Starting a creative practice PhD
When I started my first module with Open College of the Arts, I hadn’t even committed to a Undergraduate degree let alone considered the possibilities of going on to study at master’s or PhD level, but here I am! My journey still amazes me.
My time studying with OCA allowed me to start believing in myself giving me the opportunity to fully explore materials and techniques that lead eventually to a very research-based approach to my practice.
Over the last few years my work has explored forensic anthropology and identity after atrocity. During my degree I focused my research around the Bosnian genocide at Srebrenica and continued to explore loss and identity into my MFA at Oxford Brookes University. Having now finished my MFA I still feel that my research in not fully complete and I have also really enjoyed the research aspect of my practice, so I have decided to continue studying with a PhD.
Applying for a PhD can be a daunting process. You need to show clear evidence that your research is new and has not been explored before. A PhD is a self-driven undertaking so you also need to plan and show how you will approach your research including what your sources of information are likely to be and what your methodologies (working processes) are likely to be. I submitted my application in November last year, it was accepted, and I have just started at Oxford Brookes University.
My current working title is:
Can a Creative Practice Methodology be Devised that will Satisfactorily Articulate a Sense of Individuality from Unidentified Human Remains?
My initial research will explore a statement by Interpol that was made in 1996 declaring that “…human beings have the right not to lose their identities after death…”. From a forensic investigation point of view this is not always possible so can artistic practice individualize human remains to give dignity and acknowledgement to their existence? What even is identity within a forensic context? It is not what we think it is on first consideration. Our DNA relies on a comparative sample and so do our fingerprints. Our face relies on others to identify us and we do not always die with identifying documents.
There are currently 564 unidentified human remains within the UK alone the oldest unsolved case is from 1966. For most of us the idea of dying alone is awful but not for everyone so how does this statistic sit with us?
I will do my PhD part-time along-side working and will be studying for another 6 years. I am daunted but also extremely excited!