===NOTES ON WRITING A THESIS - THESIS FORMAT - DEADLINES AND COPIES TO BE SUBMITTED===
DEADLINE = 8 JUNE (if you miss this deadline you will have to resubmit at the benginning of September)
NUMBER OF COPIES = 3 HARD COPY (2 IN COLOUR) + 1 DIGITAL VERSION
TITLE PAGE TEMPLATE =
The written thesis is a crucial part of any Master Project and needs to be carefully planned from the start. What follows are some notes to guide you in the construction of your thesis, according to a chosen format. Make use of the guidance available in other informational documents – including the PZI Programme Handbook and the PZI Proposal Guide.
I. THESIS AIMS
The main purpose of the thesis is to articulate in writing issues, questions and ideas that inform or shape your practice.
Think of the thesis, regardless of what form it takes, as a parallel activity to the body of work you are developing for your graduation – a parallel text supported by images. The thesis can combine different kinds of discourse, each of which may have different, yet overlapping, functions (see examples under “Thesis Formats” below). With your writing tutor, you will establish which form of writing is most appropriate for your practice, develop a relationship between writing and practice, and learn to consider your writing as an integral part of your practice, as a medium of reflection and production.
II. THESIS Formats
The written thesis is produced in parallel to a Graduate project. It is meant to demonstrate your ability to articulate aesthetic and critical issues that emerge from your practice, as well as historical and theoretical contexts that you are responding to and are aiming to shape. The horizon of the written thesis, like the Graduate project you exhibit as a requirement for graduation, is that it is suitable for publication (i.e. to be read by professionals, peers, and a broader public). The role of the written thesis in relation to exhibited Graduate Project may vary:
1) It can take the form of a report on practice and research. Here, "research" has an open definition, but one that you must be able to articulate clearly. It will be presented alongside a body of work that is directly addressed in the report.
2) It can take the form of an analytical essay exploring related artistic, theoretical, historical and critical issues and practices that inform your practice, without necessarily referring to your work directly. The essay will, however, be evaluated against the exhibited body of work, and you will be asked to articulate in the Project Proposal and in the final assessment how your written thesis informs the aesthetic, theoretical and technical choices in your body of work.
3) The presentation of a text as a body of work is possible, but requires close consultation with your advising tutors and your writing tutors. With this option, you will have to establish whether your Graduate Project and thesis are one and the same, or whether they form two distinct components. The form that your text may take is more open, but you are required to demonstrate research, as well as critical and theoretical mastery of the concepts that inform the choice of form.
4) A combination of options 1), 2) or 3) is also possible, in which case the text as body of work is distinct from the part that constitutes a report or an analytical essay. In this case, the roles of the different textual materials comprising your thesis should be clearly articulated in your Project Proposal.
Examples of what the different formats could include, are:
• a descriptive account of developing ideas, processes and products, along with an analytical critique of your work and its formative processes • a narrative that traces a web of relationships – contextualizing your work in relation to other practitioners, practices and artworks, situating your work within relevant theoretical, philosophical, aesthetic and other fields of knowledge • an in-depth reflection on an artistic, literary, historical, critical or other practice which is inspirational to your own • a more creative or poetic discourse that that may be analogous to, or have structural affinities with, your body of work – shedding light on the themes, methods and visual signs that you have been exploring • a series of diagrams, tables and visualizations charting the progress of ideas and forms using textual alongside other material • a piece of artistic writing experimenting with formats of creative writing, authorship or publishing
III. THESIS REQUIREMENTS
The thesis presented as part requirement for the award of the Master of Media Design and Communication degree is normally equivalent to not fewer than 7,000 words and not more than 8,000 words. In the case that you choose to combine your Graduate Project and thesis, meaning your entire Graduate Project is text-based, the number of words appropriate to your writing will have to be determined with the Course Director, your advising tutors and your writing tutor.
With the report on practice and research (option 1) you are required:
• to provide an analytical account of the development of your work (thinking processes as well as material processes) in relation to the aims and objectives identified in your Project Proposal • to locate your work in relation to appropriate contexts (for example: relevant theories, ideas, historical and/or contemporary art and design practices) • to evaluate critically your body of work as a whole, against clearly formulated criteria
With the analytical essay (option 2) the requirements are very similar:
• to provide an analytical account of the development of artistic practice, theoretical, historical or cultural phenomena (thinking processes as well as material processes) in relation to the aims and objectives identified in your Graduate Project Proposal • to create appropriate contexts for your practice (for example by writing about relevant theories, ideas, historical or contemporary art and design practices) • to evaluate critically your body of work as a whole, against clearly formulated criteria
With the text as a body of work (option 3) the requirements are again somewhat similar:
• to demonstrate, by way of your artistic or experimental writing, an analytical approach to the development of artistic practice, theoretical, historical or cultural phenomena (thinking processes as well as material processes) in relation to the aims and objectives identified in your Project Proposal • to create appropriate contexts for your practice (for example by supplementing your work with an experimental form of writing which develops relevant theories, ideas, historical or contemporary art and design practices) • to evaluate critically your body of work as a whole, against clearly formulated criteria
However, you will need to provide a preface or appendix if your approach does not perform the above.