Research Policy & Strategy
The Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK) mission statement states that, ‘society cannot do without art and culture’, and that, ‘education and research… are based on this conviction.’ It is within this context that AHK actively engages in the development of 3rd cycle provision in the arts (both nationally and in its Amsterdam Research Institute for Arts and Science (ARIAS) network). The Strategic Plan (2018- 2023) describes a commitment to artistic research as the artist-researcher’s production of art and reflection upon it rather than the result of classical academic study. Research in the arts is understood to offer new insights and its own distinctive methods of research. Inculcating an investigative attitude in students is key to all areas of study. The main objective is to put research at the service of education and the development of the artistic discipline (vakontwikkeling) in relationship to professional development and lifelong learning. As AHK’s research is focused on education, the professional field and society, and where social issues are concerned research is undertaken with external researchers and other institutions. The academies of the AHK are regarded as the laboratories for the professional field of tomorrow. The ARIAS network is an intensive collaboration within the Amsterdam Area with partners such as VU Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam (UvA). On the institutional level, research at universities of applied sciences is monitored by the Vereniging Hogescholen (The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences). AHK’s Conservatory collaborates in docARTES.
The Amsterdam University of the Arts does not have the authority to grant 3rd cycle awards. All 3rd cycle projects are carried out in collaboration with an appropriate university of applied sciences and therefore must meet the requirements of the partner university regulations for doctoral study.
The defence of the work presented takes place in front of a Supervisory Committee, consisting of the supervising university professor and external examiners from other universities. The Committee’s decision must be unanimous if the promovendum (candidate) is to pass the final examination.
PhD research is co-supervised with colleagues in a university of applied sciences.
The academies of the AHK are regarded as the laboratories for the professional field of tomorrow. There is no structured programme. There is no training in research methodologies or ethics at PhD level.
Two examples of PhD-research projects:
- What are the implications of the artist teacher on pedagogical practice?
- The digital audio workstation (DAW) as a virtual performance space.
AHK supports 3rd cycle research projects in theatre, dance and performance in the programme THIRD:
Undergraduate & Masters Research
Undergraduate and postgraduate course introduce research methods.
An investigative attitude towards society, the field of art and the students’ own work is embedded in all levels. Research skills training are taught within the MA curriculum (attending to artistic research and the positioning of the student’s own art work and research within artistic and research fields (not necessarily academic).
MA students follow a course on research skills and writing and receive 1-to-1 support from a trained supervisor supervising MA research. Ethics training is part of M level research training and in their 3rd cycle proposals students have to elaborate on how they will deal with ethics during their research.
Quality Assurance & Enhancement
No institution wide policy. On the national level the AHK lobbies for recognition of the unique merits/position of artistic research.
Quality Assessment is based on the standards of the national Sector Protocol Research at Universities of Applied Sciences (BKO).
Students work with 1 internal supervisor and 1 external supervisor from a university of applied sciences.
Staff engaged in PhD supervision attend seminars and individual mentoring sessions.
Ten staff members (from 8 research groups) are currently engaged in supervision. Presently, every academy has its own training methods for supervisors. Academics are responsible for the training programme.
While there are no official numbers available, it is estimated that between 40-50 people (7%-9%) hold 3rd cycle qualifications in our institution and that 120 people (21%) of staff are engaged in research.
Staff are supported through cover for replacement teaching (teaching hours), travel expenses and material costs (e.g. books). Academics/senior researchers can also apply for funding for hiring an external writer to prepare a research proposal (to get external funding).
There are no institution wide regulation defining the time allocation (hours) given to staff involved in 3rd cycle supervision.
Prospective students submit a portfolio, a research proposal and present their work at interview.
There are currently 12 PhD students studying in the arts per programme (about 20 including pre-3rd cycle programme).
Promotion vouchers (central funding);
Funding on the basis of a research plan (funding by academy);
All funding types mentioned apply. Most stable source of funding is that of teaching staff who want to engage in a 3rd cycle programme, both funded by the institution (central level, promotion voucher) and the individual academy. In addition, projects are up for (partial) external funding.
Students will normally have acquired basic research skills during their Master’s degree, e.g. MA students in both Art Education and Music follow the 7 part lecture-cycle ‘Introduction to Research and Writing’, whereas 3rd cycle students in Art Education participate in a research/discussion group with 4 training moments per year. The student experience is enhanced through peer learning and in supervision both on an individual level and in groups (depending on the academy). There are research groups in which students get feedback from peers, senior researchers, academics and in some cases from an external advisory board (consisting of experts in the field).
Over the past 5 years, 5 students have successfully achieved 3rd cycle awards.