Plymouth College of Art

Plymouth College of Art’s (PCA) philosophy for research is grounded in the institution’s distinctive mission and purpose as a specialist provider of education in art, craft, design and media. It reflects PCA’s beliefs in the value of creative practice and the centrality of the principle of thinking through making. It also reflects a commitment to promote innovation, intellectual curiosity, entrepreneurship and creativity, adding value to the cultural, social and economic life of Plymouth and the South West region, and contributing positively to broader national and international cultural and economic agendas.

PCA strongly encourage and support links between research and pedagogy and between research and professional practice, and thinking through making radiates through all communities of practice – fine artists, makers, designers  and creative media producers. It denotes the fundamental importance of the practitioner’s relationship to, and understanding of, materials, media, tools and processes, be it (for example) film-making, glass-blowing, curatorial research, or performance art. 

PCA maintain a strong focus on professional studio and workshop regimes of knowledge and action, underpinned with an entrepreneurial/critical-curatorial approach to contexts of practice that are increasingly structured around portfolio career/SME settings.

There are strong historical threads embedded in this stance that can be traced back to the institution’s roots as the Plymouth Drawing School, established in 1856 as part of the then nation-wide wave of art, design and industry teaching institutions set-up in the wake of the 1851 Great Exhibition. However, contemporary investment in thinking through making emphatically does not signify a simplistic concentration solely on embodied technical skill.

PCA views creative making as essentially a research site, or laboratory, for the deep exploration of determinate ideas and feelings – a project that is radically open to the future and which embraces an ‘expanded’ field of creative practices.  

Research Lead: Malcolm Ferris

Contact Form: Plymouth College of Art

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