This is a rich, vibrant arts school at the heart of a major research university

Student working in the LED lab


In the arts, being on the exploratory edge, supported and mentored by leading artists and scholars, is where creative breakthroughs and artistic development take place.

York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) is embedded in one of Canada’s largest universities where the innovation and new discoveries being made every day by faculty permeate the teaching that students receive. The passion that faculty feel for their discipline makes them inspiring teachers, and their scholarly and artistic discoveries are often incorporated into courses. AMPD’s faculty are active in their fields, often tackling the big debates in their disciplines and in the teaching practices associated with their art forms. That means students are at the leading edge of arts learning.

Male student composing music

In a research university this sense of exploration and experimentation is passed on from teacher to student.

Students in AMPD are encouraged to investigate and explore the outer reaches of the creative terrain that they are navigating. Mentored by the faculty and supported by the staff, students become their own creative force. Here the experimentation and risk of failure that is so ingrained in a research culture become the source of breakthroughs. And as much as AMPD believes in the process of exploration as a means to creative invention, this mode of working also teaches the work habits, ingenuity and innovation that are necessary characteristics of any successful creative career.

faculty and students working together

Developing as an artist and building capacity for disciplined creativity requires critical thought about one’s own work as well as the work of others.

As an arts school rooted in a research university, AMPD provides students with the framework for intellectual development, as well as space and time to reflect and consider the intent of their work and a deep understanding of their art, art form, and discipline. Within the context of a research university, arts students don’t simply implement, rehearse and practice. They innovate, explore and enrich a discipline, in addition to being able to understand and anticipate the future of that discipline.

Students working on a vertical fish sculpture


“When working with a professor that has established and continues to expand his or her own methods for creating theatre, we reap the benefits of these advancements and get to try them out in the studio…
We spend a lot of time developing our processes as theatre professionals… The discoveries we make every day inform our growth.”

– Sophie Mercer, BFA ’17 (Third Year Acting Student, Department of Theatre, AMPD)