In March 2015, the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) conducted a three-day symposium in Melbourne entitled “The Outstanding Field: Artistic Research Emerging from the Academy”.1 This symposium, organised and chaired by Barbara Bolt, the Associate Director of Research and Research Training at the Victorian College of Art and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and a Studio Research Board Member, presented a showcase of twenty-six exemplary Australian and New Zealand practice-led PhD projects from the past decade. A full spectrum of creative arts research was included in the selection: visual art, film, design, dance, and music. The aim of the symposium to showcase quality through the breadth of the sample naturally emphasised individual excellence, and, unsurprisingly, no single methodology or approach emerged as dominant. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see that the number of research projects engaged with science and technology equalled those affiliated with, or critically connected to, philosophy, cultural studies, or the humanities more generally.
This issue of Studio Research similarly eschews thematic or methodological coherence by including five very different papers.