Silpakorn University: Thailand’s Top Arts Hub for Creativity and Talent

Silpakorn University, located in Bangkok, Thailand, has long been the country’s premier institution for nurturing creativity in the realms of visual and performing arts. Established in 1943, the university has its roots in the School of Fine Arts, which, at the time, offered the only painting and sculpture programs in Thailand, and even waived tuition fees for government officials and students.

Over the years, Silpakorn University has expanded in reach and influence, becoming renowned for producing highly skilled professionals in Thailand’s artistic domain.

Today, the university’s curriculum covers a diverse range of disciplines, including fine arts, as well as architecture, archaeology, decorative arts, and science. Situated on a picturesque campus known as Phra Palace, Silpakorn University boasts an intimate connection to Thailand’s Royal Family, since the Grand Palace is located nearby.

As a result, the institution enjoys a special position in preserving traditional Thai architectural styles through the designs created by its faculty members for government and religious buildings.

Silpakorn University continues to provide an enriching hub for aspiring Thai artists and performers, combining theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on learning. The institution prides itself on retaining a strong connection to Thailand’s cultural heritage while providing its students with ample opportunity for growth, exploration, and experimentation in their chosen fields. As such, Silpakorn has become synonymous with excellence in the pursuit of arts, carving a unique and essential niche in the landscape of Thai education.

History and Founding

Silpakorn University, Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, traces its origins to 1933 when it was established as the School of Fine Arts under Thailand’s Fine Arts Department. The school initially offered only painting and sculpture programs and waived tuition fees for government officials and students.

The Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci, who later adopted the Thai name Silpa Bhirasri, was the first director of the university. Bhirasri played an instrumental role in developing the institution, leading it until his death in 1962. On October 12th, 1943, the School of Fine Arts was officially granted university status and renamed Silpakorn University.

At the time of its inception, the university was located at the Sanam Chandra Palace, the former residence of King Rama VI. Later on, the university moved to other parts of Bangkok. The inaugural faculty was the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture, which is now known as the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts.

Silpakorn University has always had a strong connection with the Thai royal family. For example, it played a significant role in the restoration and preservation of the Grand Palace and other historical sites. This royal patronage has helped to establish and maintain the university’s reputation as a premier institution for the arts in Thailand.

Some notable historical events and milestones associated with Silpakorn University include:

  • The establishment of the School of Fine Arts in 1933
  • The tenure of Corrado Feroci (Silpa Bhirasri) as the first director
  • The official renaming of the school as Silpakorn University in 1943
  • The move from Sanam Chandra Palace to other locations in Bangkok
  • The development of strong ties with the Thai royal family, including involvement in the restoration and preservation of the Grand Palace and other historical sites

Today, Silpakorn University is under the supervision of the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education, and continues to train and influence future generations of Thai artists and performers.

Campuses and Locations

Silpakorn University, renowned as Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, is spread across five main campuses that cater to various disciplines in these fields. The first and main campus, Tha Phra Palace, is situated on Rattanakosin Island in the heart of Bangkok. The campus is located right opposite the Grand Palace and occupies an area of 8 rai. Historically, this location was once the home of Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong and sits right next to the Chao Phraya River.

Another important campus of Silpakorn University is the Phetchaburi Information Technology Campus, which is located in the Sampraya District of Phetchaburi Province. Covering a vast area of 820 Rai, this campus boasts a picturesque setting that is close to the seaside provinces of Thailand’s western region, making it a popular venue for tourism.

As of 2018, the university has expanded to include:

  • 13 Faculties
  • 1 Graduate school
  • 1 College

These institutions cover major fields of art, design, science and technology, health science, social science, and humanities. With a strong foundation in visual and performing arts, Silpakorn University has taken strides in nurturing creativity and education across its various faculties and campuses.

Being a part of various campuses, the students at Silpakorn University get exposure to diverse cultural offerings and likewise foster an environment of creative inspiration. Along with its historical ties and dedication to academic excellence, Silpakorn University continues to be a leading institution in Thailand’s artistic and educational landscape.

