The Centre for Fine Arts, Music and Theatre encompasses three academic departments: the School of Fine Arts, the School of Music, and Theatre and Film Studies.
The School of Fine Arts was established in 1882 as the Canterbury College School of Art. It is the longest established art school in New Zealand and one of the oldest in the English speaking world. Throughout its history many of New Zealand’s leading artists have either taught at the school or have been pupils. Research revolves around basic teaching disciplines such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, design, and film (especially short films and documentaries).
The School of Music's research activities range broadly across the disciplines of musicology, ethnomusicology, music education, composition and performance.
Theatre and Film Studies (TAFS) is internationally recognised for the way its research brings together academic theory and artistic practice. Staff work both as scholars and as artists, publishing articles and books while also creating theatrical performances and films. Because performance research is intrinsically collaborative, students are often involved in staff projects as well as in the development of their own theatre and film projects, in particular at the postgraduate level, where students’ creative work often provides material for their thesis writing. A large number of past and present staff and student research projects are concerned with Maori issues, and members of the department have worked collaboratively with Maori scholars and artists on many projects.