Artist Eric Downer looking at work in his studio

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.

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.

Interested in a PhD in Art & Design?

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

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