‘Each one teach one—we got to pass it on / Keep doing the knowledge, building and adding on / With faith in the assumption / That nobody knows everything but everybody knows something
– Dead Prez, Learning Growing Changing, 2012
Each year, researchers from the Bartlett’s PhD programme present their work at a one day conference and in an exhibition on the ground floor of the Bartlett School of Architecture, 22 Gordon Street, open to the public for two weeks. In 2019, in a student-led initiative, the Bartlett ‘PhD Research Projects’ conference aimed to expand this programme and test the boundaries of what an ‘exhibition’, ‘conference’ or even the presentation of a ‘PhD’ should look like.
We were interested in the fuzzy edges—the ideas-still-in-formation of the PhD research process, the connections we see and the ones we don’t, pulling and shifting. A form of ‘spooky action at a distance’, drawing on Questlove’s reimagining of Albert Einstein’s quantum theories: “Einstein was talking about physics, of course, but to me, he’s talking about something closer to home – the way that other people affect you, the way that your life is entangled in theirs whether or not there’s a clear line of connection.”
We wanted to discuss the support systems which nourish – and the structural dynamics which impoverish – the research process. We believe the PhD is as much about finding the right playlists and referencing hacks, participants and data sets, WhatsApp groups and Google Docs – as research methodologies and navigating ethics in the field. We invited contributors to use the exhibition space to test out a methodology, to share a skill they had honed, to voice a working idea, or the dilemmas and experiences of PhD research.
BREAK // LINE