Richard Blythe


Dr Richard Blythe is Professor in Architecture and Head of School, Architecture + Design at RMIT University, Australia a position he has held since June 2007. In 2010 he led the establishment of the RMIT University Creative Practice Research PhD program in Ghent, Belgium. Richard is a founding director of the architecture practice Terroir. The work of Terroir has been recognised through exhibition and publication nationally and internationally. Richard served as Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects National Education Committee from 2005-2011 and his most important achievement in that role was leading the development and adoption of the AIA Research Policy and associated documents. Richard’s academic passion is creative practice and in developing approaches to creative practice research and in building communities of creative practitioner researchers.


Prior to taking up his position at RMIT Richard lectured at the University of Tasmania for 14yrs where he served as Deputy Head of the School of Architecture and was the Vice Chancellor’s representative on the Tasmanian Government’s Building and Construction Industries Council. Richard gained a B.EnvDes and B.Arch from the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology and an M.Arch (research) specializing in twentieth century Australian architectural history from the University of Melbourne. Richard received a PhD from RMIT in 2009. During 2000-2001 Richard served as President of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand.


Exposition: Expanded Architecture 01-06 (01/01/2011) by Sarah Breen Lovett
Richard Blythe 21/11/2011 at 22:30

The brief accounts of the installations are very good and the entire thing is well written but the account provides very limited insight into what is going on in this practice and thinking. We are offered quotations from others but little from the author. For example, Loos Pleasures is a very nice piece but we are not exposed to what happened during putting this piece together, the process of the research. What was it about the brief that piqued a research interest (all research begins in some form of curiosity). What was discovered about the nature of contemporary video installation practice in undertaking this (or any of the other) project? Does it lead to some further realization about what Loos was up to? Or does the research (making the installations) expose new opportunities in the practice of moving image installation? What changes in the research as the researcher reflects on completed works and moves on to new ones?


The bibliography is heavily weighted to historical/theoretical texts. It would seem that similar references to actual works, that is, to other creative works themselves (rather than reviews and secondary theorisations), should also be included with equal weighting. The installations are compelling and the text goes far enough for us to see something of this practice and its historical/theoretical context, there is just more to tell which could make this a more powerful research piece.


Research requires that the researcher ‘fights close to the bull’. [1] In this case the compelling works are held at a distance to the practices of their making by the way in which they are framed historically and theoretically. This exposition would be more powerful as creative practice research if the author used the technical potential of the web weave of JAR to dissect and pull apart the works and the creative works of her practitioner authorities. To use diagrams, segments of video, stills, overlays etc. to show us ‘look! this is what I see here in this and that work (my authorities/inspiration/community of practice/or in traditional research terms what might be understood as a practice version of a literature review — of contemporary researchers)’, ‘this is how I try to deal with a similar problem in my own work here, in this use of reflected light on a found surface interrupted by movement’ etc. Such an account would tell us more about creative practice. The work at present oscillates between being research undertaken through practice and a more theoretical examination of historical sources. The author should be more emphatic about the fact that this is creative practice research and that it contributes to the field of video installation practice, and perhaps less interested in the works of those who speculate on what such works might mean.


[1] A research concept articulated by Marcelo Stamm during a panel review of the PhD work of Arnaud Hendrickx at the RMIT Supervisory Research Conference in Ghent, 20 November 2010.

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