Joint Conference: Texas Association of Schools of Art and TTU College of Visual and Performing Arts

Joint Conference:

Texas Association of Schools of Art and

TTU College of Visual and Performing Arts
Title: Arts Practice Research: Scholarship, Pedagogy, and the Creative Process (version 6/25/2015)


October 1-3 2015, the Texas Tech University College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Texas  the Roots Music Institute, and the TTU Vernacular Music Center present the conference Arts Practice Research: Scholarship, Pedagogy, and the Creative Process. The Conference will partner concurrently with the Texas Association of Schools of Art conference, sponsored by the School of Art, the CVPA, and the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, and will feature as Keynote Speaker internationally-renowned dancer, designer, and performance artist Nick Cave (see


In teaching the fine and performing arts, real-time and immersive learning engages students in “arts practice”—that is, in the processes, techniques, skills, data-sets, and critical perspectives whose combination in real time yields the art object or experience. Makers and learners can be engaged both creating this object or experience, and then reporting, in a critical and analytical fashion, upon the considerations that went into its creation, thereby “opening out” the collaborative process for investigation and dialogue. Transdisciplinary and multi-modal in both philosophy and practice, this synthesis of creativity activity and critical analysis, as “Arts Practice Research,” is a fast-growing topic within university curricula, both here in North America and abroad (a brief sampling of programs inaugurating the PhD in Arts Practice includes Tier-One universities in Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, and the USA).[1] Programs may differ in their language and definitions, but uniformly share a fundamental conviction that both the creation and the analysis of an arts object (physical or processual) can be constituent elements of the scholarly mission, uniting the creator and the critic as “practitioner”.[2]


Because the arts reach out to students, the community, the academy, the gallery, technology, other disciplines, the environment, history, social justice, entertainment, and transnational communities, in furthering art’s reach, we further the impact of its research practice. Arts practice is thus precisely the place in which Fine & Performing Arts faculty can unite research, teaching, and creative activity.


The conference, held on the campuses of Texas Tech University and the Louise Hays Underwood Center for the Arts, will bring together students and teachers, creators and scholars, campus and community, vernacular and cultivated genres, “traditional” and “modern” perspectives—and will investigate and fruitfully complicate the dynamics between all. Papers, themed paper sessions; individual presentations of works in process; round-table discussions; workshops in devised theater, contact partnering, dance, and improvisational visual art offerings will be presented by scholars, students, and practitioners from Canada, Ireland, England, and across the USA, as well as the Texas Tech University System. Students will participate at every stage and level, including planning, logistics, presentation, and assessment. Featured performances will include works “devised” through the process of arts practice via transdisciplinary collaboration. TTUAPR will be featured as part of LHUCA’s First Friday Art Trail, and on Saturday will present an evening of “Performance as Research as Performance,” curated by CVPA’s Professor Heather Warren-Crow.


Texas Tech University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts has been a leader in arts practice research for four decades, since the foundation of the CVPA’s interdisciplinary PhD in Fine Arts. In recent years, collaboration across TTU arts disciplines, particularly as sponsored by the Vernacular Music Center, has led to a series of flagship creative productions, including 2013’s Dancing at the Crossroads: A Celebration of Anglo-Celtic and African-American Dance in the New World (Department of Dance & School of Music), Twelfth Night or, What You Will (Department of Theatre & School of Music), The Elegant Savages Orchestra (Department of Dance & Vernacular Music Center), and 2014’s Mother Courage (Department of Theatre & School of Music). The Steering Committee comprises leading artist/scholars from across the College, already actively involved in creative collaborations and Arts Practice Research.


Steering Committee: Carol Flueckiger (Art), Bill Gelber (Theatre), Chris Smith (Vernacular Music Center), Nicole Wesley (Dance)

[1] Examples include the Universities of Limerick; Cork; Wollongong (Australia); London; Quebec; Southern California; the Orpheus Institute (Ghent), and other similar first-rank institutions.

[2] See Barbara Hawkins, “Transdisciplinary Approaches to Doctoral Arts Practice Research: Benefits and Challenges of Transdisciplinary Research,” The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review 7, 1-11. Available at (Accessed 5/9/2014); also Graeme Sullivan, Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts (New York: Sage, 2009).