Universiteit Leiden

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Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)

Research assessment 2018

To safeguard the quality of research within Leiden University, a committee of external experts evaluates the University’s institutes once every six years according to the Standard Evaluation Protocol, which is drawn up by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Research Quality: Excellent


The assessment of the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA) took place at the end of 2018. In preparation of this, the institute wrote a self-assessment report. During the site visit in October 2018 an international review committee, consisting of prof.dr. Andrea Braidt (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; president ELIA), prof.dr. Ken Friedman (Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia) and dr. Jeremy Cox (former Chief Executive of the Association Europénne der Conservatoires. Académies de Muisque et Musikhochschulen, AEC) spoke with members from several sections within the institute. The committee wrote a report based on the self-assessment and their findings during the site visit.

The assessment of ACPA became a joint venture to which all members of the institute contributed: from supplying research output and information about the PhD programmes to participating in discussions with the committee and celebrating the preliminary results after the site visit. The assessment report has now been written and the committee recognizes all the hard work by the ACPA staff. This page contains a summary of the results. The self-assessment report and the full assessment report can be downloaded at the right-hand side of this page. 

The Institute

ACPA’s position is strong and highly influential in artistic research worldwide. ACPA’s engagement in the Society for Artistic Research (SAR), the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR) and the ERC has brought artistic research in Europe forward in many ways. The institute’s production is impressive and is driven by a strategy that aims to provide output at the highest possible relevant level.


The research within the institute was positively assessed on the three assessment criteria: research quality, relevance to society, and viability. 

Research quality 

The review committee assessed the overall research quality of ACPA to be ‘excellent’. ACPA can confidently be said to be among the most influential contributors worldwide to the highly specialised field of artistic research. Much of the credit for the establishment and subsequent growth of the field of artistic research may be attributed to ACPA and those associated with it.

Relevance to society

The overall relevance to society of ACPA is assessed to be ‘very good’. ACPA’s output is not only relevant for the domain of research within the specialised world of academia, but just as much for society, art and culture. The committee recommends formulating an institute-wide policy, drawing on existing good practice, especially in art/design.


The committee assessed the overall viability of ACPA to be ‘good’. Given the financial and other constraints within which the institute operates (among wich a heavy dependency on PhD completions), the strategy and targets drawn up by ACPA are well conceived for maintaining and enhancing the quality of research. The 10-year agreement between Leiden University and the University of the Arts The Hague is laudable and the support form the Faculties of Humanities is strong. The committee endorses the plans for establishing an ACPA Laboratory in Leiden for the experimentation and presentation of artistic research.

PhD training and education programme

PhD training and the support for artistic research are at the core of ACPA’s mission. Through the docARTES and PhDArts programmes, ACPA is a major contributor of qualified PhDs in artistic research internationally. The approach is in line with the Florence Principles and constitutes a model example of a PhD programme in artistic research. The committee notes that the quality of the theses, according to the list of the PhD theses 2012 – 2017, appears to be very high and the completion rates are generally good. Most alumni continue their career as professional artists and some obtain positions in art universities or research universities.

ACPA is very pleased with the outcome of the assessment. The hard work of all members of the institute has been rewarded with this review and the committee gave some useful recommendations to strengthen the institute. In the coming time, the ACPA management team will work on putting the recommendations of the assessment report into practice. All in all, the MT would like to thank everyone who contributed to this positive outcome and is confident that, working together, we can do even better in the future.

More information about research assessments at Leiden University (including reports of previous assessments) can be found here.


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