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.
As there was such a wide range of outputs, the sub panel has recommended that for REF 2021 the language describing output types should be subjected to greater standardisation, ideally with a glossary, to aid the understanding of the form of the research being submitted.
A negative arising from this Unit of Assessment is that it had one of the highest rates of unclassified research outputs ie below 1* because they failed to meet the REF threshold for research.