Doctoral Program

Ⅱ. Program Overview and Basic Philosophy

1. Scope of the Program

The Practice-Based Doctoral Program in the Artsis designed for graduate courses characterized by artistic work in Fine Arts (Japanese painting, oil painting, sculpture, crafts, design, architecture, intermedia art, and conservation),Music (composition, vocal music, keyboards, strings, wind instruments, percussion, chamber music, early music, conducting, and traditional Japanese music), and all Film and New Media courses. However, the program does not apply to courses that are theoretical in nature, namely, esthetics, art history, art and education, artistic anatomy, architectural theory, and conservation science of cultural properties as well as musicology, music education, solfege, applied musicology, literature in music, creativity in music and sound, and creativity in arts and the environment.

2. Fundamental Principles

In the practice-based doctoral program, artistic and research activities are both considered as dissertation research if they are interconnected and evaluated in an integrated fashion. As such, the research lends support to the practice of artistic creativity and promotes artistic expression, whereas the actual artistic practice is the source for research inquiries and the artistic work or performance is the final result of such inquiries.

3. Objectives

The goal of the practice-based doctoral program is to produce artistic leaders in the global information society of the twenty-first century. On completion of the program, the artists will have the highest level of technical and expressive capabilities as well as the ability to articulate and communicate the uniqueness of their creative practices in historical and social contexts.

4. Dissertation Research

In the practice-based doctoral program, dissertation research comprises artistic practices and academic research that complement each other.

Studies in the field of the arts developed on the basis of historical, theoretical, and philosophical methodology between the nineteenth and early twentieth century. As was the case in other academic studies at the time, these studies initially placed an emphasis on establishing scholarly systems for a particular field. Studies typically began with a thorough analysis of previous research (to find a research subject worthy of discussion), followed by pertinent investigations and observations.

On the other hand, practice-based research regards investigations and observations as the means to find answers to issues while engaging in artistic practices. Applied and practical research has now become rather popular in the academic world as a means of providing practical solutions for current issues related to the environment, government policy, and disaster preparedness. Practice-based research can be viewed as a form of this type of applied scholarship. The terms “practice as research” and “ practice-led research ” are also used in the context of artistic research, but there is no significant difference in the perspective signified by these terms.

Generally, in the process of practice-based research, it is important to review one’s artistic practice and articulate its crucial elements or find issues to enhance. Nevertheless, even though artistic practice is emphasized, students should focus on balancing artistic practice and academic research. In other words, new findings must be presented with reference to predecessors ’ accomplishments, and proper methodology must be applied. The practice-based research dissertation is NOT meant to be a non-critical description of the intention of one’s artistic work or a literary interpretation of the artistic work itself.

The following are conceivable examples:

  • Discussion of the creative process regarding one’s unique artistic expression
  • Verbalization and contextualization of the ideas that are central to one’s art or performance
  • Critical discussion of the knowledge gained from one’s artistic practice
  • Academic investigation of issues derived from one’s daily practice

In other words, in the dissertation research for this program, students are expected to formulate inquiries into a particular research question, which is derived from their own artistic practice, and attempt to resolve the question through some type of critical examination while engaging in their practice.

Practice-based research differs from classical arts research in that ideas and awareness of issues are found within the artistic practice. Moreover, the knowledge produced by such research is directly linked to quality enhancement of artistic creations. Therefore, the important issues are the extent to which the questions encountered while practicing art can be externalized and the new knowledge manifested in the research can contribute toward enhancing artistic outcomes such as works of art or musical performances.