The PhDArts programme for Research in and through Artistic Practice offers artists the possibility to obtain an international doctorate in art and design. PhDArts is a collaboration between the Leiden University Academy of Creative and Performing Arts and the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague.

PhDArts is a platform for artists who consider theoretical reflection and artistic practice as intrinsically related and complementary to each other. Together with a team of supervisors, staff members and guest teachers, the doctoral candidates of PhDArts form an inspiring and challenging research environment.  As a unique programme in the Netherlands, PhDArts creates new possibilities for art and its practitioners by questioning and breaking down existing boundaries between the disciplines of art theory and practice.

Doctorate in the Arts – Practice-based research

Every artist is familiar with the moment when the substance or the score on which he or she is working starts to influence the process of creation or re-creation, and it is precisely through research in the arts that this process is exposed. This type of research is necessarily comprised of two components: the artistic and the theoretical.

With research in art (as opposed to research on art, such as art history, for instance) there is no set goal or expected result, any more than there is a prescribed methodology. Artists undertaking research in the arts generally design their own working methods, and the educational approach of Research in and through Artistic Practice leaves room for a diversity of research methods with openness and complexity as characteristic of this particular type of research.

Doctoral candidates learn to develop the forms and criteria to which their research must conform. This is, however, not a strictly subjective process. Candidates must learn to substantiate their own findings and criteria and to communicate these with others. The result of the research is, primarily, an artistic product: an art work or a re-creation of an art work.

Doctoral study programme

The doctoral study programme is supplemental to the supervision of individual research and takes place in a research environment that fosters intellectual and artistic exchanges. The doctoral programme is offered annually and consists of:

  • An intensive Aesthetics course with lectures and seminars during the fall semester
  • A 3-day thematic workshop
  • Research presentations by the PhD candidates
  • Colloquium

In addition to individual research and the doctoral study programme, the PhDArts programme encourages the doctoral candidate to exhibit new work, publish writings on his or her own work, artistic development and research, and participate in symposia, conferences and other events. The study programme is concluded with a final presentation and a public defense of the research results.

Admission requirements

The applicant must first and foremost demonstrate a strong and outstanding practice in the arts and/or design; to be shown in the portfolio and curriculum vitae as part of the application. In addition the applicant is asked to write a research proposal including a clear research theme and research plan. The relationship between artistic practice and theoretical reflection should be made explicit in the proposal.

It is expected that the proposed research plan contributes to knowledge production about art and the international discourse in the field of research. The researcher is expected to be in the vanguard of his or her field of research.

Applicants must have a Master’s of Arts Degree or proof of mature artistry and study at a comparable level.

For more information on the programme and application procedures please visit: en