- Theory – descriptive/analytical: history of illustrated fiction, describing the phenomenon with a typology of devices and taxonomy of their functions, which would lead to;
- Practice – speculative/experimental: a series of workshops and projects exploring the potentials for this way of working to affect the reading experience.
I'll come back to this later, it's obviously inadequate.
I have always described the research as practice-led (I identified an issue in practice - while working as a book designer I noticed novels with images in them appearing more frequently but could find little written about this). I have described some of my methods as practice-led (the current exhibition of books experimenting with different typo/graphic devices, the mapping investigations and courses with both writers and designers I'm running at UTS and through the NSW Writer's Centre). I have always intended to mount my argument as piece of visual communication design - arguing that word and image combine to communicate something unique in words alone is illogical.
But for some reason, none of these elements seemed 'enough' to constitute a practice-led research degree. Is this because what I'm doing is so ingrained, so logical to me as a designer, that I don't think of it as design? Or because, as a print designer, my work looks like the research process anyway (working on paper as opposed to, say, a furniture designer making a chair)? My favourite question when I tell people I'm undertaking a practice-led doctorate is "what percentage is going to be practice?" Well, clearly if a drawing is worth a thousand words, so if I did 80 drawings I wouldn't have to write any words at all.... How is it possible to put a percentage value on practice? Is a table worth more than a chair? If the book I'm designing is the thesis itself, how do I 'count' what I've designed?