The research students and postdoctoral fellows of the Sainsbury Institute for Art (SIfA) play a central role in its research culture. All the areas of staff research are represented amongst PhD students, and there are major groups in British art, Renaissance art, and the arts of Africa. There are currently over 10 PhD's students working on British art topics. The dedicated study spaces for postgraduates provided in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts fosters this lively and supportive research community. This concentration of activity creates a strong collaborative environment to support individual researchers. There are regular group meetings and events in British art.
In addition to the activities in the research groups, weekly postgraduate research seminars offer our research students the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback. Postgraduate students are also responsible for organising and leading annual symposia on a broad range of topics, attracting speakers from across the UK. In the 2012-13 academic year alone, we hosted and organised nine international conferences.
Our postgraduate students are located in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, designed by Norman Foster and described as: ‘perhaps the greatest resource of its type on any British campus' (Times Good University Guide, 2005). PhD's have a dedicated study area within the Centre and are fully integrated into the intellectual and academic life of the department. The Sainsbury Centre provides a wealth of resources under one roof – including the Robert Sainsbury Library, an extensive photographic collection, the renowned Sainsbury collection of art, dedicated student computing facilities and relaxing light-filled communal areas. These bring our students and staff together in an informal environment and contribute to the lively, engaged research community at SIfA.
When the Institute was created one of its aims was to design a new pathway for doctoral research by practice, to promote research as part of the career development of curators, museum educators and artists in residence. We maintain active links with Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service. Our students can also benefit from the thriving arts and culture scene in Norwich, as well as the rich local history; the city is home not only to the 12th-century cathedral but also to 36 medieval parish churches – more than any other city in northern Europe.