School of Art, Design, and Performance
Read more about the teaching and research that takes place within this School – one of 4 within our Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
Art both reflects and inspires a creative society, by describing the world as it is and as it could be. The School of Art, Design and Performance believes in improving people's lives and our understanding of each other through thoughtful and challenging works.
We use new and traditional mediums to push the creativity of students, researchers and staff. We support all students, researchers and staff to explore and experiment as part of a community and to identify their strengths and individual style as artists and makers. Our collaborative, project-based approach to teaching and learning continues to give our students the skill sets to become highly employable graduates.
Many of our graduates have gone on to work in the public and private sector, or started their own companies – with 95% of our graduates being in work or further study within 6 months of graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019).
We place students at the centre of our work — developing practitioners, artists, makers, designers and research who'll be dynamic contributors to our local, national and global creative and cultural industries.
Live projects with clients and community participants are an important part of our curriculum, with students collaborating with organisations such as Queen Alexandria Hospital, Boots, Teatum Jones, Park Community School, the Historic Dockyard and Aspex Gallery. The experience we offer combines:
- Emphasis on your own creative and personal development
- Skills, knowledge and awareness enthusiastic staff with high levels of expertise
- Integrated links with related industries to further your professional career
- Opportunities to exhibit and perform externally, support to enter national and international competitions
- Work on live projects
- Development of transferable skills including: research, project management and communication skills
Based in the Eldon Building and the White Swan Building, our students and staff have access to:
- rehearsal studios
- a studio theatre
- music practice rooms
- computer suites with the latest industry standard and CGI modelling software
- a dedicated Wacom suite
- traditional wood workshop
- laser cutting equipment
- photography studios
Our teaching areas
Explore the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer within the following areas.
Computer games, animation, and digital technologies courses
Keep up with the latest technology and techniques in computer game design & animation by taking one of our degrees. Take a placement with Sega, ILM & more. Find out more.
Drama, music, and performing arts
Take to the stage, hone your talents, and prepare for a career in drama, music or the performing arts with one of our degree courses at the University. Find out more.
Fashion, photography, graphic arts and design courses
Whether your medium is photography, graphic design, fashion, your creativity is in demand. Develop your abilities to a professional level on one of our degree courses.
We believe in supporting students to become independent, confident artists and practitioners. Our graduates are people with the courage and confidence to make a difference with their creativity.
We have built a strong entrepreneurial culture and the work that graduates produce is diverse and varied and reflects their strong creative identities. Many of our graduates have created start-up companies, including:
- Neequaye Dreph Dsane – Dreph is a versatile visual artist working across a wide range of media. With a focus on portraiture, he is best known for his large-scale murals and oil paintings. His portraits and their accompanying backstories present an alternative narrative, often a tribute to living unsung heroes and heroines. He has painted in Asia, Africa, the UAE, Central, South and North America and throughout Europe. He is also a lecturer on our BA (Hons) Illustration degree course.
- I Love Dust – A specialist visual design, 3D illustrations and branding studio, worked with Nike, Chevrolet and Sony.
- Brightside Comedy – A theatre company making satirical comedies. Graduates of the BA (Hons) Drama & Performance, they are Associate Artists of Guildhall and their first show after graduating was shown at both the Guildhall Studio (Portsmouth) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
- Magictorch – A multi-disciplinary studio based in Brighton, UK founded by Illustration graduates Michael Chipperfield and Sam Williams in 1999. They make still and motion pieces for a diverse range of clients including BBC Focus magazine, TV show Top Gear and CD art for American rock band 311.
- Strong Island – An art, design, lifestyle, and clothing brand centred around Portsmouth and everything it has to offer
We also have close relationships with employers and many of our students have taken on placement year work opportunities with places such as Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Debenhams, and Collective Apparel. Many of our placement year students go on to work with the professionals they've met during their placement year.
Our graduates have moved on to work in a range of fields including theatre making and event producing, using drama in education settings, performing, fashion and textile design, graphic design, photography, and illustration, for organisations such as Aardman Digital, Saatchi and Saatchi, The Guardian and Penguin Random House. Many of our graduates work as a freelancers for clients including MTV, BBC, New Scientist, Sony Entertainment, The Commonwealth Games, and Marks and Spencer.
We've built a collegiate research community that supports the work our postgraduate students, researchers and academics through open collaboration and friendly discussion. We work collaboratively with public and private partners on research that challenges assumptions and uses modern technologies to solve societal problems.
We've engaged in collaborative research with the notable organisations including the BBC, Magic Leap, Royal Shakespeare Company, Goldsmiths, Manchester International Festival, Intel, Epic Games, University of Brighton, The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Gendered Intelligence and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands.
Our research areas
Art and Design: Practice, Theory and History
We're researching image making, visual communication and design, solving problems through active experimentation, and analysing images and visual processes. Explore our art and design: practice, theory and history research.
Digital and Creative Technologies research
We're fuelling technological advances in animation, visual effects (VFX), cross reality (XR), user experience (UX), computer and video games, and visual computing. Discover the work we do.
Theatre, Performance and Music
We're conducting research which explores how performance, theatre and music can help us understand society and ourselves.
Recent project highlights
We're part of the Audience of the Future project, a £16 million and 15 organisation project that's combining theatre and performance, the music industry, video production and gaming to explore and shape how people experience live performance. Backed by the UK Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the project will roll out a multi-platform, immersive live performance in 2020.
We're also working with Gendered Intelligence and the University of Exeter on the Transformations: Encountering Gender and Science project. Transformations explores the history of gender and science with young trans and gender diverse people (aged 16-25) and asks questions about medicine, identity, and authority through creative workshops, oral history research, creative writing, and performance.
Members of our School are also working on DERMA as part of the Interreg 2 Seas project. They're investigating and developing new ways to manage and treat dermal ulcers and other chronic non-healing wounds through new technologies.
We've also received research funding from the Wellcome Trust, Technology Strategy Board, Henry Moore Foundation, Pfizer, Age UK, UK Research and Innovation, and Interreg.
Our Teaching Fellows, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors – as well as the many Visiting Lecturers and other industry professionals that work with us – help shape an environment where excellence is our aim.
Many staff in the School of Art, Design and Performance are research-productive and disseminate their research across many forms and media. Many are involved in public and community project work with external organisations, including charities and community interest companies. We encourage staff to undertake practice and research that’s innovative and influential, by facilitating a culture that inspires and supports high-quality work and brings on promising early-career academics. All this work often involves students in some way.
We offer supervisory expertise for doctoral students in various areas, from dramaturgy to musical theatre and voice, typography and photography, sustainability in textile design and production to applied theatre in care settings – and more besides.
To find out more about staff’s expertise, teaching, scholarship and/or research interests and expertise, see below for a selection of profiles. You can also look up individuals by name via the 'View all our Staff' button below.
Explore our faculty
Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.
School of Architecture
Explore the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth, and find out more about the teaching and research activities happening now within the School.
School of Creative Technologies
Find out more about the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth, and explore the teaching and research activities that take place within the School.
Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
Explore the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth – and find out more about the teaching and research activities taking place within our four Schools.