Research Strategy

Large white neon numbers projected to the back of a stage over performers standing facing the back

Research Strategy 2021–26

Considerable investment in research at the Guildhall School has brought substantial returns in expanded activity and clear resulting benefits.

Apart from consistent successes in research grant capture, there have been positive effects far beyond the Research Department, on colleagues’ vocation for the generation of new knowledge through creativity, and the institution’s reputation for progressive thinking and action. In particular, the School’s concern for how the performing arts relate to social issues has been nourished by research activity, as have the expanded possibilities for partnerships that feed into teaching and other activities. 

Our priorities for the next five years aim to address the precise role research has to play in the performing arts, what kinds of research will be the most appropriate in the near future, and how they will feed into the School’s overall strategy.

Accordingly, strategy has been shaped by four general principles:

  • to add, in more and more areas of our activity, research excellence to existing excellence in artist training in the belief that the former will support and extend the latter;
  • to establish coherent, transparent, flexible and equitable ways of implementing that support, consistent with our progressive values;
  • to emphasise further the role of research as a means of fostering the multi- and interdisciplinary integration that is crucial to our identity, our ethos and our USP;
  • to align our research activity not only with our teaching but also with our civic, outreach, knowledge exchange and income-generating activities, the better to embody our mission statement, particularly its central reference to the formation of artist-citizens;

and by six immediate priorities conceived to grow our distinctive research culture:

  • to maintain an inclusive approach in developing areas (e.g. Drama) while targeting newly established areas of strength (e.g. Social Impact) for support;
  • to build more energetically on internal collaborations between Research and other departments in the areas of arts leadership, coaching and mentoring, and social justice;
  • to promote further the School’s distinctive interactions of scholarship and practice;
  • to institute responsive and agile internal mechanisms to devise research work-packages to meet specific School needs;
  • to capitalise better on the School’s continued high profile in composition research;
  • to develop more strongly the School’s creative influence in performing arts practices/digital performance, including through existing and future spin-out companies.

The strategy is underpinned by eight key measures to ensure the sustainability of research in both culture and infrastructure:

  • better embedding of research-led teaching at undergraduate and Master’s level;
  • increased instrumentalisation of the doctoral programme as a specific means of development for particular areas of work;
  • rescaling of the doctoral programme to an optimal 50-55 students;
  • the achievement of Research Degree Awarding Powers;
  • enhanced provision for research training of staff, including beyond the doctorate;
  • development of the post-doctoral culture into an integrated package of support for Early-Career Researchers;
  • better integration of Research and Knowledge Exchange activity, and the development of a distinctive KE strategy;
  • concrete diversity measures particular to Research but in line with extensive cross-School initiatives.