The Prince's Foundation The Prince's Foundation
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Building Arts Programme

A collaboration between The Prince’s Foundation and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust aimed at students and practitioners whose practice or trade informs our built environment, including those with a focus on architecture, the building crafts and the decorative or applied arts.

At the heart of this programme is the idea that our built environment is a collaboration between a vast array of different discipline areas which are all fundamentally linked and interrelated. This holistic view of the world around us, looks to demonstrates the significant role that design, building arts, decorative and traditional crafts can play in creating places and spaces of both value and meaning.

Current practice, both educationally and vocationally, is to separate and teach these principles independently – this programme will look to provide a space for rediscovering shared learning and practice, enabling students to explore the multifaceted nature of the built environment and their role within it. On completion of the programme graduates will be in a position to approach their practice in a manner which is both better informed and multidisciplinary, working with others to create a built environment which is more than just the sum of its parts.

Start date

February 2022.


9 months, full time.


Dumfries House Estate in Scotland plus placements with master craftspeople across the UK

Costs and funding

Students will be awarded a full scholarship covering the course fees and provided with a monthly bursary of £1,400. Participants will be required to arrange and pay for their own travel and accommodation while on the course. The majority of materials needed for the course will be provided.

(Please note that programme will be predominately be delivered from Dumfries House, Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland, and therefore students will be required to find accommodation within daily travelling distance from Dumfries House.)

Please note that this programme requires full time attendance (Monday – Friday, with occasional weekend working). Breaks will be scheduled as follows 1 week, Autumn break, 2 week Winter break, 1 week Spring break.

Entry requirements

There are no set requirements for entry into this programme, as these will vary by discipline. However, this is not an entry level training course and therefore we would expect applicants to show a good level of proficiency in their individual area of practice, as well as demonstrating a desire and interest to broaden their understanding of the built environment, building arts, traditional craft, decorative and applied arts.

Student interest areas may include: (Please note this list is not exhaustive)

  • Architecture; Design, Geometry, Structures
  • Building Crafts; Woodwork, Stonemasonry, Plasterwork, Blacksmithing, Thatching, Brickwork
  • Traditional Crafts, Decorative and Applied Arts; Glasswork, Ceramics, Painting, Carving, Metal Work, Sculpture, Textiles.

How To Apply

The Building Arts Programme is currently closed for applications. The next session of the Building Arts Programme will commence in February 2022.

Applications for the Building Arts Programme 2022 will open in summer 2021, to be added to the mailing list please contact

You may also be interested in the Building Crafts Programme, which is currently open for applications until Monday 22nd March 2021. Find out more here

Course structure

This course is separated into four distinct stages.

1. Introductory Course:

  • Duration: 3 Weeks
  • Location: Dumfries House, East Ayrshire, Scotland

This three-week introductory programme explores the fundamental underpinnings of the Prince’s Foundation and QEST’s approach to the building arts and provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning. Split into three weeks, the first week will focus on traditional urbanism and design. Included in the week will be coursework on drawing, geometry, the social value and use of our built form and traditional urbanism. The second week focuses on the use of traditional building craft in the 21st century, exploring adaptation and function, vernacular architecture and place, sustainability and materiality. The final week brings in an emphasis on decorative and applied art, covering topics such as symbolism and meaning, social history, technical adaptation and traditional techniques and materials.

This course sets the stage for the following weeks, during which time students will be given the opportunity for hands-on practical learning across these discipline areas.

2. Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Modules:

  • Duration: 8 Weeks
  • Location: Dumfries House, East Ayrshire, Scotland

This element of the course is made of 8 intensive week-long practical workshops, taught by leading practitioners but with peer to peer learning incorporated as well. The first two weeks will have a focus on structure and form, including workshops in buildings crafts such as stone, timber, earth and brick. The third and fourth weeks have an emphasis on ornament and meaning, with coursework in decorative and applied arts such as painting, carving, plasterwork, ceramics and metalwork. The fifth week provides a focus on drawing and design, before the participants spend the final 3 weeks working on a collaborative student build project integrating elements from the prior weeks.

These modules have three principal aims:

  • To provide practical training in fundamental aspects of the three thematic areas (architecture/design, building craft and decorative/applied arts)
  • To demonstrate and explore the value/influence that other trades can have on an individual’s own practice
  • To guide participants towards a final project promoting a demonstration of interdisciplinary learning in practice

3. Individual placements

  • Duration: 12 Weeks
  • Location: UK-wide

The placement period is a chance for individuals to hone their skills within their own trade, although time can also be spent gaining further knowledge of other areas explored earlier in the programme. Placements can be arranged by the Prince’s Foundation and QEST, using our network of practitioners, or participants can work collaboratively with the programme coordinator to identify placements that best suit their needs. Placements are individual and can take place across the UK, but while on placements there will be opportunities to come together as a group for a series of short courses, such as training in business skills.

4. Final project

  • Duration: 10 Weeks
  • Location: Dependent on final project (but principally Dumfries House, East Ayrshire, Scotland)

During the early stages of the programme, students will select from a collection of predefined project briefs, these will form the basis of their final projects and will be developed and realised during this 10-week period. Prior to this industry placements will have been structured to help build the skill sets needed to deliver this. The projects will look to draw on the area of specialisation of the student (i.e. architecture, building craft or decorative/applied art) but with an emphasis on incorporating learning from the other trade areas. Examples include an architectural design or urban design project focused on a live Prince’s Foundation development, the design and production of a stained-glass ceiling or the design and build of a traditional structure. Dependent on the project brief, students may choose to work collaboratively with other students on the course.

What previous students have said

“Such a great range of experiences with real experts. I felt like a Renaissance man.”

“In my time so far with the Foundation Programme I have learnt a lot and have been taught a lot. It's like being on retreat for a whole year. Learning new skills and also learning lots about myself.”

“I have really enjoyed thinking and talking about work in a creative and positive way.”

Programme partners

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) funds the education of talented and aspiring craftspeople through traditional college courses, apprenticeships or one-to-one training with master craftspeople. QEST was established to help support craftspeople of all ages, from all backgrounds, at a critical stage in their careers, thus sustaining the evolving tradition of British craftsmanship. As a charity of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, QEST was established in 1990 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Association and the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. In May 2017 HRH The Prince of Wales became the charity’s Patron with Vice-Patrons The Earl of Snowdon and the Marquess of Salisbury. Since 1990 the Trust has awarded more than £4.3 million to over 500 craftspeople, across more than 150 craft disciplines including thatching, millinery, luthiery, enamelling, printmaking, textiles and much more.

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