy Macleod, author of ‘Writing and the PhD in Fine Art’
in The Rutledge Companion to Research in the Arts,
edited by Michael Biggs and Henrik Karrlson
“Theorem provides an arena for a broad range of discourses reflecting current practice-led PhD research in fine art and design. At its core, the annual forum allows the possibility for new considerations and collaborations to emerge between subject areas, disciplines and media, made manifest through the critical spaces of the exhibition, symposium and publication.”
Chris Taylor is Professor of Fine Art Practice in the School of Fine Art,
History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds,
and co-founder of the Artists’ Writing and Publications Research Centre.