Silpakorn university, Bangkok

Academic Programs

Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts

At Silpakorn University, the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts focuses on a range of subjects in the arts, from painting and sculpture to graphic arts. Established in 1943, the inaugural faculty famously only offered two programs: painting and sculpture. Today, the faculty has expanded to offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various arts disciplines.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various scientific disciplines. Students can choose from majors in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The faculty is well-known for its research capabilities and contributes significantly to the university’s overall scientific achievements.

Faculty of Pharmacy

Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Pharmacy is dedicated to providing high-quality education in pharmacetical sciences. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences, ensuring students have a strong foundation to excel in the pharmaceutical industry as well as research careers.

Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Technology

The Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Technology provides a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in fields such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, and industrial engineering. With a focus on innovation and sustainable development, the faculty aims to prepare students for careers in both industry and academia.

Faculty of Management Science

Educating future business leaders, the Faculty of Management Science offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in management, marketing, finance, and accounting. In addition, the faculty places a strong emphasis on international business, offering programs through its International College (SUIC).

Faculty of Architecture

The Faculty of Architecture at Silpakorn University is renowned for its focus on both traditional and contemporary design. It offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in fields such as architecture, interior design, and urban planning, emphasizing sustainable development and cultural heritage preservation.

Faculty of Education

With a focus on educating future teachers and educational leaders, the Faculty of Education offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields of education. Students can choose from teacher training programs in subject areas like mathematics, science, English, and social studies, as well as more specialized programs in educational administration and curriculum development.

Faculty of Music

As part of Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, the Faculty of Music offers programs in both classical and contemporary musical styles. Students can pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in disciplines such as music performance, composition, and music education.

Faculty of Information and Communication Technology

The Faculty of Information and Communication Technology provides students with cutting-edge education in the rapidly evolving fields of computer science and information technology. The faculty offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in computer science, software engineering, and information technology management, preparing students for successful careers in today’s technology-driven world.

Faculty of Agriculture and Animal Science

Offering programs in both agriculture and animal science, the Faculty of Agriculture and Animal Science at Silpakorn University enables students to study a wide range of subjects related to food production, animal husbandry, and environmental management. With undergraduate and postgraduate programs available, students are well-equipped for careers in agriculture, animal science, and sustainable development.

Research and Development

At Silpakorn University, the research and development initiatives cover a wide range of academic disciplines, including mathematics, agriculture, performing arts, literature, history, and archaeology.

In the field of mathematics, the university dedicates resources to advancing theoretical and applied knowledge, fostering collaboration between students and professors. This helps ensure that students are prepared for research-based careers and are equipped with mathematical skills to contribute to various scientific disciplines.

Silpakorn University’s agriculture research aims to address challenges faced by the agrarian sector in Thailand. These efforts encompass sustainable farming practices, crop management, and innovation in food production to help feed the growing population and preserve natural resources for future generations.

As Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, Silpakorn University is deeply invested in the performing arts. Research projects explore various aspects of traditional and contemporary arts, including Thai dance, music, and drama. The goal is to achieve a balance between preserving cultural heritage and pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

Literature is another crucial area of research at Silpakorn University. Scholars delve into the rich literary traditions of Thailand, interpreting and analyzing various works to gain a better understanding of the socio-cultural and historical contexts that shaped them.

In the realms of history and archaeology, Silpakorn University’s research focuses on both regional and global perspectives. Researchers examine the chronological, cultural, and historical development of various societies throughout history, uncovering valuable insights into the past and present that inform the academic community and the general public alike.

Silpakorn University has a strong commitment to research and development, ensuring that the institution remains at the forefront of innovation in its various fields of study. With this dedication to academic excellence, Silpakorn University plays a crucial role in shaping the future of Thailand’s cultural, scientific, and intellectual landscape.

Prominent Alumni and Faculty

Silpakorn University has a rich history of producing notable alumni and fostering talented faculty members. Some of the most distinguished individuals from the institution include royalty, national artists, and the founding father of the university himself.

