Derek Pigrum

Derek completed his doctorate in the Department of Education at the University of Bath, and is now an art teacher at the Vienna International School, as well as being a visiting research fellow at the University of Bath.

"Before my doctorate I was a teacher of art and design, and also the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Schools Association Journal, Skepsis. I completed my doctorate part-time in the Department of Education at the University of Bath whilst continuing to teach. I tried to find out how artists, designers, architects and writers use drawing to generate and develop ideas, and how this process could be applied to education.

"After obtaining my doctorate, I became the co-ordinator of my school’s 'Theory of Knowledge' programme, and two years' later I became the professional development co-ordinator. This position was eliminated, meaning a return to the classroom – with a little less money but time to complete and publish a book on teaching creativity, as well as some lecturing at two universities. I also held a visiting research fellowship for five years at the University of Bath. I have now been given a studio by a patron of the arts where I can write and paint, and I have a new book proposal in the pipeline.

"I did not undertake my doctorate specifically to develop my career. I did it because the area of research deeply interested me, and because I wanted to gain some understanding of creative processes that I was involved in – as a teacher, and as I observed in the practices of others. The career steps thrown up by undertaking a doctorate have been incidental – my ideal career step would be to sit in a library for days on end, trying to make sense of the data gathered from field work among artists and writers, as well as doing some teaching.

"The theoretical understanding gained from my doctorate has changed my own teaching. I have become suspicious of the distinction made between practice and theory. The link between theory and what provokes it continues to fascinate me."