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Research in the Arts

Oslo National Academy of the Arts is a specialized university within the subject area of the Arts. Research at the Academy is an undertaking within each of the six disciplinary departments: Arts and Crafts, Dance, Design, Fine Art, Opera, and Theatre. Working at the forefront of innovative art, design, and performance practice not only leads artistic research across the disciplines, but also intersects with education in a mutually rewarding development and feedback process.

At Oslo National Academy of the Arts, research is primarily conducted within the framework of “artistic research” which is understood as a creative activity within art, design, and performance that provides new insight, understanding, knowledge, and affects the field.
It is artistic practice itself, research through the arts, that constitutes what we refer to as the “artistic core” for these research activities.

Artistic research is not only based on artistic practices within the disciplines, but also includes a communicable focus on methods and critical reflection - including ethical questioning and disciplinary contextualization - with a concern for the preservation of academic freedom. The processes and results are openly shared on a continuous basis with the disciplinary communities and with the general public.

In the Norwegian Act relating to universities and university colleges, both artistic research and scientific research methods are equally recognized. Some of our faculty conduct research on, for, and about the arts based on scientific methods.
Scientific research at the Academy relates itself to the artistic fields and covers areas such as theory and art histories, pedagogy, and analysis of methods and tools including the body.

Current projects


The subject area of the Arts at the Academy include the disciplines of design, opera, theatre, dance, art and craft and fine art.

The discipline of dance

The Academy of Dance is interested in developing and challenging artistic practices and the parameters for what artistic research might be, and the insight it might provide. Particular focus is given to the following areas:

  • dance/choreography developing concepts, methods and practices with an orientation towards social engagement
  • perspectives, methods and practices of the art of dancing/performing

Researchers consider their practice and discourse with regard to the international field of performingarts. Particular interest is given to investigating formats for documentation and presentation within the current circumstances (e.g. location of work, media, liveness).

Current projects

The discipline of design

At the Design Department we recognize that the field of design is constantly developing, and the focus is currently shifting from the traditional technical, consuming concerns to social and cultural aspects. This shift has implications on the discipline of design and how it manifests itself in our contemporary society.

We therefore see a need for forms of investigation that encompass; experimental outlooks, and reflective and critical thinking, value creation and sustainability.

The Design Department values and celebrates plurality and difference in backgrounds, genders and generations and we see these differences as contributing and locating research within the spectrum of social values and their respective cultural contributions.

Current projects

The discipline of fine art

At the Academy of Fine Art, we work across media, disciplines and approaches, exploring questions of form and material as well as post-conceptual, social and political issues. We like to think of the Academy of Fine Art as a unique collective: artists from a variety of backgrounds, countries, fields, genders and generations who have come together to create what they consider an ideal space for the development of their artistic practices.

n dialogue with international art communities, we approach artistic research in an open-ended manner that is anchored within the specificity of individual artistic practices.

Current projects

The discipline of art and craft

Artistic research at the Art and Craft department takes an experimental approach to workshop-based art practices and an interest in the relationship between art, society, and the individual. It functions as a common meeting place that facilitates interaction and development between material-based art and public art strategies.

Current projects

The discipline of opera

The Opera Academy has national responsibility for opera education in Norway. With world-class teaching and stage facilities, the Opera Academy combines individual, group and project-based teaching.

Singing, acting techniques and language are together with stage productions and concerts the cornerstones of the study. Working with professional directors, conductors and a full stage technical team gives students a versatile, practical education.

Research at The Opera Academy seeks to develop the field of opera as an important and meaningful art form in our time, and to develop and extend the artistic boundaries of performing artists including singers, musicians, conductors, composers, librettists, directors, choreographers, scenographers and playwright.

Current projects

The discipline of theatre

Artistic research at the Academy of Theatre is part of a wide-ranging and multifaceted practice both in Norway and abroad. The artistic research that takes places here, also in collaboration with other institutions of higher education and research, is often rooted in practical and hands-on theatrical projects.

At the Academy of Theatre, we explore methods and concepts that help us develop the type of actor training we offer to our students. We both examine and challenge a variety of directorial functions and approaches to the methods and models of the theatrical arts, whether historical or contemporary, hierarchical or non-hierarchical. At the Master’s and PhD levels, we oversee a systematic experimentation of the discipline’s artistic, organisational and contextual possibilities.

The Academy of Theatre places particular emphasis on studying individual and collective strategies as mutually dynamic and creative challenges. Students and staff examine and experiment with the mechanisms of co creation, explore the discipline’s boundaries with other art forms, and enact and put to the test a variety of dramaturgical starting points, focal points and parameters. Innovative decolonising strategies and critical perspectives on power also continually contextualise the history and academic foundations of our discipline.

Current projects

Networks and cooperation

ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts)

ELIA is the primary independent network organisation for higher arts education. With over 300 members in 47 countries, it represents some 300,000 students in all art disciplines. ELIA advocates for the arts on the European level, creating new opportunities for its members and facilitating the exchange of best practices.

KUNO - An  Art Academy Without Walls

Kuno is a lively and ambitious NORPLUS network comprising 18 Nordic-Baltic fine art academies aiming to become an art academy without walls. By cooperating on a wide range of project activities, the member institutions commit themselves to the continued development of the higher fine art education in the region.

CIRRUS - Nordic Baltic Net of Art and Design Education

Cirrus is a Nordic-Baltic net of art and design education. The central activities of the partner institutions are art and design, including innovative activities, technical development and artistic practices.

CUMULUS - International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum forpartnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices. Currentløy, CUMULUS consists of 198 member institutions from 48 countries.

Ecoles des écoles

École des Écoles (EdE) is a European network focusing on teachers and students in performing arts. The network was established in 2006.


Nordplus enables us to collaborate closely with the Nordic and Baltic countries. We are currently member of the following networks financed by Nordplus:

The Society of Artistic Research (SAR) 

SAR is an international, non-profit organisation that nurtures, connects and disseminates artistic research as specific practices of creating knowledge and insight. SAR facilitates a range of encounters for its community of artistic practitioners in the pursuit of transformative understanding that impacts on political and societal processes as well as on cultures of research and learning.