CPR Models

You may hear people refer to different CPR ‘models’.

One particular creative practice research model is described in the video produced by Professor Richard Blythe. The model has been developed over many decades in the School of Architecture and Design, where established practitioners of architecture and design undertake research into the unique practices that they have founded and developed over a period of time, usually around 10 years. In this way, the studio of the practitioner (ranging from solo practitioners to companies employing several hundred staff) becomes the ‘laboratory’ for the research. Through investigating a developed body of work and how that work has been produced, practitioners reveal tacit knowledge and articulate implicit issues at play, a process which becomes transformative of the practice itself. This transformation becomes evidenced through creative projects produced during the candidature. In this way, practitioners push at the boundaries of their disciplines in search of new forms of practice.

An account of the history and evolution of this model can be found in an essay by its instigator, Prof. Leon van Schaik, ‘The Evolution of the Invitational Program in Design Practice Research’, in van Schaik, L and Johnson, A (2012) The Pink Book: By Invitation Design Practice Research at RMIT Architecture & Design, Melbourne: RMIT, p. 15-32.  [RMIT University Library holdings: print, or via Publisher Website]. It is also discussed in his lecture, The Research Scaffolds of Design Practice Research. This lecture discusses particular ‘scaffolds’ for PhD’s conducted through reflective practice, and largely by very experienced designers. He offers an account of the context of the development of these scaffolds, and important part of which is the School of Architecture and Design’s Practice Research Symposium (PRS), which van Schaik instigated in the 1980s.

An account of the development of the PRS can be seen in this video presentation by Leon van Schaik here.
The PRS and other HDR conferences and symposia can be considered as very important scaffolds for the candidature.

This model differs slightly but significantly for those candidates who don’t, for instance, have an established practice and body of work. Rather, they might be in the process of establishing a practice, such that there is a greater emphasis towards that which is emerging. Other models will tend to emphasis a project or associated group of projects rather than a practice per se. These differences reflect a series of alternative terms such as ‘PhD by project’ or ‘PhD by practice’, and ’practice led research’ or ‘practice-based research’ – definitions which slip around depending on the context.

A useful paper on models, ‘Unpacking Models, approaches and materialisations of the design PhD‘ by Profs Laurene Vaughan and Andrew Morrison

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