Updating your Covenant & Research Ethics


You can revise and review the Covenant at any time. If you want to change anything on it, the whole Basho must unanimously agree (no simple majority decision – e.g. 2 out of 3 – can carry).

What to expect from your Covenant:

Since it’s developed by your group, your Basho’s Covenant is likely to differ from that of other Basho in this course. (This is okay!) Other Basho’s Covenants have no bearing upon your own; their authority extends only to their own Basho. In this sense, each Covenant creates what Hakim Bey called a TAZ (a Temporary Autonomous Zone).

If you are ever in doubt about how to proceed as a Basho, or find that you have to confront a difficult decision, you should consult your Covenant. Your Covenant is your constitutional guide and can help you to mediate any situation that you might encounter.

Remember, your Covenant is the highest authority within your Basho. There is no higher authority of appeal when it comes to deciding how you will proceed. You (your Basho) are collectively responsible for your decisions and your actions.

What to expect from your University:

Your Covenant is the highest authority within your Basho. But…. The University of Edinburgh is our governing Basho. As such, we have to work within the parameters set by the University Court and Senate. In practice, this means that we are all subject to Edinburgh College of Art’s Ethics proceedures. If you – or your group – are going to be working directly with human subjects (i.e. adults, remember we are not working with children) you are legally required to review how you will do this.

Research Ethics

Ethics is relevant to all of our work at ECA: it is about how we go about that work and the consideration and care we put into it. If ECA is understood as a community, then our ethics are the values or ‘code of conduct’ that guide and shape the way we work. Therefore, ethics ‘procedures’ here at ECA are ideally about the community supporting its members to consider the way they work and to think about the implications their work might have in the world.

Everyone needs to understand the ethical implications of their proposed research and know how to review and support your ethical approach.

You will additionally need to consider the ethical implications of Covid-19.

To support this, we highly recommend that you all enrol on this LEARN course:

‘Research Ethics and Integrity – An Introduction’ (Self-Enrol via LEARN) (link)

This module is designed to help you understand the core principles of research ethics and integrity. It’s aimed at all research students and doesn’t replace any subject or project-specific advice or policies. Although written for research students, the principles apply to any project so it may also be useful if you are a masters student working on a substantial project.


Ethics and Art

Dr Benjamin Franks – The School of Art Ethics Lecture:

Familiarise yourself with Edinburgh College of Art’s Ethics procedures (link)

Enroll yourself on ‘Research Ethics and Integrity – An Introduction’ (Self-Enrol via LEARN) (link)

Watch the following message from ECA’s Director of Research Ethics: Transcript: Introduction to Ethics > 






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