Reader in Research Practice
Dr Sian Vaughan is Reader in Research Practice with expertise in doctoral education and creative research methods. She is Director of Research for RAAD – research in art, architecture, and design (REF UoA32) where she provides strategic leadership, coordination, and care for a growing community of researchers.
As Reader in Research Practice, Sian’s research focuses on research practices and cultures and on the pedagogies that underpin research in art and design. She explores artistic practices with archives, history, and institutions with a particular focus on creative research methods as knowledge generation. Her educational research has focused on the practices and pedagogies of doctoral education and how these are responding to creative practice in research. She is currently expanding this as a critical lens to consider research cultures and researcher development for practice research.
She has previously worked in museums, galleries, and archives as well as teaching in further and higher education. 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.
Areas of Expertise
- Creative practice and archives
- Arts organisations
- Practice research
- Doctoral education
- 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)
- AHRC Peer Review College member
- Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
- Society for Research into Higher Education member
- PhD Art and Design
- MA Art and Design – Interdisciplinary Practices
- MA Arts and Project Management
- MA Arts and Education Practices
- MA Contemporary Arts China
- MA Fine Art
- BA Fine Art
- Artistic practices with archives, history, and institutions
- Creative research methods as knowledge generation
- Practices and pedagogies of doctoral education
- Research practices and cultures
She is currently Director of Studies for three PhDs and a supervisor for a further four PhDs in the following areas:
- Editing The Commonplace Film: The Incision of Gesture, Signature and Inscription in Essay Filmmaking
- foldingMUSEUMCAMERA: mapping the museum-object as encounter
- From re-construction to co-production: the past and present authorship of participatory art exhibitions
- Instituting with Care: how might art institutions care well?
- Representing the haunted industrial estates of the Black Country; exploring the legacy of Wolverhampton’s manufacturing industry to make visible its contemporary industrial landscape and community
- Revealing George Shaw: a practice-based study into photography in Birmingham c.1839-1865
- The 'lost' Peranakan Reimagined: Creating new interpretations of lost Peranakan objects through contemporary artistic reimagination
Previous successful doctoral researchers have studied:
- Corporeal connections in contemporary landscapes
- Graphic DNA: Tracing urban developments through environmental lettering
- Installation Art and Women’s Issues in Saudi Arabia
- Performing on the surface of school, pedagogic art practice and the re-imaging of education
- Possibilities of an archive for New Contemporaries, or archives in contemporaneity
- The educational significance of the Shanghai Biennale
- The Poetic Mechanics of Erasure: Practicing the Minor Politics of Sound
- The visual culture of guai in China from 1949 to 1978
Chapters, Essays and Books since 2013
2022 “Musings on the Place of a Space for an Archive Encounter” catalogue essay in A. Bracey & D. Maier (eds) Bummock: Tennyson Research Centre, Waddington: FTB Press, pp.86-97
2021 “Understanding Doctoral Communities in Practice-Based Research” in C. Vear, L. Candy & E. Edmonds (eds) The Routledge International Handbook of Practice-based Research, London: Routledge, pp.122-138
2021 “Community-building for Practice-based Doctoral Researchers: Mapping Key Dimensions for Creating Flexible Frameworks” in C. Vear, L. Candy & E. Edmonds (eds) The Routledge International Handbook of Practice-based Research, London: Routledge, pp.544-554
2021 S. Vaughan & G. Hill, “Blending online and offline in a Community of Practice model for research degree supervisor development” in J. Sheldon & V. Sheppard (eds) Online Communities for PhD Researchers: Building Engagement with Social Media, London: Routledge, pp.95-109
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, pp.200-213
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, pp.22-23
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 pp.75-90
2018 “Artists’ Methods in the Lace Archive” catalogue essay in A. Bracey & D. Maier (eds) Bummock: The Lace Archive, Waddington: FTB Press, pp.74-81
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
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
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
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
Journal articles since 2013
2021 “Practice submissions – are doctoral regulations and policies responding to the needs of creative practice?”, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, v.26 n.3, pp.333-352
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, pp.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, pp.225-240
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, v.55 n.2, pp.153-163
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, v.1, n.2, pp.89-105
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, pp.15-20
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, v.1 n.2, pp.49-57
Conference Papers and Presentations since 2013
2022 “Community in practice - necessary dialogues for doctoral education in art and design”, Belonging: Dialogues for a culturally responsive art and design curriculum - International Journal of Art and Design Education conference, online, hosted by University of Chester, November
2022 “Supporting the jugglers: the challenges and barriers for academics in creative disciplines becoming research active”, 8th Annual Researcher Education and Development Scholarship conference, online, hosted by University of Leeds, October
2022 co-convenor “History and memory: the contemporary artist as archivist” panel at the Association for Art History Conference, online, April
2022 “Transitioning with practice: supervising doctoral creative practice as a non-practitioner”, 8th Biennial Postgraduate Supervision Conference, online, hosted by Stellenbosch University, South Africa, March
2021 “Learning from practice: maintaining practice-based doctoral research remotely” SRHE International Annual Conference, online, December
2021 “Disrupting the Doctorate: Building a Postgraduate Research Culture” (with J. Taylor and O. Carter) Researcher Education and Development Scholarship conference, online, hosted by University of Leeds, October
2021 “Making Doctoral Supervisor Development Meaningful – engaging in conversations”, 7th International Academic Identities Conference, online, hosted by Roskilde University, Denmark June
2021 “Practice submissions – flexing the doctoral regulations”, 7th International Conference on Professional & Practice-Based Doctorates, online, hosted by UKCGE, February
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
A full list of earlier publications and conference contributions is available via Academia Edu