The Belfast School of Art was established in 1849, making it the oldest School in Ulster University and enjoys a longstanding and rich research environment.
Ulster's Art & Design Research environment for staff and PhD Researchers was judged to be 100% internationally excellent and world-leading by REF2014, with 80% at 4* and 20* at 3*. We were ranked 3rd in the UK for its world-leading 4* research. Our lecturers and professors are practicing artists and designers who are actively involved in research, several of which, in collaboration with researchers from other disciplines. Our focus on practice and applied research is recognised with over 70% of our impact being rated as world leading.
The school draws on its international networks, bringing important figures in the world of art and design to Belfast to work with our Researchers. Our growing and thriving provision positions us as one of the leading providers of art and design education in the UK and the largest on the island of Ireland. We provide a centre of excellence and an environment for innovation, creativity and energy.
Our PhD community hosts more than 40 researchers at anyone time. We offer approximately 8 Scholarships each year. Additionally, we are part of the AHRC Funded Doctoral Training Partnership through the Northern Bridge Consortium. We welcome applicants interested in researching across the spectrum of Art & Design disciplines. We encourage interdisciplinary research with other sectors. Our staff also co-supervise PhD Researchers in other research units including Computer Science, Business & Management and Arts & Humanities in particular. Our main thematic groups are:
Arts, Conflict & Society
Art, Design & Health
Art, Space & Place
Applicants are subject to Research supervisor capacity.
We have recently moved to a new state of the art building in Belfast city centre, located in the Cathedral Quarter, an area that is known for its vibrancy, where the University plays a central role in the creative and cultural life of the city. The PhD community at Belfast is a vibrant one. Their PhD research space is in the heart of the research hub for the School and within the wider Art & design community of Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. Our PhD researchers have recently led and launched their own peer reviewed, in-house Journal Publication called Intersections as a print and digital edition. It nurtures interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing across the Faculty of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences, which is the home of nine different Research Units.
We enjoy strong relationships with the cultural sector and industry for example Collaborative agreements with the Ulster Museum, long standing engagements with national galleries, collaborative PhD's with NI Pain Forum, and a key stakeholder in the AHRC funded Creative Cluster, called Future Screen NI. This specialist centre brings together industry and academic research across animation, film & broadcast, games and immersive technology.
We have access to the excellent facilities across the Belfast School of Art course subjects which includes a new facility for Screen broadcast and immersive technology.
Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in good time to discuss draft research proposals. For general enquiries please contact the Research Director for Art & Design, Dr. Justin Magee or our PhD coordinator Dr Catherine O'Hara.
Where applied research is proposed, we expect to see a portfolio of related Art & Design Practice which may be reviewed as part of the preparation for application and more formally considered during interview.