As mentioned in our previous blog the report on UoA 34 mentions that Art & Design (UoA 34) proved itself as a leader in interdisciplinary research. In REF 2014 interdisciplinarity emerged as a distinct and a growing phenomenon, particularly within areas of product and digital design, film, curatorship, media studies, conceptual and performance based art practice.
An interesting point for reflection is that although Art & Design (UoA 34) did feature a significant volume of interdisciplinary research it was not identified as such by the submitting HEIs.
Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive, University of Plymouth distinguishes several important factors that can impede or encourage interdisciplinary research. Please refer to HEFCE blog for the full article.
The policy landscape
- Interdisciplinary outputs in REF 2014 were rated equally well to mono- disciplinary ones
- Despite the fact that the academic community values interdisciplinary research, many would not advise an early-career researcher to participate before they had established their own disciplinary credentials.
Working away from home
- Working away from your discipline can be somewhat uncomfortable
- a large team working across different sites, organisations or sectors; or
- funders and publishers guiding and sourcing reviewers with the skills and diversity of understanding to ensure robust and effective peer review of interdisciplinary proposals and work
- Culture and structure of the academic organisations
There is a real opportunity to promote the research landscape that delivers and facilitates interdisciplinary research that addresses complex socio-economic and more global challenges.
Read more below about interdisciplinarity in Stern review and in HEFCE consultation Continue reading “Interdisciplinary Research”
We’ve spent a good part of the past few months discussing the proposals with a wide range of people and organisations – thank you all for your willingness to engage and share your ideas. We’ve already shared a lot of the feedback we’ve heard so far. We’ll now pause for breath as we focus on…
REF 2014 Report on Submissions flagged up an importance of portfolios which had been initially introduced to aid institutions in presenting the research dimensions of creative practice. UCA submitted physical portfolios providing clarity on the research questions and methodology, and any supporting materials that would help the panel members with the assessment process.
The panel found that the best examples were presented digitally, clearly outlined the research question and the methodology employed and provided complementary evidence about the work itself.
However, a significant proportion of portfolios submitted were not helpful especially when the submission of evaluative commentary was more concerned with the esteem, impact and status of the output than with the research i.e. contained mainly review and publicity materials. or when they contained disparate materials without an index or clear organisational structure.
REF 2014 showed that Art and Design research has been very effectively converted into social and economic impact that has had a transformational effect across the UK and internationally.
The variety of impact case studies was the most marked feature of the submission as a whole. Several areas of strength were evident:
- Exhibition activity was a noticeable strength – curatorship, authorship leading to an exhibition, exhibition design, artistic intervention in museum space and exhibitions of the research of individual researchers.
- A considerable amount of activity related to the creation and support of SMEs – often facilitated through the formation of dedicated units within HEIs.
- The design and development of products of various types that demonstrated economic and social impact and other related benefits.
Case studies that were less effective, failed to persuade the panel that the impact was significantly external to the sector. The small number that were marked as ‘unclassified’
On 8 December last year, the UK higher education funding bodies launched the consultation setting out proposals for implementing the Stern recommendation on the next REF. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion about the proposals, including at the consultation events. Through these, and at other engagements, quite a lot of people have…
In REF 2014, UCA submitted to Unit of Assessment 34 – Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory which was part of Panel D. This blog and the two to follow, will provide a synopsis of the key data on submissions, feedback on the process of assessment and an overview of the research in the sector. Click here, if you would like to read the whole report.
Unit 34 comprised all areas of art and design, including practice, art history and art theory. This sector proved itself as a leader in interdisciplinary research, particularly evident in product and digital design, film curatorship, media studies, conceptual and performance based art practice. A significant number of collaborative, team driven projects went beyond the main panel’s remit and into engineering, medical and digital design. It was also the leader in practice-based research.
- Unit 34 received the widest range of output types across the whole REF exercise.
- Photographic practice and Design were noted for their large number of high quality outputs.
- The Crafts were noted for the growth in the interface between traditional making practices and digital technologies, but the number of outputs had significantly declined since RAE 2008, probably as a result of the closure of programmes.
- Emergent research activity was noticeable in curatorial studies, critical theory and digital and engineering design.
- Inter-cultural fine art practice was an important feature. Practice connected to ethnography and anthropology in fine art, design and theoretical studies was especially noted.
- Exhibition activity across all subject areas had grown considerably since RAE 2008 and collaboration between practice-based researchers and museum professionals led to the expansion of fields of practice in museological and archival environments.
- The history and theory of art, architecture and design revealed itself to be a major national strength.
- Physical objects were only a small percentage of the total submission.
- 57% of the total submission in this sector was from publishing – authored books, edited books, chapters in books and journal articles.