This article uses a reflexive, autoethnographic, and explanatory approach to suggesting assessment design for practical performing arts in higher education. Focusing on the communication of critical accounts of practice, rather than the assessment of practice itself, the idea considers how to create equitable opportunities to excel amid mixed-level starting points upon entry to the university. Imagining an “art first” environment that views assessment activity as a moment of knowledge transmission, this working example is supported by the history of Artistic Research and Practice-Research, given the basis in knowledge transmission and documentation. The idea around critical accounts of practice is driven by a desire to clear more time and space for practice as it exists as an artform in a necessarily time-based way, where skills and training are acquired over long periods of sustained practice. A case study is offered from the point of view of the author, based on the making of and featuring in Exhaustion V from The Exhaustion Series (2015-2018) by Sandy Williams IV, with the aim of providing example content for learning and assessment in this way.
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