School of Creative Arts Research


Undertaking post-graduate research hosted by the School of Creative Arts offers you a unique opportunity to extend knowledge within your chosen field through structured, supervised research projects.

Supervisors in the School of Creative Arts can help you design a research project at Masters or Doctoral (PhD) level that results in the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. 

Artists, curators, filmmakers, designers, musicians, performers, producers and creative technologists are welcome to complete their post-graduate studies at the School of Creative Arts.

Research enquiries in the School of Creative Arts can be directed to the following key contacts:

Associate Head Research

Assoc Prof Beata Batorowicz:

All PhD and Masters enquiries to go to the School of Creative Arts HDR Coordinator

Assoc Prof Melissa Forbes:

Research Degrees

USQ Bachelor of Visual Arts - Studio Practice

Doctor of Philosophy (Phd)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program including Thesis by Creative Work

The PhD can offer a traditional thesis-based model centred on theorising a central premise to lead to new knowledge and unique contributions to the field and is approximately 80,000 words long.

For Creative Arts, the PhD Program can include a Thesis by Creative Work that ranges from 30,000 words to a 50,000-words. This means that a PhD’s creative component will demonstrate a weighting between 70%-50% of the doctoral study. If the creative weighting is 50% or higher than the  exegesis, the research project constitutes a practice-led PhD. The combination of theory and practice within a PhD Program aims to lead to new knowledge in the field and should demonstrate innovation and originality. Collaboration, performativity, and studio-oriented emphasis can all be interrogated, and you will work with your supervisors to undertake a thorough methodological approach that can link the theory with practice. 

Supervisors and Research Topics

In Creative Arts research, it is essential to design your research project with guidance from your potential research supervisor. However, finding a suitable supervisor for your research can be difficult. In the School of Creative Arts, we work to help connect you with the best supervisory team available before you formally submit your application to the Graduate Research School.

Complete our online form to register your interest and begin your research journey with the School of Creative Arts.

Research Supervisor

Why UniSQ?

USQ Toowoomba Campus

Our Facilities

Our researchers and students can access a wide range of technologies, studios and creative spaces that help drive new discoveries and creative arts innovations.

Our Expertise

The School of Creative Arts is a community of artists, scholars and researchers who seek to lead and inspire students and the community through collaboration and innovation. We enable and encourage creative and informed student reflection, critique, the formation and production of creative outcomes and patterns of life-long learning and curiosity.

USQ General Enquiries
USQ Bachelor of Visual Arts - Studio Practice

Our Community Partnerships

The School of Creative Arts is proud of the strong partnerships we have forged with local community. Many of these partnerships have been in place for years and have yielded incredible success. With engagement being one of the School’s core values, we have cultivated these partnerships to not only benefit our students and staff, but also to ensure we are central in our regions’ cultural growth and prosperity.


USQ Research Graduate - Courtney

Courtney Feldman


USQ Alumnus Visual Art - Dan Elborne

Dan Elbourne

Artist & Academic

USQ Visual Art Alumnus - Rhi Johnson

Rhi Johnson

Artist & Academic

Courtney Feldman

Courtney has always been immersed in the creative arts and with family ties to the university, embarking on her Doctor of Philosophy in Contemporary Voice program at USQ was a ‘no-brainer’. 

Having already completed her undergraduate degree and honours in the Bachelor of Creative Arts program, Courtney is a successful ‘portfolio’ musician. She performs, educates, researches, collaborates, advocates, and inspires others to continue to pursue their goals. 

A self-proclaimed go-getter, Courtney says it’s always been about the journey. Working consistently as a music teacher and accompanist, as well as directing her own music studio, she sustained her work throughout the duration of her studies and still does to this day.

Courtney’s journey has not been without challenges however, as she experienced the tremendous grief of the sudden passing of her father whilst studying and working full-time. Her capacity to handle stressful situations was tried and tested, and the pursuit to achieve well in her assignments and exams challenged. It was, however, the support received during this time that has forever impacted her life. 

Along with giving Courtney with the tools needed to pursue her goals, USQ became her second home throughout her degree; a home where she is constantly surrounded by acceptance, value and the creative freedom to pursue her own unique identity.

Daniel Elbourne

After floating between jobs and feeling a lack of direction, Dan began his journey at USQ studying what he is most passionate about – art. He has graduated from USQ with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours) and a Doctor of Philosophy.

An artist with a practice based in ceramics, Dan has been able to travel, exhibit and teach extensively throughout Australia and abroad. He has also worked as a Visual Arts Technician and Ceramics
Lecturer at USQ, with plans to move to Melbourne to continue his practice there.

