Artist Eric Downer looking at work in his studio

Art and design: practice, theory and history research

Explore our work across five areas of expertise

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 and Design?

Explore our Art and Design postgraduate research degrees - including PhDs and MPhils.

Explore our areas of expertise

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

Fashion, textiles and material futures

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

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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.

A monochromatic piece of graphic design
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Histories and Theories of Art, Design, Visual and Material Culture

Our research locates the historical and contemporary production and consumption of art, design, visual and material culture in wider social, cultural, political and economic contexts.

Young woman wearing Donald Duck sweatshirt
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Illustration, Drawing, Artists Books and Zines

Our research explores how self-publishing can allow a more diverse range of authors to communicate with an audience and investigates authorial illustration as an emerging genre.

illustrator drawing in sketch book, close-up
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We're using the photographic image in its expanded field as an investigative tool. Our research explores photography as a medium, and investigates how photographic practices shape individual subjectivity and modernity.

Student taking a photo with DSLR
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