Reader in Research Practice
Dr Sian Vaughan is Reader in Research Practice with expertise in doctoral education and creative research methods. She has previously worked in museums, galleries and archives as well as teaching in further and higher education.
Broadly her research interests concern the pedagogies that underpin research in art and design, and the modalities of interpretation and mediation of public engagement with contemporary art. Her art research focuses on artistic practices with archives, history, and institutions with a particular focus on creative research methods as knowledge generation. Her educational research is focused on the practices and pedagogies of doctoral education and particularly in how these are responding to creative practice in research. She enjoys working collaboratively and across disciplines.
Her current roles are as:
- Site Director for the AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C).
- Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Art and Design
- Co-Programme lead for the University’s accredited Community of Practice for Doctoral Supervision programme
- Co-leader of the Art Activisms research cluster in Art and Design
Sian is currently:
- Research Degree Coordinator for Art & Design
- M4C Site Director
- A PhD Supervisor
- A mentor and assessor for Birmingham City University’s UKPSF professional recognition scheme
PhD “Defining Roles: the work of the Public Art Commissions Agency (PACA) 1987-1999” (2007)
M.Ed Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (2012)
MA History of Art and Design (1997)
- Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
- Society for Research into Higher Education
- Research training
- Public Art
- Museum and archive studies
Areas of expertise:
- Creative practice and archives
- Public art and arts organisations
- Research training
- Doctoral supervision
As Reader in Research Practice, Sian’s research interests concern the pedagogies that underpin research in art and design, and the modalities of interpretation and mediation of public engagement with contemporary art. She co-leads the Art Activisms research cluster in Art and Design with Prof Anthony Downey.
Her art research focuses on artistic practices with archives, history, and institutions with a particular focus on creative research methods as knowledge generation. Her educational research is focused on the practices and pedagogies of doctoral education and particularly in how these are responding to creative practice in research.
She enjoys working collaboratively and across disciplines and has disseminated her work widely through peer-reviewed chapters, journal articles and conference presentations in the fields of public art, museum studies, archives and education.
Sian is interested in supervising doctoral researchers in the fields of public art, archives and galleries, artistic research, and doctoral education.
She is currently Director of Studies for three PhDs and a supervisor for a further four PhDs in the following areas:
- Archives & contemporaneity: critical and curatorial responses to working with dispersed and ephemeral histories
- Figuring the materiality of algorithms: the undecidable iterations of digital art practices
- From re-construction to co-production: the past and present authorship of participatory art exhibitions.
- Performing on the surface of school, pedagogic art practice and the re-imaging of education
- The re‐imagination of Peranakan objects
- The role of the artist-run space play in addressing and forming publics
- The visual arts in urban regeneration: a comparative analysis of Birmingham and Liverpool
Previous successful doctoral researchers have studied:
- The educational significance of the Shanghai Biennale
- Corporeal connections in contemporary landscapes
- The visual culture of guai in China from 1949 to 1978
- Installation Art and Women’s Issues in Saudi Arabia
- The Poetic Mechanics of Erasure: Practicing the Minor Politics of Sound
- Graphic DNA: Tracing urban developments through environmental lettering
Chapters, Essays and Books since 2013
2020 “Confidence in Practice: positioning institutional and individual creative research as para-academic”in C. Rito & B. Balaskas (eds), Institution as Praxis: new curatorial directions for collaborative research, Berlin: Sternberg Press, [ISBN: 978-3956795060] pp200-213
2019 G. Hill & S. Vaughan (eds) Ten ways to investigate research supervision, SEDA Special 43, London: SEDA
2019 “Thinking Through Images and Metaphor” in G. Hill & S. Vaughan (eds) Ten ways to investigate research supervision, SEDA Special 43, London: SEDA, pp22-23
2019 “Art and sonic mining in the archives: methods for investigating the wartime history of Birmingham School of Art” in J. Crutchley, S. Parker & S. Roberts (eds) Sight, Sound and Text in the History of Education, London: Routledge, [ISBN: 9780367194710] pp75-90
2018 “Artists’ Methods in the Lace Archive” catalogue essay in A. Bracey & D. Maier (eds) Bummock: The Lace Archive, Waddington: FTB Press, ISBN 978-1-9998830-1-0, pp74-81
2016 “Reflecting on Practice: Artists’ Experiences in the Archives” in F. Foscarni, H. Macneil, G. Oliver & B. Mak (eds) Engaging with Archives and Records: Histories and Theories, London: Facet Publishing, pp.211-231 [ISBN: 9781783301584]
2016 J.Taylor & S.Vaughan “A Different Practice? Professional Identity and Doctoral Education in Art & Design” in V. Staley (ed) International Perspectives on Designing Professional Practice Doctorates: Applying the Critical Friends Approach to the EdD and Beyond, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.126-141 [ISBN: 978-1137527059]
2014 L.Hards, S.Vaughan & J. Williams 'Place-making and other purposes: public art on campus' in P.Temple (ed) The Physical University: Contours of space and place in higher education, Routledge International Studies in Higher Education series, Abingdon, pp.106-128 [ISBN: 978-0415662314]
2014 “The Art School, Society of Artists and the City”, catalogue essay in A Place for Art: the story of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham: RBSA, pp.39-44
2013 S. Vaughan & G. Williams “Student Engagement with Learning Resources in Art & Design: Seeding Possibilities” in C. Nygaard, S. Brand, P. Bartholomew & L. Millard (eds) Student Engagement Through Partnerships, The International Academic Association for the Enhancement of Learning in Higher Education (LiHE), Oxford: Libri Publishing, pp.17-34 [ISBN: 978-1907471650]
Journal articles since 2013
2019 Hill, G. & Vaughan, S. “Cirque du Research Supervision: New research approaches for research supervisor professional development”in Housten, G. & Halliday, D. (eds) 3rd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education & Training: Conference Proceedings, 77-90
2018 “Art and sonic mining in the archives: methods for investigating the wartime history of Birmingham School of Art”, History of Education, v.47, n.2, 225-240, DOI: 10.1080/0046760X.2017.1420244
2017 Hill, G. & Vaughan, S. “Conversations about research supervision – enabling and accrediting a Community of Practice model for research degree supervisor development”, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2017.1406388
2015 Taylor, J. & Vaughan, S. “The same but different: researching and enhancing PGR employability and experience in Art & Design”, Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership & Change, vol.1, no.2, pp.89-105 [ISSN: 2055-4990]
2015 Boultwood, A., Taylor, J. & Vaughan, S. “The Importance of Coffee: Peer Mentoring to support PGRs and ECRs in Art & Design” in: Vitae Occasional Papers volume 2: Research careers and cultures, CRAC, pp15-20 [ISBN: 9781906774509]
2013 “The Archive and Public Art: Archiving the Materialities of our times” in ‘Wet-Dry-thick-Thin (Getting Beyond the Raw and the Cooked’, Zetesis: Research generated by curiosity, vol. 1 no.2, November, pp49-57.
