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TUT Arts Lecturer Reflects on Doctoral Journey

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TUT Arts Lecturer Reflects on Doctoral Journey

Mienke Fouché, one of the newest doctors at the Faculty of Arts and Design, says it is challenging to begin postgraduate study, but the personal growth you undergo is immeasurable. The year-long journey Mienke took to become a doctoral candidate at TUT was shared during one of the university’s autumn graduation ceremonies on April 25.

A TUT autumn graduation ceremony saw Dr Mienke Fouché receive her doctorate in the Department of Performing Arts.

TUT Arts Lecturer Reflects on Doctoral Journey

Tell Us More About Your Career So Far

Currently, I am lecturing in the Technical Theatre stream of the Department of Performing Arts for the seventh year.For students in the performing arts industry, I teach prop-making, set design, and management modules.

What Is the Title of Your PhD Dissertation?

How A Pragmatic Technician’s Model Explains Anthropomorphizing Operated Performing Objects.

Who Was Your Supervisor/S?

Performing Arts Associate Professor Janine Lewis was my supervisor and Dr Laetitia Orlandi was my co-supervisor (Section Head: Performing Arts).

How Important Is It on This Journey to Select the Right Supervisor/S and Have a Good Relationship With Him/Her?

Taking care of this is extremely important! You need a supervisor who will influence the development of your study and ensure that you remain stable as a researcher throughout the process. Developing a good relationship with them helps you engage with the content and grows you as a researcher by helping you to develop your own ideas and giving you the space to express them. Furthermore, strong relationships provide psychological grounding, which can be crucial during such a process.

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Shortly Explain the Major Findings/Discoveries Made as Part of Your Study and How They Contribute to the Current Body of Knowledge in This Field

An approach to character generation in remote machine performers was developed from the technician’s perspective in this study. The research formalized the approach of artist and theatre maker William Kentridge toward creating machine performers. Performing arts as a field gain a new perspective on a subtype of performing objects that has not been extensively studied. Moreover, technicians can use this model to create convincing performances from machines.

What Advice Do You Have for Fellow Staff Members Who Are Busy With Their Doctoral Studies or Are Contemplating Such Studies?

Your topic should be something you are passionate about and that you are motivated to engage with in order to expand your field. The information that you gather will require you to saturate yourself with it, so you’ll need an active appetite for consuming, processing, internalizing, and producing the content.

What Are Your Research Interests, and How Important Is Research Output in the Arts?

I Am Interested in performing objects, performing spaces, character creation, and the influences of technology on all of these. It is essential to the Arts to produce research output since the artistic environment is dynamic and technological advances do not remain immune to their effects. Taking into account and influencing the changes in our creative industries is essential for Arts researchers.

How Will You Encourage a Current Student to Pursue Postgraduate Studies?

While the challenges of postgraduate study are undeniable, the growth you undergo personally is immeasurable. Your professional advancement as well as your personal well-being will be benefited by this step.

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What Are Your Ambitions Academically at This Stage of Your Career?

I am interested in conducting research in the technical theatre field and producing valuable results.During my postdoctoral fellowship, I hope to strengthen my position as a researcher.

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