In this article we offer a single case study using an action research method for gathering and analysing data offering insights valuable to both design and research supervision practice. We do not attempt to generalise from this single case, but offer it as an instance that can improve our understanding of research supervision practice. We question the conventional ‘dyadic’ models of research supervision and outline a more collaborative model, based on the signature pedagogy of architecture: the design studio. A novel approach to the supervision of creatively oriented postgraduate students is proposed, including new approaches to design methods and participatory supervision that draw on established design studio practices. This model collapses the distance between design and research activities. Our case study involving Master’s Research Students supervision in the discipline of Architecture, shows how ‘connected learning’ emerges from this approach. This type of learning builds strong elements of creativity and fun, which promote and enhance student engagement. The results of our action research suggest that students learn to research more easily in such an environment and supervisory practices are enhanced when we apply the techniques and characteristics of design studio pedagogy to the more conventional research pedagogies imported from the humanities. We believe that other creative disciplines can apply similar tactics to enrich both the creative practice of research and the supervision of HDR students.