Shannon asked me to keep track of the "moments of disjointedness" I came across as an engineering (education) student in an art and design (research methods) class, so here's the starter list:
- IRB. "Wait. Not only do you not do IRB, you don't even know what it is?" (Not Shannon - she trained as a sociologist. I meant the art/design students.)
- How we describe ourselves. We had to write artist/designer statements for ourselves and for somebody else. An artist/designer statement by an artist or designer reads sort of like... philosophy. An engineer's "artist/designer statement" reads like a resume parsed as a technical specification. (There's another engineering education student in the class.)
- What we need to justify. I showed Shannon the abstract I was working on and braced for questions on my (fuzzy and emergent) methodology - but she took one look and nodded - "ah yes, grounded theory!" - and said it looked good. "Wait. You... didn't ask me to justify this? It looks okay? But it-" ...is much more normal to be things-other-than-positivist in social science research. Yes. Forgot about that.
- Thesis work. Art and engineering students tend to produce their Masters' theses in two parts: a Thing and a Paper. In Engineering,the Paper is about the Thing. It describes the Thing, how made the Thing, how the thing Works. The Paper About The Thing is the Thesis. In contrast, art students are specifically not supposed to write their Paper about their Thing. They are not to explain their Thing. Instead, the Paper is a separate work that complements the Thing - I am not sure what that means yet - and the two together form the Thesis. I... am still trying to figure this one out. And don't even ask me what a PhD in art looks like!
There are, I realize, huge differences between art and design - I'm not yet attuned to what those differences are (Shannon explained a few to me - department cultures, the objective/subjective balance in their work, individual vs collective shows, and so forth). So that's something for more exploration later.