About this Site

The Practice Research Portal is a research and educational resource set up to support Practice Research across RMIT and in other Universities, nationally and internationally. The site has been developed by the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, and builds on the PhD program developed in that School over three decades. This portal offers an ever growing video archive, a research strategies course, key publications and PRS event information.  A series of significant research projects and an extensive network of partners have informed and supported the development of Practice Research as documented and described by this portal.

What is Practice Research?

To practice is to subject any endeavor to persistent pursuit and active, reflective development. By virtue of that active development, all practicing intrinsically involves research enquiry. Practice Research brings that research activity to the foreground through activating explicit enquiry into the know-how of practitioners. This occurs through doing and reflecting on their endeavours, and by situating that know-how and its contribution in broader issues and fields of practice. In this way, shareable knowledge is developed and contributes to domains of practice, supporting new, innovative and impactful projects.

Practitioners from a range of career stages and fields undertake this kind of research as Masters or Doctoral candidates. Many have already developed a substantial body of work that is well recognised in their field. We invite them to reflect upon the nature of their practice within a critical, reflective framework, articulate the contribution it offers to a community of practice, and to explore transformations of their practice through new projects. Early and mid-career practitioners undertake research through simultaneously developing their practice and their capacity for productive reflection-in-action though new projects. This enables the contribution of fresh approaches to practice within their field, offering new insight into emerging issues, and articulating agendas for the future.

What is the PRS?

Our Practice Research Symposia model has structured and enabled practice research in A+D for more than 30 years. The PRS operates as an intensive, twice-yearly gathering of research PhD and Masters candidates, supervisors, and guests to offer feedback to candidate’s research-in-progress, to celebrate the research achievements of the community, and to discuss and debate pertinent issues. The PRS’s prime purpose is to be the tangible focus of a learning community – its home so to speak – set up to facilitate collective learning for all involved. The School of Architecture and Design stages six PRS events each year – twice a year across three continents (Australia, Europe, and Asia) – and in partnership with other Schools such as Fashion and Textiles & Media and Communications. In addition to in-progress reviews and examinations, the PRS also involves public lectures, research strategies

intensives, discussion panels, and social events such that a PRS will often span across five to seven days in its entirety. The process of enquiry that develops over the course of a research candidature is punctuated by these biannual PRS presentations, which opens up the research to interrogation and explication through group discussion, involving peers, supervisors and other experts. This culminates in a PhD examination that involves three components: a dissertation, an exhibit and a public presentation to the examination panel. Examinations are videoed as part of the permanent durable record of the PhD, and are embedded in the video archive. Each video is embedded with a link to the written dissertation component and often to photographic documentation of the exhibit. In recent years, this also includes a link to a 3D walk-through of the exhibit (example).