REF and ERA both assess filmmaking outputs but as an evolving area there can be inconsistencies at institutional level. The FRN will involve research managers in our activities in order to improve understanding of practice-based research more widely and how this research meets criteria through providing best practice case studies. Another issue, that of research data management and its ability to capture practice must also be explored.
There are different types of outputs and of genres related to filmmaking research. In attempting to categorise these we have distinguished between modes and methods of production, though we accept that many practitioners are working across genres and formats. We have at this stage identified seven modes of filmmaking production:
digital media hybrid works
The FRN will be gathering methodological examples which have successfully employed filmmaking as a research method. Filmmaking as a research method is rising in popularity and it permits researcher to focus on practice-led, practice-based and creative practice research – where films are created as research outputs in any genre. Through FRN we hope to identity methodologies that are being used by filmmaking researchers, for example these might include qualitative methodologies like action research, participatory action research or auto-ethnography or they might include creative practice methodologies like performativity or reflective practice.
We will explore and document the range of methods used to disseminate filmmaking research, both the creative artifacts and associated writing. An important and developing issue will be the impact of open access on film dissemination. Another is the interface between academia and the film and arts industry. At present, many films produced in academia attempt to fit within industry models that are largely hostile to the characteristics of academic research outputs. Finding an audience for academic research outputs depends upon identifying and locating niche audiences and strategies to reach those audiences. There is an appetite for films produced within the academia as evidenced by a number of examples, which tend to piggyback on existing niche audiences or certain kind of events. An aim of FRN is to provide examples of these through best practice case studies and through involving industry partners in our discussions to offer innovative and alternative models of dissemination for filmmaking research.
In the area of practice as research and practice-based research there is a perceived lack of capacity for peer review, critical friends, PHD examination, research funding panels, professorial appointments etc. The FRN will explore why this is the case and what can be done to improve capacity.