Our Practice Research Symposia model has structured and enabled practice research in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT 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 Urban Design stages six PRS events each year – twice a year across three continents (Australia, Europe, and Asia) – and in partnership with RMIT’s School of Design and School of Fashion and Textiles. In addition to in-progress reviews and examinations, the PRS also involves public lectures, research strategies.
The School of Architecture and Urban Design attracts practitioners from a range of career stages and design fields. Many have already developed a substantial body of work that demonstrates a distinctive contribution to their field. We invite them to reflect upon the nature of their creative practice within a critical, reflective framework, articulate the contribution it offers to a community of practice, and to speculate on their future practice through design projects. Early and mid-career practitioners undertake research through simultaneously developing their practice and their capacity for productive reflection-in-action. This enables the contribution of fresh approaches to venturous practice within their field, offering new insight into emerging issues within related communities of practice, and articulating agendas for the future.
Each candidate’s presentation at the PRS allows for a public consideration of their research. The process of enquiry that develops over the course of a research candidature is punctuated by these biannual presentations, which opens up the research to interrogation and explication through group discussion, involving peers, supervisors and other experts. In-progress presentations by all candidates are scheduled to occur over several days. The PRS also includes public lectures, research strategies intensives, discussion panels, social events and the chance to observe examination presentation events and their exhibitions, such that a PRS will often span across five to seven days in its entirety.