One of the most renowned alumni from Silpakorn University includes members of the Thai Royal family, such as Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Princess of Thailand, who has been actively involved in promoting arts, science, and technology within the country. In addition, Princess Chulabhorn and Princess Siribhachudabhorn, also alumni of the institution, are respected for their significant contributions to the Thai arts and culture scene.

Aside from royalty, the university has also produced several National Artists of Thailand, a prestigious title awarded to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the nation’s arts and culture. Some of these national artists have gone on to become well-established in their fields, with their art and teachings inspiring future generations of artists and designers.

Another remarkable figure associated with Silpakorn University is Professor Silpa Bhirasri, an Italian-born sculptor who is also considered the father of modern Thai art. Bhirasri played an integral role in founding the university back in 1933, initially known as the School of Fine Arts. His dedication towards the development of art in Thailand has made him a beloved figure, and his legacy lives on through the many talented individuals that pass through the university’s doors.

In conclusion, Silpakorn University has been a significant platform for the growth and recognition of some of the most talented and influential artists, academicians, and royalty in Thailand. The contributions of these prominent alumni and faculty members have undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the nation’s arts and culture.

Cultural Impact and Community Outreach

Silpakorn University, Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, has had a tremendous impact on the nation’s cultural scene. By training and nurturing talented artists and performers, the university has contributed to the development and growth of various art forms in Thailand.

One of the key aspects of Silpakorn University’s cultural impact is the variety of artists that have emerged from its programs. These include painters, sculptors, filmmakers, photographers, and designers, all of whom have gone on to establish successful careers in their respective fields. Many alumni have also become influential figures, shaping government policy and promoting art appreciation throughout Thai society.

In the realm of performing arts, Silpakorn has played a significant role in training and fostering top-notch talent in disciplines such as theater, dance, and music. The university’s Faculty of Archaeology offers programs that provide students with a solid foundation in not only these art forms, but also their cultural significance and historical context. This has led to groundbreaking collaborations between artists and cultural institutions, helping to further promote and develop the performing arts in Thailand.

The university’s community outreach efforts have positioned Silpakorn as a key player in the intersection between government, business, and arts sectors. By partnering with various cultural institutions and developing projects aimed at engaging the wider public, the university has been able to promote the importance of artistic and cultural endeavors.

Examples of community outreach initiatives include:

  • art exhibitions
  • public workshops and seminars
  • community-based cultural projects
  • collaborations with local businesses and organizations

Through its dedication to the arts and community engagement, Silpakorn University has had a lasting and substantial effect on Thailand’s cultural landscape, leading to new opportunities for artists, performers, and art enthusiasts alike.

COVID-19 Response

Silpakorn University, as one of Thailand’s leading institutions for visual and performing arts, has adapted its operations and implemented measures in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The university’s response reflects the wider approach taken by the Thai government and healthcare system.

Thailand has been praised for its resilience and solidarity in dealing with the pandemic. The government implemented several measures such as strengthening surveillance, laboratory capacity and engaging private and public sectors on vaccine development.

At Silpakorn University, health and safety of students, faculty, and staff are a top priority. Some responses to COVID-19 include:

  • Transition to online learning: Like many other educational institutions, Silpakorn University shifted its classes to remote learning platforms, enabling students to continue progressing academically while maintaining social distancing.

  • Preventive measures on campus: If physical presence is necessary, the university enforces strict hygiene practices and social distancing. Face masks, hand sanitizers, and temperature checks are now commonplace at campus entrances.

  • Collaboration with the arts community: Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on the arts sector, Silpakorn University has collaborated with its community and partners to promote virtual exhibits, digital media projects and online performances.

  • Support for affected students and staff: The university has provided financial assistance, mental health support, and other resources to those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While adapting to the current situation, Silpakorn University stays committed to its role as Thailand’s premier institution for visual and performing arts, contributing creatively and academically to the fight against the pandemic.