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Art and Design Research (UoA32)

Art and Design Research (UoA32)

The Fine Art department at Newcastle University is part of the School of Arts and Cultures.

Our world-leading art and design research culture has been developing for over 70 years. Today, we are widely recognised as among the most influential art departments in the UK.

Diverse global research

Our art and design research explores a diverse range of themes. This can include everything from ancient wall paintings to the way memes are transforming society. Fusing the historic with the contemporary is a core part of our ethos.

Our projects are truly global, ranging from video installations in the New York Met to collaborations with street artists in Kampala’s most deprived settlements.

Our research strengths sit within six categories:

  • Digital Media, Digital Culture
  • Innovations through Art: Heritage, Archives, and Curating as Practice
  • Film, Photography, and the Digital Image
  • Life Work Art
  • Material, Process, and Making
  • Beyond Discipline: New Engagements with Science, Medicine, and the Rural Environment 

Our researchers

Our community of scholarly and creative researchers includes:

  • artists
  • art historians
  • broadcasters
  • heritage experts
  • digital specialists

We are known for ground-breaking innovations in artistic practice. Key figures in British art have led the way on this, including:

  • Richard Hamilton
  • Susan Hiller
  • Jane and Louise Wilson 

Research culture

Our art and design research environment is dynamic and vibrant. This stems from the diversity of our projects and our community. We embrace artists from a wide range of backgrounds. This includes those working alone in their studio, as well as those involved in long-term, multi-dimensional projects.

We develop projects in partnership with colleagues around the world, including in:

  • Europe
  • North and South America
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Africa

Most of all, our art and design research is about engaging our community with vivid, exciting, and demanding experiences that challenge and inspire them. We work to co-create research that profoundly changes how we understand and value fine art and creative practice and its place within society.

Resources for modern research

Our work uses a range of technologies, from virtual reality to centuries-old intaglio printing presses. Art projects today increasingly involve a fusion of diverse media forms. Our excellent studios, labs, and workshops have everything needed for this, including equipment for:

  • sound installation
  • performance
  • green screen
  • 3D printing
  • architectural ceramics
  • painting
  • drawing 

Interdisciplinary research opportunities

We are committed to working with academics and professionals in other disciplines. This brings huge benefits to the department in terms of generating new discourses and discoveries.

Our collaborators are from all around the world. They include:

  • experts in entrepreneurship in developing countries
  • NATO defence strategists
  • upcyclers in India
  • neuroscientists
  • electronic engineers

We are also aligned with the University’s interdisciplinary research institutes and initiatives, including the Institute for Creative Arts Practice. This provides a framework and small-scale funding to develop and support cross-disciplinary practice-led research for all creative practitioners across the University. We are contributing our unique strengths in heritage creative practice to the new Centre for Heritage.

Collaborative work

As well as taking our art and design research out into the world, we actively support researchers to come and work with us in Newcastle. The Hatton Gallery and other exhibition spaces on our campus provide superb public spaces for academics to showcase their research.

We regularly provide opportunities for artists-in-residence and visiting researchers. For example, we welcome early career artists from India who are visiting the UK for the first time, supported by the Charles Wallace Trust.

Visiting professors and exchange scholars have also joined us from North America and China, as well as from many European countries. Our long-running Visiting Speaker Programme brings a dynamic range of international artists, curators, and writers to our campus every week.

Our public events programme includes our flagship in-conversation series The Producers. This is a collaboration with Art Monthly.

We regularly host major conferences, most recently, Mapping Contemporary Art in Heritage.

Research funding

In the REF 2021 cycle, we received over £3m in grants to enable projects that expand the boundaries of contemporary art and creative practice.

Impact in our region

Our artworks and publications make an impact globally. However, we are also keenly aware of our civic responsibility to contribute to our local cultural economy.

Our work within the North East of England centres around partnerships with all the stakeholders who are vital to a thriving arts sector, including:

  • major organisations working in the visual arts sector in the region
  • studio collectives
  • artist-run galleries
  • local schools
  • heritage organisations
  • community groups

Our PhD students

Our PhD research students enliven and enrich our Art and Design research culture. They include:

  • practice-based PhD students who have established art practices of their own
  • innovative and interdisciplinary Art History PhD researchers

Many of our PhD students receive funding through the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership. Some work on Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) and Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) projects conducted with external partner organisations.

Reearch case studies