HSS8121: Something I wanted to say a long time ago
May 5th, 2016 by Red Lion

Perhaps it’s an educational convention of Chinese students that we do not like to state all of our opinions in class, especially critical thoughts. I have something to say about what I have learned in HSS8121 Enterprise and Research Methods a long time ago, before I went home for Easter break, but have not found an appropriate time to do so. I guess now I can say stuff since the module is finished. (What? That doesn’t make sense *eyeroll*)

Although both of my parents are academics, they do science not arts or humanities. It’s been ages that I have been thinking that doing research is all about doing experiments and getting data and making analysis. When I chose to study arts in undergraduate (I used to be a science student in high school, playing around with physics, chemistry and biology), my mum said, “Right, now we can’t help you anymore because we only know science. You’ll need to find out how to be an academic in arts by yourself, and how to do art and design research.”

Chinese people tend to discriminate against arts and humanities because they think science is much more useful. I can understand this because we are living in a developing country. And I’ll have to admit that art and design research in China is relatively poor (which was why I chose to do my Masters somewhere else). The school in which I did my undergraduate does not have any PhD programmes related to art and design. They only have programmes for architecture and landscape and urban planning. I have looked up some information about art PhD programmes in China and most of them are related to art history, traditional Chinese arts and crafts or whatsoever. Very theoretical stuff.

I was kind of surprised about what UK art PhD students are doing here. They are making stuff, and are encouraged to make stuff. And they call it Practice-Based Research or Research Through Design. Analysing your own design can be research. We can even learn from the process of creating a failure. And the PhD students here are exhibiting their works everywhere.

Why, isn’t this just like science experiments? The different thing is just that science is analysing nature, art is analysing people and ourselves. While Chinese art PhD students are burying themselves in thousands of books, UK PhD students are making things that never existed. Of course I don’t mean that reading is not important (I like reading), but academics in my home country should really change their stereotypes on art students and be aware that art is not just reading literature and analysing works of people from the past, but making and analysing what you made by yourself.

There’s also something I’m quite angry about…some artists here are doing a PhD to, guess what, pay for their bills! Because they get scholarship to do research and they can spare money to pay the bills!! This is just so ridiculous to me!! If I want to do a PhD I have to pay tonnes of tuition fee, even if it’s in my home country! :(:(:(

And finally I want to say that I love ethnographic study. It’s totally fun observing people doing things, totally fun to find what people from different age groups, gender groups or cultural backgrounds would react differently to the same situation. Results are always surprising! PS. One reason why I like to watch prankster videos is that, I ┬ádon’t think it’s the prank, but the funny and unexpected reactions of the person being pranked that makes me laugh so hard *LOL* Does that count as ethnographic study anyway *LOLLOL*

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