Art and design: history, theory and practice research

Explore the work we're doing across the 6 areas of expertise within our Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice research

We've a long tradition of art and design at Portsmouth. Since 1870, the school of Art and Design has investigated the relationship between practice and research from a cultural context, using any concern in society and culture as a springboard for our work.

Our research goes beyond individual disciplines, applying research skills and methods across a range of issues. But at the heart of our projects is social awareness, and a commitment to positioning practice-based work critically in a social, cultural and historical context.

We're exploring image making, visual communication and design, and thanks to the outputs of our practice-led research, we're solving problems through active experimentation, and by analysing images and visual processes.

Our supervisors come from backgrounds in practice and theory, and are well-positioned to support research programmes. We offer PhD by practice as an option, and encourage qualitative or practice-led research, using skills such as historical research, semiotic analysis, user research, action research, iterative process and reflective practice.

Interested in a PhD in Art & Design?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – and find a supervisor at our Art & Design postgraduate research degrees page.

Explore research degrees

Explore our areas of expertise

Find out more about the facilities and research methods that shape our research, in the 6 areas of expertise below. Learn more about our recent projects, the academic and industrial partners with whom we collaborate, and the major funders who fund our work.

Fashion and textiles

Our fashion and textiles research is addressing important issues around fashion and textile design and its associated industries.

close-up fabric detail on fashionable jacket
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History and Theory of Art and Design

We're exploring the historical production and consumption of art and design in wider social, cultural, political and economic contexts, with a particular emphasis on curation and exhibitions.

Visitor looking at artworks on the wall at Tate Modern, London
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Graphic and communication design

Our research is looking at the history of design, and ethnographic studies in relation to design, design usability, legibility studies, design knowledge, and epistemology.

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Visual and Material Culture

Concepts such as taste are the product of cultural and social forces – and through our visual and material culture research, we're working to uncover the concepts at work.

Young woman wearing Donald Duck sweatshirt
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Illustration and Art of the Book

We're exploring the historical production and consumption of art and design in wider social, cultural, political and economic contexts, with a particular emphasis on curation and exhibitions.

illustrator drawing in sketch book, close-up
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Photography

Our research looks at the portrait studio as a psychic space, how photography can be used to propose theoretical considerations, and how subjectivity is defined through photography.

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