Conference Papers and Presentations since 2013
2020 “Becoming comfortable with the unknown: Supervising practice-based research as a non-practitioner”, Researcher Education and Development Scholarship conference, online, hosted by University of Leeds, October
2019 “Practice Research: tensions, challenges and opportunities in doctoral education” (with O. Carter), Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, Birmingham, September
2019 “Birmingham School of Art: Ruskin’s influence on its past, present and future”,Celebrating Imperfection: John Ruskin and the Creative Arts in the 21st Century, Birmingham, May
2018 “Uncomfortable truths and dislocated communities in changing times: barriers, bridges and hierarchies between researcher developer, PGR and supervisor communities” (with J. Taylor) SRHE International Annual Conference, Newport, December
2018 “Bummock for Bummock’s Sake? Investigating the how and why of artists’ research practices in archives” Rethinking the Past: International Conference Memory / Archive / Document - Arts and Architecture, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (Portugal), November
2018 What is Research? The Midlands Higher Education & Culture Forum, Nottingham, October
2018 “Dislocated communities? Bringing together researcher developer, PGR and supervisor communities” (with J. Taylor) UKCGE Annual Conference, Bristol, July
2018 “Artists working in/with Archives” Bummock: The Lace Archive Symposium, Backlit Gallery, Nottingham, January
2017 “Metaphors and images as tools in doctoral supervision” (with E. Miller) SRHE Annual Research Conference, Newport, December.
2017 “Changing Supervisory Practices - a case for transformative inquiry” (with G. Hill) SRHE Annual Research Conference, Newport, December.
2017 “Cirque du research supervision: new approaches for research supervisor professional development” (with G. Hill) 3rd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education, Stratford-upon-Avon, April.
2016 “Troubling conversations around research supervision: what do supervisors bring to and want from supervisor development?” (with G. Hill), SRHE Annual Research Conference, Newport, December.
2016 “Conversations about research supervision – enabling and accrediting a Community of Practice model for research degree supervisor development” (with G. Hill) 21st Annual SEDA Conference Surviving and Thriving - Effective Innovation and Collaboration in the New Higher Education, Brighton, November.
2016 “Towards a Community of Practice – enabling conversations about research supervision” (with G. Hill) UKCGE Annual Conference, Liverpool, July.
2016 “Towards a Community of Practice – enabling conversations about research supervision in ADM” (with G. Hill) Pedagogy, Practice, Politics and Policy: Where to next in teaching, learning and research in education? CSPACE Annual Conference, Birmingham, July
2016 “Talking practice: the dialogic route to Senior Fellowship” (with S. Murphy) UKPSF Network Conference, Birmingham, May.
2015 “Practice-led research as changing practice: aspiration and identity in doctoral education” (with J. Taylor) SRHE Annual Research Conference, Newport, December.
2015 “Archivists vs. game designers? Creative collaborations and the making of archival games” (with N. Webber) RLUK Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities Conference (DCDC15), Manchester, October
2015 “Reflecting on practice: artists’ experiences in the archives”, ICHORA7: Engaging with Archives and Records: Histories and Theories, Amsterdam, July.
2015 “Cake and conversations in the studio: difference and community in Arts & Humanities doctoral praxis”, (with J. Taylor), United Kingdom Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) Annual Conference, Glasgow, July.
2015 “Placemaking – Public Art on Campus”, Curating the Campus symposium, University of Leeds, Leeds, June.
2015 “Community amongst misfits: the role of peers in Art & Design research”, (with J. Taylor, poster presentation), 2nd International Conference in Developments in Doctoral Education and Training (ICDDET), Oxford, March.
2014 “The collaborative implications of Art & Design research mentoring”, (with A. Boultwood & J. Taylor), International Journal of Art and Design annual conference, Liverpool, October
2014 “Peer Mentoring to Support Career Development” (workshop with A. Boultwood & J. Taylor), Vitae Researcher Development International Conference, Manchester, September
2014 “Creative Identity and Belonging in the Academe: the doctoral research experience in Art & Design” (with J. Taylor) IAFOR European Conference on Education: Transforming and Changing Education: Borderlands of Becoming and Belonging, Brighton, July
2014 “Glamour and curse: understanding shapeshifting and creative identity in Art and Design doctoral students” (with Dr J. Taylor), Higher Education Academy Arts & Humanities conference, Heroes and Monsters: extra- ordinary tales of learning and teaching, Manchester, June
2014 “Universities and Public Art”, CHES Seminar, Institute of Education, London, May