Spotlight On Nova Scotia :: NSCAD University

Updated: Nov 4, 2021


Nova Scotia has a long and rich craft history that is continually evolving and often exploring the edges of contemporary craft. Throughout the province, there are carvers, weavers, glass makers and ceramicists, as well as a strong community of fibre artists. Many of these artisans work with traditional materials and find inspiration in the province’s history, culture, and natural landscape. So it makes sense that this province is home to one of Canada’s best art schools NSCAD University, also known as the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.


The university was founded in 1887 by Anna Leonowens, the inspirational character behind the famous musical, “The King and I.” Originally known as the Victoria School of Art and Design to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the university was the first degree-granting art school in Canada. Nowadays the university is known as a cutting edge centre for artistic innovation and political art as well as its amazing programs devoted to craft.


NSCAD offers BFA’s and MFA’s in craft with specializations in Ceramics, Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing, and Textiles/Fashion.


The BFA textile program offers students the opportunity to explore the diverse field of textiles and fashion, which encompasses art, science, and technology. It integrates three key areas of research: structure, surface and form. It balances conceptual concerns with the technical and design skills required to understand the textile traditions of weaving, dye and print and garment making.


The program examines the relationships textiles have played in world cultures. The program’s instructors are known for their expertise and creativity. Many will recognize names such as: Frances Dorsey, who works primarily with dye and print processes, and also weaves grounds upon which she then prints, as well as Lesley Armstrong of Armstrong Textile, who acknowledges that the colours and textures of a Maritime environment play a key role in the choice of the subtle, restrained hues used in her designs.


Students engaged in the BFA program are eligible for internships and exchanges, as well as submission to the Anna Leonowen’s Gallery. The MFA program is limited to 14 to 20 students per program. In addition, the university offers residency programs for recent grads in four sites throughout Nova Scotia.

Kyle Alden Martens on exhibit at the Anna Leonowens Gallery


The university runs a wide selection of adult summer programs from dyeing to art history to media arts.


NSCAD’s Extended program offers new classes in art, design and craft, each term. It also encourages practicing artists to propose new courses and workshops in these areas.

For more information contact: extendedstudies.nscad.ca/home

NSCAD University 5163 Duke Street Halifax, NS B3J 3J6

The university’s Anna Leonowen’s Gallery is also a dynamic space reflecting the richness of the university programming. It holds art talks, lithography workshops, and Art Bar +Projects,  a rotating performative installation space that aims to promote the discussion of art and ideas and celebrate art in Halifax. It also features a series of exhibitions throughout the year as well as a permanent collection and significant archives.


This university is at the heart of artistic opportunities in Canada. Many of their grads go on to to make important contributions to craft. It’s a fabulous resource. For those intrigued by continuing their studies, visit this link


NSCAD University 5163 Duke Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 3J6 (902) 444 9600 telephone, (902) 425 2420 fax

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