Image: John Pridmore
The Conservatoire comprises a vital and vibrant collection of people with both specialist and wide-ranging experience and expertise, including in research. We are developing research that builds on our well-established base in teaching, extensive professional and industry links and years of international and more local knowledge exchange. Research across the Conservatoire schools is diverse in its methods and interests but also gains strength from this unique network of specialisms and resources. There is a strong focus on Practice as Research, based on a rich understanding of reflexive practice. Staff also produce work in more traditional formats. Our research has the potential for significant impact across a range of communities and beneficiaries.
The following areas have been identified as core interests for and common themes across the Conservatoire:
The Conservatoire runs a Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee led by a chair (one of the school Principals, currently Principal and Artistic Director of Rambert School, Amanda Britton) with research ‘champions’ from each school. This drives the Conservatoire’s and schools’ research priorities and strategies, encouraging and enabling all staff who so desire to become active in research. The committee also allocates resources to support staff activities. The Conservatoire runs regular training and development sessions on research for staff, led by internal and external experts. A Research Mentor, Professor Paul Allain, supports and advises staff individually and helps steer the direction of research within and across schools.
Knowledge exchange is a two-way process by which staff, researchers, individuals or organisations can share ideas, experiences and expertise outside of the higher education institution. As a provider of conservatoire-level education and training which is predominantly practice-based, knowledge exchange forms a central part of our activity. The Conservatoire schools provide a laboratory of creative practice which supports new artists and new work and the development of new companies, and forms the bedrock of the schools’ business and community activities. Our knowledge exchange activities range from local to overseas – from the National Centre’s development of circus training in team building for business people, to projects with international centres of training such as the National School of Drama in New Delhi and Moscow Arts Theatre School.
The Conservatoire’s five-year knowledge exchange strategy (2016-17 onwards) builds upon this strong profile of industry engagement and community interaction, whilst identifying new opportunities for expansion and innovation. The strategy identifies three priority objectives: a two-fold approach to human skills and capital development, enhancing student employability and maintaining the industry currency of staff which supports that employability; maximising exploitation of the schools’ physical and intellectual assets and building capacity to diversify income streams and increase resilience; and engaging young people and communities in the performing arts, enriching cultural capital and inspiring those who might not have considered a career in dance, drama or circus arts to consider conservatoire-level training.