DPhil thesis award goes to Catz alumna

Dr Laura Molloy (2015, Social Science of the Internet) has been awarded the ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T).

Laura, who completed her DPhil studies at Catz earlier this year, won the award for her thesis entitled, Creative Connections: The Value of Digital Information and its Effective Management for Sustainable Contemporary Visual Art Practice.

The thesis is an interdisciplinary study that clarifies the value of digital information use in contemporary visual art practice in the UK. To understand how artists spend their time and value particular resources in making their work, Laura carried out a series of long interviews with artists across the UK, from Shetland to Brighton.

At the end of her research, Laura had uncovered three key findings:

  • That access to digital information infrastructure and training is very important across art forms.
  • That many digital information tasks are not included in art training and education.
  • That the information sciences have limited understanding of the information needs of artists.

The Doctoral Dissertation Award is given to a recent doctoral student in recognition of research that ‘contributes significantly to an understanding of some aspect of information science.’ The winner is chosen by jury from a competitive group of candidates.

Speaking of her award, Laura said: ‘I am thrilled that my doctoral thesis has been chosen for the 2021 ASIS&T ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award.

‘It’s important to me to bring together artists and information science research to provide evidence like this for art policy makers and for educators in the visual arts, in order to make the value of information science clear to new audiences, and to aid contemporary artists in the struggle to stay in practice.

‘To have my efforts recognised in this way by ASIS&T is so exciting and encouraging and I am deeply grateful to the jury.

‘I couldn’t have done it without the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS), and my University departments: the Oxford Internet Institute and the Ruskin School of Art. Thank you for your support.’

Laura is now Senior Research Lead at CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council. She is also the Arts and Humanities section editor for the Data Science Journal. She will receive her award at the 2021 ASIS&T meeting at the end of October.

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