top of page

Creative and Performing Arts & Design

In addressing this task the group stresses its commitment to valuing and promoting cultural, artistic, and pedagogical diversity, placing particular emphasis on securing and enhancing the student learning experience that supports students to become creative mediators and producers in today's rapidly changing societies and communities. It also places a strong emphasis on promoting student-centred approaches to learning, teaching, and assessment, and the constructive alignment of learning and assessment.


The framework builds on the work of the previous Tuning process of 2007, which resulted in the creation of the learning outcomes framework for Design, Fine Art, Film, Music and the Performing Arts, and also involved contributions from the same major CPAD discipline networks and representatives of the professional organisations and employers. The current process builds on the skills and competences identified during the Tuning process, but includes five major societal topics, which reflect the diverse ways CPAD can contribute to societal well-being, public discourse, and the development of the creative industries. The current process continues with this approach and makes every effort to represent the diverse values of the CPAD sector by involving networks, professionals and student contributions. This inclusive approach ensured that the perspectives of the various stakeholders were considered and integrated into the development of these frameworks.


The CPAD SAG process respects the autonomy of the institutions and encourages them to develop their distinctiveness and a quality culture that underpins their mission and vision.


The overarching aim is not to create a prescriptive framework, as all arts institutions must be free to decide how they design and implement their programmes and curricula. Instead, it is intended to provide institutions with frameworks that will allow them to map their programmes against the level descriptors and learning outcomes for the three cycles (Bachelor, Masters, and Doctorate) to ensure the quality and level of the student learning experience. The student perspective is an essential component of the framework, ensuring that learners' needs and aspirations are considered when developing and implementing programmes and curricula in the CPAD sector.

The Creative and Performing Arts and Design Subject Area Group (SAG) was invited by the Tuning CALOHEE ERASMUS+ Programme, whose task is to serve as a sound basis for defining the programme learning outcomes of individual degree programmes of the first, second and third cycle (Bachelor, Master and Doctorate), to represent the CPAD sector. The aim was to address two main objectives, firstly to review and further develop the Subject Area Qualifications Framework for the Bachelor, Master and Doctorate levels for the CPAD sector and secondly to produce Subject Area based Assessment Frameworks, including identifying appropriate strategies and approaches/methodologies for student-centred learning, teaching and assessment. 

It is important to stress the intention is not to create a prescriptive framework, but to be used as guidelines, as all arts institutions must be free to decide how they design and implement their programmes and curricula.


The CPAD SAG was coordinated by EQ-Arts (an independent, international arts specialist Quality Assurance and Enhancement Agency, based in the Netherlands) and Dublin Technical University (DTU). The coordinators invited the international arts discipline networks CUMULUS (Design), the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA - Arts), CILECT (Film) and the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC – Music) to nominate appropriate discipline experts, as well as the European Students Union (ESU) to nominate students, along with highly experienced arts specialists from other CPAD disciplines to work on the project. The CPAD group has 17 members including a student representative, from 12 European countries, 13 arts universities, and representatives from 3 international creative and performing arts and design discipline networks.


The group was convened through a combination of live and virtual meetings over a period of two years, fostering collaboration and reflection, enabling the representatives to obtain feedback from the networks, and ensuring that all perspectives were considered and integrated into the development of these frameworks.

Creative and Performing Arts and Design (CPAD) is a central part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), encompassing a diverse range of disciplines including the visual/fine arts, music, dance, theatre, film, and design. As an integral component of the broader educational landscape, CPAD contributes significantly to European societies' cultural, social, and economic development. Through fostering creativity, critical thinking, and innovation, CPAD has the potential to inspire positive change, substantially enhance well-being and enrich the lives of individuals and communities across Europe and beyond.


The CPAD sector works closely with the wider professional cultural sector, playing a vital role in the ongoing development of a vibrant arts and culture scene as well as the expansive creative industries. The impact of the creative industries is realised in its ability to drive innovation and development is a key driver of economic growth and employment. The sector is known for its creativity, diversity, and ability to adapt to changing trends and technologies. CPAD fully recognises the needs of society and the world of work for the development of creativity and generative critical thinking, which are key attributes of higher arts education. It is widely acknowledged and recognised that the European Higher Arts Education (EHAE) sector has a major role in, and makes a considerable impact on, public discourse, creativity, cultural and societal inclusion, the environment, the economy and business including the creative industries, public policy, professional practices, industry, public health and significantly, wellbeing.

About CPAD​

CPAD Qualifications Reference Framework (QRF)

Introduction to the CPAD QRF

Developing a comprehensive Qualification Reference Framework (QRF) with associated assessment frameworks that represented the diversity and contested nature of Creative and Performing Arts & Design (CPAD) higher education practices was the main task of the CPAD group. The process was coordinated by EQ-Arts and TU Dublin and the group was made up of higher arts education representatives from Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Austria and The Netherlands. 


