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Q: What type of thesis is this?#

This is a doctoral (PhD) thesis completed at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Specifically it's a PhD in Architectural Design (also known as a PhD by Design) which:

[...] encourages the development of architectural research through the combination of designing and writing. Students present a thesis consisting of a project and a text that share a research theme and a productive relationship. The project may be drawn, filmed, built, or make use of whatever media is appropriate.

-- Bartlett PhD website

In my case, the thesis presents seven projects across four chapters, including film, performance, installation and graphic design.

Q: Why is this thesis online?#

Because I believe that scholarly work, particularly work that has been publicly funded, should be freely available. The thesis exists in a PDF, but that isn't indexable by search engines, and you have to download a hefty PDF file to look through that doesn't load well on mobile devices. This site is a lighter-weight way to read my thesis.

Q: Can I cite your thesis?#

Yes, please do! The best way to do this is by referring to the PDF version which is held at UCL, which has accurate page numbers, etc. The citation format is:

Palmer, OM. 2017, 'Scripted performances: designing performative architectures through digital and absurd machines', PhD thesis, Bartlett School of Architecture University College London, London.

Q: What are the differences between the online version and the PDF version?#

Most of the online content is exactly the same as in the PDF, but the online version has an extra section at the start of each chapter where you can view videos of the projects and some supplemental videos (e.g. a BBC News report on Ant Ballet), as well as a small summary of the chapter content. This way all of the work is in one place.

Some of the figures are slightly different too - for example, screen captures of videos that were in the printed thesis have been replaced with the original videos in the online version. The original was designed to be printed, and so no videos could be embedded. There is always a clarifying note when this has happened.

The figures also appear in slightly different places in the PDF version. This is because the PDF was constrained by page layouts, whereas each chapter in the online version flows in one long document, so you don't have to jump back and forth to refer to images.

Q: Can I use your images / videos?#

Yes, feel free to embed images/videos of my work or quote this thesis, but please do cite the source.

Copyright of third-party images remains with their author; images are only reproduced here for educational purposes; this site makes no profit. If you own an image you'd like me to take down, please get in touch.

Q: You wrote the thesis in 2017. Why's it taken so long to put it online?#

I wanted to put this online ages ago, but life got in the way. In between submitting my thesis and putting it online, I completed a transatlantic move, renovated a house, had two children, several new jobs, and a few more other things that have kept me busy. All of which means by the time you read this it will be totally irrelevant.

Q: Why isn't the code for each project online?#

Most of my work is experimental, and the code to make each project work is held together with the digital equivalent of duct tape. Maintaining versions of software made years ago on various different computers is a nightmare! But the projects are described here in sufficient detail that anyone technically-minded enough might be able to do a better job of recreating them, if they were so inclined.

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