Dan’s motivation as an artist stems from the inevitability of death, which puts a profound imperative on life. His creative and professional trajectory – formed by his studies at USQ – allowed him to
approach his practice with passion and overcome the rejection and recognition-based challenges of the art industry.

‘The short time we have here motivates me to try and make a difference, try and have meaningful and productive interactions, and to try and leave things better than I found them.’

Rhi Johnson

My time as a visual art student at USQ was a personally, professionally and creatively transformative process, and a driving factor in my subsequent career choices. I found myself simultaneously challenged and supported, which led to confidence in creative growth, the development of practical skills and an involvement in numerous exhibitions and other industry outcomes. I have retained a lasting sense of creative and collaborative community, which continues to form the basis for many subsequent art exhibitions, projects and events.

The Dina Award

Our Higher Degree by Research student Ally Zlatar has been awarded a prestigious UK-based award late last year. ‘The Diana Award’ based on the legacy of Princess Diana, honours young people who are making positive contributions to society. Zlatar’s artistic works and advocacy around raising awareness around eating disorders is directly related to her Doctorate of Creative Arts at USQ. She is supervised by Assoc. Prof. Beata Batorowicz, Amy Mullens and Dr Carol du Plessis.

Research Supervisor


 To our recent doctoral graduates who attended the Graduation Ceremony in Toowoomba on the 22 August 2022.

Doctor of Creative Arts Qualification

Dr Christopher Abrahams:  Scratching the Surface: self-portraits and self-representation

This practice-led research enquiry asks the following question: how can the body be employed as a tool to create a portrait of self to create growth and transformation?  Central to this enquiry, is the development of my method of artmaking, what I call Reflective Phenomenology, which is a combination of reflexivity (Pierce, 1868 as cited in Archer, 2013) and Merleau-Ponty’s (1968) phenomenology to contribute to the field of self-portraiture and identifies a gap in contemporary art in Australia using the body-as-self.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Janet McDonald and Dr Kyle Jenkins

Dr Alyson Baker:  The Challenge of Pink:  subverting the current breast cancer awareness paradigm through visual and oral storytelling

This practice-led research project explores the living experiences of male breast cancer patients and articulates the emotional consequences of their treatment in the form of mixed-media installations.  The project aims to raise awareness of male breast cancer, as males represent one in 125 diagnoses of breast cancer per year (Cancer Australia, 2021), but are largely underrepresented or not represented at all in informational literature about breast cancer in Australia.  In recognising the gender disparity of representation in breast cancer awareness campaigns and literature, the artworks generated for installation aim to redress the representational imbalance by providing an alternative public awareness paradigm that gives visibility and voice to male breast cancer patients.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Janet McDonald and Associate Professor Beata Batorowicz

Doctor of Philosophy Qualification

Dr Bonnie Green: Exploring the relationship between private piano teachers’ creative identities as musicians and their teaching practices

This inquiry explored the construction of private piano teachers’ creative identities as musicians and the ways in which their creative identities influence their studio practices.  Teachers’ identities were investigated using the socio-cultural lens of identity formation and the research was guided by Narrative Inquiry methodology.  Factors that influenced the construction of participants’ creative identities included drawing on aspects of the ‘whole self’ when engaged in the creative process and receiving social validation for their creative efforts.  Teachers’ abilities to nurture the creative identities of their students were closely linked to having creative skills themselves and being a creative teacher.

Supervisors: Dr Melissa Forbes and Dr Rebecca Scollen

Highly prized residency at Domaine de Boisbuchet for Visual Arts PhD candidate Peter Osborn

UniSQ Visual Arts PhD candidate Peter Osborn has been accepted with nine other international artists to attend a residency at Domaine de Boisbuchet France in May – June this year. Founded in 1986, Domaine de Boisbuchet is an international research centre for art, design and architecture. The campus is surrounded by 150 hectares of protected nature in southwest France and comprises an architectural park of historic and contemporary buildings. During his residency, Peter will continue his PhD work developing his ceramic sculptural practice and undertaking background research. He will have access to the centre’s workshop and library and participate in an exchange of ideas and practice with fellow residents and staff. Boisbuchet’s history and community offers residents the chance to expand their professional network and further their professional and career development.

Peter’s research concerns humanity’s relationship with nature and how this can be captured and advanced through the creation of fine art. He will work within the natural environment of Boisbuchet, building connection through plein air drawing and collection of local soils to incorporate within his ceramic work. He will work within the centre’s primary aim to develop the individual artist/designer/architect’s expression of concept through 3D form. At the end of the residency, Peter will address the Boisbuchet community, discussing his residency experience and artistic outcome.

Peter will then return to the School of Creative Arts at UniSQ and share his experiences with us!   Congratulations Peter!

Research Outcomes

View some of the amazing publications and works of our students across the Doctor of Creative Arts, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Professional Studies.