The challenge facing the group was multifaceted. Unlike unitary subjects such as History, the CPAD subject area included disciplines that were obviously co-located in the creative academic domain but had significant differences in form and expression. In addition, each individual discipline displayed considerable diversity in teaching, learning and assessment methodologies/practices depending on history, tradition and geographical location. Developing a single or set of QRFs that acknowledged not only the diversity of practices, but also the continuous debate over these practices that are a hall mark of disciplines in the creative academic sector was particularly difficult. In order to address this complex challenge, the coordinators decided that they would invite the main representative arts discipline networks the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) for music, the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) for contemporary performing arts and design, CILECT for film, CUMULUS for design to nominate experts to be part of the CPAD SAG. These experts would pass on all its deliberations and initial drafts of the QRF to be forwarded to the networks for comment and endorsement. The group had 3 physical meetings lasting 2 – 3 days each and supplemented these with 10-12 virtual meetings over an 18-month period. Additionally each SAG discipline group worked extensively in between meetings developing, debating and drafting parts of the QFR.


The task set by the CALOHEx Steering Group was twofold. Firstly, the SAG groups were asked to develop a grid based on the dimension descriptors used by the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the descriptors used in the European Qualification Framework (EQF) that would capture the main Learning Outcomes achieved by a student on completion of a Level 6, 7 or 8 degree programme. The five EHEA dimensions are listed on the vertical axis of the grid, while the three EQF descriptors are listed on the horizontal axis. The CPAD SAG group adjusted the vertical axis to reflect the nature of the CPAD subject area, Subject Qualification Framework (SQF), including dimensions familiar to the creative arts. Learning Outcomes were then drafted for each section of the grid under the EQF descriptor headings. The second task was to expand this generic QRF grid into an Assessment Framework by specifying more detailed discipline specific learning outcomes (subsets) that are aligned to the QRF, to enable them to be used in an assessment exercise. See Generic tables of Qualifications Reference Frameworks: Bachelor/Master/Doctorate  and the individual [Design, Film, Fine Art, Music, Performing Arts] Discipline Qualification Assessment Reference Framework tables for the three cycles.


An initial meeting at the University of Pisa produced a draft general QRF for BA (Level 6) and MA (Level 7) and in the subsequent discussions online it quickly became apparent that the generic framework did not fully capture or represent the diversity of teaching, learning and assessment practices in the CPAD subject area. The QRF for Level 8 (Doctorate/PhD) studies was drafted after the first meeting in Pisa and was surprisingly more uniform probably reflecting the more generic qualities of an advanced research degree. The level of difference and diversity at Levels 6 and 7 became very obvious when the CPAD SAG began work on the 2nd task of developing the discipline-specific competences/learning outcomes (subsets), and it was decided after discussion and consultation that the development of a set of discipline specific learning outcomes would be required. The subsequent meetings at the University of Coimbra and UNED Madrid focused on creating and testing an assessment framework for each discipline, using the generic CPAD dimensions and discipline-specific subsets. The process of seeking feedback and extensive consultation with colleagues continued and the discipline groups in the SAG involved their own networks and home universities in a matching exercise (see the link to the Tuning CPAD Matching Exercise document) to see how closely the proposed QRF grids resembled (or not) current practice in the field.


The Qualification Assessment Reference Frameworks presented here are intended primarily as a tool that will help colleagues who wish to develop programmes in the CPAD area, and inform students what their learning experience will involve.

Click below to view and download the Generic tables of Qualifications Reference Frameworks: Bachelor/Master’s/Doctorate:

General Descriptors of Bachelor/Master’s/Doctorate programmes

Discipline tables of Qualifications Assessment Reference Frameworks: Bachelor /Master’s/Doctorate

The CPAD SAG has located the discipline Qualification Assessment Reference Framework tables for the three cycles within the disciplines ,see:  Design, FilmFine Art, Music, Performing Arts. The aim is to expand the generic QRF grid into an Assessment Framework by specifying more detailed discipline specific learning outcomes (subsets) that are aligned to the QRF, to enable them to be used in an assessment exercise.




