Corkscrew was a network for practice-based/led research students and staff that began in the School of Arts at Birkbeck in 2013. It was set up by Carol Watts and Sophie Hope with practice-research PhD students at the time. It was named Corkscrew because of the spiralling feedback loop between practice-based investigation and critical/reflective work.

Sophie Hope has now left Birkbeck and is continuing aspects of Corkscrew independently. To find out about future events and workshops you can sign up to Sophie’s email list here.

This website currently archives the Corkscrew work we did at Birkbeck. It will be updated soon.

The Corkscrew group would meet regularly to share experiences of being a practitioner-researcher in an academic context. Students led discussions, showed examples of their practice (in termly ‘show and tell’ sessions) and engaged in group crits which foregrounded practice. There was also a programme of guest lectures and workshops led by experienced researchers from different arts fields. Students  and staff carrying out practice-research at Birkbeck came from a variety of disciplines, including fine art, curating, film, media, creative writing and performance.


Loosen up!* Sharing methods of analysis in practice-research

A series of online panel discussions and an in person workshop and party at the ICA, London. Session 1: Tuesday 13 June, 10-11.30am BST, online, no need to book. Click here to joinScreenwriting, clowning and storytelling: perspectives on methods of analysis with Stayci Taylor, Hilary Ramsden, Andy Barrett and Sanjana Kumar, with reflections from Seda Ilter . …

What career? Doing practice-research beyond the PhD

Thursday 24 June | 14:00 – 17:00 | Online About this event Who is this for? Arts and humanities practice-based/led research PhD students and recent graduates who want to explore their career ambitions in academia and/or beyond. Booking here. Getting a job in academia is not always the motivating factor for doing a practice-based PhD. If higher …


Corkscrew was established in 2013 to cater to the growing community of practice-based research students in Birkbeck’s School of Arts. Since then, we have welcomed speakers from a variety of contexts to reflect on their work with students, and provided opportunities for students to share their work in progress. Corkscrew has grown to also support a growing as a community of academic practice-researchers.

Click on the academic years below to find out more about our past events: