Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR)

The Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) embraces contemporary fine art, philosophy, discourse and immersive art practice with inventive intersections of ‘old’ and ‘new’ technologies: painting; sculpture; print-making; photography; mixed reality labs; archive and installation; electronic - digital; acoustics; media arts and the new sciences - alongside the questions of embodiment, incorporeality and the queering of sense.

We currently have just under 40 PhD students working across our practical and theoretical research specialisms including AHRC, Birmingham City University bursary and collaborative funded projects. The academic and technical staff, research students and Fellows, whose works are showcased on CFAR’s website and social networks, are internationally recognised artists, scholars and practitioners, whose research is generated by curiosity.

The School of Art is a world-class 4* research environment whose ethos – research generated by curiosity – provides an intellectually rigorous, experimental, professional and extremely rich studio/practice-led research engagement with:

  • contemporary art and philosophy
  • visual, acoustic and curatorial art practices
  • speculative art/design topologies
  • photographic practices after photography
  • art history, arts policy, design and education
  • documentation and archive
  • contemporary Chinese visual arts
  • feminist transgressions and queer strategies inhabiting erotic praxis, sexualities, poetics and the logics of sense

The School of Art has over 40 PhD students, a dedicated gold-standard peer review research journal, Zetesis: The International Journal for Fine Art, Philosophy & the Wild Sciences, a professional gallery - ARTicle Gallery, and world leading press - ARTicle Press. 

Our research environment includes state-of-the-art metal workshops, print-making facilities and large studios all housed in the beautiful purpose-built 19th century Victorian building on Margaret Street.

Our researchers are linked to the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) which partners with national and international Research Fellows, Artists-in-Residence, Visiting Professors, research networks all focusing on the ‘making of sense’ in the fullest use of the term: art.

Key areas of research include:

  • Making art in the public sphere
  • Radical matter in philosophy and art 
  • Contemporary Chinese visual arts
  • Photography expanded
  • Speculative topologies of ART-design practices
  • Art history, education and design practices
  • Erotic praxis and the queering of sense
  • art dissemination and impact
  • Architecture, sustainability and urban design
  • Innovations in materials and processes in fine art and jewellery
  • Landscape interpretation and perception and its relation to wellbeing
  • Fashion design in international and cross-cultural contexts including psychology of fashion
  • Typography
Why study for a PhD research degree at the School of Art?

We offer a world-class research environment which will enable both practice-led and/or entirely text based PhD research to be developed to the highest level. The history of Art and Design subjects within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media will provide  not only a traditional route to an academic career, but it also offers a strong stepping stone to industry, commercial and non-commercial galleries, museums, and other arts institutions throughout the UK/EU and abroad. 

We are part of a £14.6m  Doctoral Training consortium, the M3C-AHRC which enables cross-disciplinary doctoral research linked to Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham.

Be part of a thriving community of postgraduate researchers! The facilities here are excellent, the research staff dedicated and the atmosphere second to none.  Come join us.