CPAD encompasses a diverse range of disciplines and for this exercise we have focussed on the following discipline cluster groups:



Fine Art

Performing Arts

The Creative and Performing Arts & Design Subject Area Group (SAG)

Professor John Butler +
CPAD SAG co-Coordinator, Fine Art, CEO EQ-Arts & Professor Emeritus of Art,
The Netherlands
Dr. Sarah Bennett
Dr. Sarah Bennett
Fine Art, Artist & Visiting Fellow, Kingston University, UK
Kieran Corcoran
Co- Chair CPAD , Head of TU Dublin School of Creative Arts and Senior Research Fellow ,TU Dublin School of Art and Design
Blanka Chladkova
Theatre, Vice Dean, Janacek Academy of Performing Arts, Czech Republic 
Paula Crabtree +
Performing and Fine Arts, Vice Chancellor, Stockholm University of the Arts, Sweden
Ramunė Balevičiūtė
Theatre/Film, Vice Rector for Art and Research, LMTA, Lithuania
Manuel Jose Damasio**
Film/Media, Head of the Film and Media Department, Universidade Lusofona, Portugal
Professor Anthony Dean
Theatre, Professor Emeritus of Performing Arts, University of Winchester, UK
Leander Gussmann
Fine Art PhD student, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria
Dr. Sarah Bennett
Jana Keeble**
Film, Vice Dean, VSMU, Slovakia
Aija Freimane ***
Design, Associate Professor, Fellow postdoctoral researcher in Design, TU Dublin School of Creative Arts, Ireland
Georgios Papadopoulos
Fine Art, Adjunct researcher - Lecturer Artistic Research, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece
Paula Tuovinen
Dance, Director, Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Micol Manuta
Review and Project Assistant

* nominated by the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC)
** nominated by the International Association of Film and Television Schools – Cilect
*** nominated by the global association of art and design education and research – CUMULUS
+ member of the Tuning Fine Art Group
++ member of the Tuning Theatre Group
+++ member of the Tuning Theatre Group

CPAD Terminology

Click the image to view and download a table of terminogies used throughout the text within the Creative and Performing Arts & Design section of this website

 CPAD Terminology

Teaching & Learning Examples
  • Learning that takes place through both online platforms and face-to-face environments.

  • Bringing together students, staff, and industry professionals to discuss current research topics and trends in the creative and performing arts and design sector 

  • Projects or practice that provide students with opportunities to develop professional skills and experience in working with others in a specific social or community context

  • Visual and/or aural presentations of a technique or process, often accompanied by a discussion of the underlying principles and concepts. 

  • Delivering education and support through online platforms, enabling students to study from remote locations or flexible schedules. 

  • This term has two possible meanings in a performing arts context. Firstly, that an audience itself is constituted by a diverse (heterogeneous) range of individual audience members. Secondly, that a performance may be given to different audiences that are comprised of individuals with similar (heterogeneous) characteristics (e.g., children or people drawn from a specific community).

  • A type of knowledge that resides in the body and is also gained through the body, and that enables an individual to produce a constant flow of senses and actions, where the body, not the mind, is the knowing subject.

  • An agreed period of study undertaken in another institution and country, usually as part of a recognised programme e.g., Erasmus

  • Organised visits (national or international) to cultural sites and institutions, galleries, museums, auditoria, screenings, and other relevant locations to gain exposure to different styles, techniques, and presentation contexts in art and design. 

  • Organised visits (national and international) to cultural sites and institutions, theatres, concert halls, opera, festivals, auditoria, dance centres and other relevant public venues to gain exposure to different styles, techniques and performance practice in dance, drama, music. 

  • Group discussions and evaluations of student work to provide constructive feedback and encourage growth. 

  • A collaborative event where students work together to find creative solutions to a problem or challenge. 

  • Encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning through self-directed study and exploration. 

  • Regular individual learning through self-directed study and exploration.

  • A programme of workshops and activities designed to help students develop essential study skills and familiarise themselves with workshops, health and safety, library resources and services. 

  • Hands-on work experience in the creative and performing arts and design sector offering students opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge in a professional context. 

  • Dedicated and equipped spaces for students to experiment, explore and create work in a hands-on environment. 

  • Presenting information and knowledge on a specific topic through lecture and visual and/or aural aids, with optional Q&A session.

  • Visit from an external professional expert, a visiting teacher, who teaches a selection of students individually in a public setting.

  • Educational teacher-student setting commonly used in most creative and performing arts and design programmes, to teach and develop technical and creative skills catered to the individual student’s needs.

  • Facilitates learning through shared online space for commentary and discussion.

  • Small-group sessions led by students to provide support and feedback to their peers. 

  • A structured programme of work placement that provides students with opportunities to develop professional skills and experience in the creative and performing arts and design sector

  • Collaborative team-based or individual period of study that enable students to explore a particular topic or area of interest in depth and explore technical and artistic skills. Projects can be self-initiated or set as part of a curriculum.

  • Organised, regular practice sessions for chamber music ensembles and orchestral projects. Chamber music can be rehearsed with or without a coach, orchestras rehearse with a conductor.

  • A space for students to come together to share their research and explore different perspectives, methods and theories.