Research Programme

Research at The Prince's School of Traditional Arts offers the opportunity to look at the traditional arts and the world’s sacred and traditional art forms in relation to the important questions of what art means in the contemporary world and how an artist can work within their community today. Many of the world’s sacred traditions and the traditional art forms that were associated with them have already disappeared.

The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts is known for its arts practice as research in the traditional arts. It welcomes applications from those working, or wishing to work, in the regeneration of traditional arts, crafts and design as living practice.

A distinctive feature of the School is that staff and students on all of its programmes, including project-led outreach courses, taught postgraduate programmes and postgraduate research supervision, are engaged in arts practice as research into technical, compositional, contextual and interpretative questions and issues. Doctoral students at the School benefit from membership of a broad community in the traditional arts based on the mutual sharing of skills, methods and knowledge and on commitment to ensuring the continuity of the arts that do exist and reclaiming those that have virtually disappeared.

Researchers at the School pursue compositional and contextual questions arising from historical arts practice; issues pertaining to the relevance and adaptation of the traditional arts to twenty-first century contexts; and questions about the nature and methodology of arts practice as research. The School’s doctoral researchers typically demonstrate their commitment to traditional arts, crafts and design through their own personal and/or professional practice; their ability to reflect on and document their investigation of compositional, contextual and theoretical questions; and their capacity to evidence their research through persuasive, accessible and creative presentations, both written and visual.

Recently completed and current research includes aspects of Islamic art and architecture, Christian iconography, traditional arts practice and transmission of knowledge, Eastern and Far Eastern traditional art, and the tensions between traditional and contemporary arts in the work of contemporary artists and society. In accordance with the School’s focus on regenerating the traditional arts as living practice, many of its staff and students are rediscovering the traditional creation and use of artistic materials, such as pigments, paints, inks and dyes, from natural resources. The School is also interested in furthering traditional arts practice as research in relation to relatively neglected areas such as wellbeing, sacred space and spirituality, and sustainability. Research into topics such as those mentioned above is intended to inspire artists in their creative work, and to contribute to the broad understanding of traditional art and craft practices whilst ensuring their transmission and continuity to future generations.