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SHARE Case Studies
Over the ERASMUS-funded phase of the SHARE network, a series of site visits were made to several cities in Europe, where case studies were conducted for the purpose of (i) investigating the state of development of the debate on the third cycle and (ii) identifying the potentials present for developing the third cycle. These visits were conducted by the editors, Mick Wilson and Schelte van Ruiten, and typically entailed two days of discussion with institutions of higher arts education, in conjunction with visits to specific infrastructural and research education resources. This material is presented here by way of indicating the wide differences in the level of development of the third cycle across Europe and by way of demonstrating that there will not be a standard development pathway for the implementation of doctoral education in the arts. The cities selected were based on geographical spread (North, South, East, West) and an attempt to explore a wide range of scenarios (from situations where the second cycle in arts education was still in development to sites where there was an established history of doctoral education in the arts).
In each site, an agenda for the dialogue was configured, according to the specifics of the site and the relative level of development of third-cycle activity. There was a third purpose to these visits which was essentially (iii) to promote greater connectivity between doctoral educators in the arts across Europe and to provide advocacy support through informal information-sharing across the different case-study sites. Presented here is a series of short summaries from each case study, grouped according to the relative level of development of the third cycle in each case.
Informal, semi-structured interviews were conducted, in a bid to elicit full and frank disclosure of the operational realities, policy challenges and wider cultural politics of each context. This convivial modus operandi was selected in favour of a formal social scientific method in order to engender a more authentic approach to dialogue and in keeping with SHARE’s remit as a developmental networking initiative. Each session began with an indication of our broad advocacy role and an assurance that dialogue partners would have editorial input into the final case-study write-ups, thereby attempting to place them at their ease. It was indicated that this way of working had been adopted with a view to releasing participants from any perceived obligation to downplay local challenges out of loyalty to colleagues and employers, by assuring them that the material made public as part of this process would not in any way present institutions or colleagues in a negative light. We reiterated that our purpose was advocacy for, and stimulus of, the building of doctoral-level studies, as part of a networking infrastructure rather than a formal research project as such. However, it was indicated that, within the informal knowledge exchange of the network, the information shared would be invaluable, enabling us to build a clear sense of what is really happening on the ground at the intersection between policy change, institutional strategy, actual teaching practices and individual researchers.
For each case-study visit, an agenda was proposed, and, wherever possible, an attempt was made to convene meetings on site (i.e. within the immediate research environment in which doctoral education took place or, in the absence of doctoral level activity, where masters education took place). In some instances, meetings were convened in such a way as to bring institutions based in one city together in the dialogue, so that our site visits could support local exchange and interaction and not simply service our own agenda. In all, eight case-study visits were conducted (see list below); provided here are four examples in the form of extracts from the case-study reports. Click name of city to download the PDF report.