Research in education

At the KABK, research is understood as inextricably linked to artistic or design practice. Therefore, research is not taught as a separate ‘subject’, although certain parts of the curriculum may specifically focus on it. Research is conducted at all levels of the educational curriculum. The nature of the research activities differs per educational level.

Research at BA level

Research in the bachelor’s programmes is focused on the development of the tools that are needed for conducting research and experimenting with these tools. The programmes include courses in theory, courses on specific research skills, and courses in which theory and research are integrated with artistic practice. By the end of the bachelor’s programme, the student will have developed his or her own working method and will have acquired a broad understanding of artistic/design practice. A graduate bachelor will possess the creative, reflective and critical skills needed to participate in the contemporary fields of art and design.

Double Degree programme
In collaboration with Leiden University, an academic curriculum has been developed for Fine Arts students with the ambition to acquire degrees from both Leiden University and the KABK.

Research & Discourse is a mandatory course for first year students of all bachelor’s departments within the KABK. The course explores connections between creative practice and theory – critical making and thinking – in the context of contemporary creative practices.

Docking Station comprises thematic, research-based workshops for second and third year bachelor’s students in which pairs of tutors (artists or designers and theorists) guide students in an integrated process of thinking and making.

Electives form part of the academy-wide education programme. In order to deepen the research aspects of the bachelor’s curricula, a number of Material Labs and Research Labs are organised. Also, students can follow electives at Leiden University.

Motivated bachelor’s students can take part in the Art Research Programme, a collection of interdisciplinary thematic courses organised by the lectorate Art Theory & Practice. These are usually taught by doctoral candidates in the PhDArts programme, inspired by, and building on, their own research projects.

In order to familiarise themselves with the developments and debates in the field of artistic research, selected bachelor’s students are invited to attend lectures and seminars that are part of the PhDArts doctoral study programme.

In the Studium Generale programme, renowned artists, designers and scholars are invited to deliver a lecture on their professional field, ending in a discussion open to all. The programme aims to help students assess their own work from a different perspective and to draw inspiration from other fields of knowledge.

All bachelor’s and master’s students submit a thesis as part of the final examination. A prize is awarded each year for the best thesis. Nominations are made by theory tutors from the various departments and the winners are selected by an independent jury.

Research at MA level

In the master’s programmes, research focuses more specifically on completing a research project through which the student specialises in his/her own field and is able to articulate his/her individual position as an artist or designer in this field. During this phase, students learn to develop a clearly contextualised research question, to design their research, and to connect their research to their artistic work. At the master’s level, research is completely woven into the curricula, as all aspects of the master’s curricula are rooted in research. At the heart of the assessment of the student’s research capabilities is the artistic work presented at the final examination. Students demonstrate their capability to conduct research in and through their art or design work, through the way they present that work and communicate about it.

The Master Artistic Research is an intensive two-year programme for artists who have a specific interest in research processes and are eager to carry out critical reflection in relation to their art practice.

All bachelor’s and master’s students submit a thesis as part of the final examination. A prize is awarded each year for the best thesis. Nominations are made by theory tutors from the various departments and the winners are selected by an independent jury.

Research at PhD level

After the master’s course students can apply for participation in a doctoral programme in artistic research. A PhD research training programme for visuals artists and designers is offered at Leiden University through PhDArts. PhDArts is part of the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA), a collaboration between the KABK and Leiden University. The final PhD defence takes place at Leiden University.

Research resources

The KABK has a well-equipped library with an extensive collection of books and other print and electronic media across a range of disciplines. Students are also encouraged to make use of the services of Leiden University Libraries (UBL), the National Library of The Netherlands in The Hague (KB) and other libraries and collections. In collaboration with theory tutors at the academy, the library offers introductory courses and advanced Research Labs in which students are guided in the process of engaging with these collections to support the development of their artistic or design practice.

There are 15 workshops at the KABK. Here, students can find the space and tools needed to shape their ideas, varying from classic printing techniques to contemporary 3D modelling. Besides general introduction and instruction lessons to help students work safely and efficiently on the machines, specific courses (Material Labs) are offered in collaboration with the workshop managers, in which students are invited to delve further into various techniques and engage in hands-on material research.