Our guest blogger is Siân Lund from the Royal College of Art PG Art and Design college in the UK. She has been the EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Coordinator for almost 6 years. She has a background in language education and is passionate about exploring diversity in communication with a special interest in acculturation processes. At the RCA she is responsible for providing Academic Literacies support for all students at MA and Doctoral level as well as promoting pedagogic strategies for enhancing learning.
By Siân Lund
While building up support in academic literacies skills for our students, I was struck by distinct epistemologies of Art and Design disciplines and how this impacts on the way students develop their research and writing. Through interviews with staff, I recognised the importance of a reflective process of enquiry underpinning the research process in these fields. Tutors often expect the students’ experiences, inspirations and reflections to become part of the writing with individual perspectives and interpretations. Combining this creative and often very personal approach with more conventional and critically objective elements of academic writing has caused difficulties for many students. We are often asked ‘how can I combine my individual journey and voice with criticality and academic writing?’ At the risk of opening a huge can of worms here around terminology, I am thinking of ‘objective discussion’ as a genre along a spectrum of ‘academic writing’. Sometimes a tutor’s conversation with students which involves encouragement to use personal perspectives, narratives and a creative approach in the writing process can lead to a struggle for students to combine these elements with critical, more objective discussion.
Not wanting to go down the rabbit hole of exploring what researching and writing in an Art and Design context might mean, it feels necessary to set this context for the annotated bibliography that I am including here.