DAP_r (Design and Architecture Practice Research) was an inter-institutional research project examining and mobilising a practice-based approach to doctoral research and training in design and architecture.
A collaboration of 14 Australian universities led by RMIT University, the Commonwealth-funded project was active in 2016 and 2017, bringing together partners from across disciplines to explore the applicability of the model in varied institutional contexts, develop allied supervisory resources, and capitalise on nascent pedagogical scholarship.
Internationally, architecture and design disciplines have a practice-gap in postgraduate training. The doctoral model explored by DAP_r responds to this gap, building on three decades of work by the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University. The model involves the production of new works during the PhD, and the placement of this work in a broader disciplinary context. Candidates examine and document methods and techniques of practice, and thus the research examines and transforms the practice within which it is situated.
This model is aligned with core teaching and learning components of design and architecture programs in Australia, and provides a radically new way of connecting the academy with practitioners in venturous practice.
The DAP_r Project drew together 40 individual academic partners from 14 geographically dispersed Australian universities currently undertaking or exploring creative practice research in architecture and design disciplines. DAP_r partner institutions have extensive track records in design education linked to professions and creative practice. This strength, coupled with significant mobility and collaboration between institutions, provided an excellent platform to further develop and expand a shared approach to design practice PhDs.
The DAP_r project was centred around the twice annual Practice Research Symposia (PRS) at RMIT Melbourne. The PRS is a semi-public event that represents a coming together of the academy and industry over common research, beginning with examinations of completing candidates and continuing with milestone and in-progress presentations. In 2016 and 2017, DAP_r partners fully participated in the PRS. In addition, the project staged a series of exhibition and symposium events around the country, exploring and showcasing varying approaches to and challenges within creative practice research. Other core project outcomes were a web resource, the Practice Research Portal; and academic research exploring evidence of impact and pedagogical innovation through practice-based research.
DAP_r was an active funded project in 2016 and 2017. While the project is formally completed, the partnership and discourse remains active. This website documents the core outcomes of the DAP_r project, providing a resource for future research and development.