Art and Design research

Area of research excellence: Art and Design

Recent years have seen unprecedented investment in Art and Design with the opening of the dedicated state of the art space at the city centre Locksbrook Campus, an anchor point in the regional creative industries.

An academic restructure has focused on separate but closely aligned subject areas, and research has been prioritised resulting in significant growth in the number of staff submitted to REF2021, which is up 50% since 2014. Doctoral student numbers have increased, as has grant capture. Art and Design has a long established reputation in the region with strong links to local educational, cultural and commercial sectors.

Our work covers a broad range of disciplines. Art ranges from the more traditional fine arts such as painting and photography to applied arts, particularly ceramics, artists’ books and curatorial projects. The design disciplines are largely aligned with fine art and include textiles and various forms of graphic and visual communication. A growing number of staff are engaged in textual, historical and critical studies and much of the practice based work is supported by theoretical enquiry, in the form of journal articles and catalogue essays.

The work in Art and Design can be described in four established thematic strands through:

  • Participatory curatorial practice
  • Disruptive forms of illustration,
  • The role of contemporary painting
  • Materials and making.

Alongside the Art Research Centre, staff are also working in collaboration with the university-wide Making Books Research Centre hosted by the School of Humanities, which explores the concept of the book as both a designed artefact and object of study with the University’s strategic Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education on diverse ‘Creative Pedagogies’ emerging from creative practice.

There are also a series of more recently formed research clusters, reflecting emerging research strengths in animation, performance, product and interior design, and staff who continue to work independently.

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